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Understanding and Managing Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is defined as a pattern of marked impulsivity and instability of affects, interpersonal relationships and self-image. The pattern is present by early adulthood and occurs across a variety of situations and contexts (DSM 5).

It has been estimated that within psychiatric services, the prevalence of BPD in the community is between 1% and 4%, and accounts for 9% of all mental health presentations to emergency departments (Hong, 2016). 11% of outpatients and 19% of inpatients meet criteria for BPD (M. M. Linehan, 1993). Treatment has often been inadequate, with clinical improvement being marginal for many years post initial assessment (M. M. Linehan, 1993). Given their lack of improvement, these clients tend to be high service users over many years. As noted by Grenyer (2013) “Until recently, borderline personality disorder (BPD) was considered to be a chronic ongoing condition with a poor prognosis and no effective treatment. However, the prognosis for this disorder is now considered improved for most patients if one of a number of effective evidence-based treatments is implemented.”

A comprehensive Cochrane Review (Stoffers, Vollm, & Lieb, 2010) found that of over 10 specialised BPD therapies, only Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) had enough evidence to recommend it as a robust treatment for BPD.

This workshop will cover:

  • Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Etiology of BPD according to the biosocial model
  • Common behavioural patterns seen in BPD
  • Management of BPD including Behavioural strategies, Validation strategies, Dialectical treatment strategies

Presenter: Sarah Swannell is a registered psychologist with 14 years of research and 10 years of clinical experience. She has worked in tertiary education institutions, private practice, community mental health, and public and private hospitals with both outpatients and inpatients. Sarah currently works in private practice and is a Senior Psychologist in public community mental health. She coordinates the DBT Program at the Prince Charles Hospital and is Chief Investigator on a multisite research project investigating the effectiveness of DBT Skills Modules across five large hospitals in South East Queensland. Sarah also coordinates the Brisbane North Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Mental Health Professionals’ Network and holds an Academic Title of Lecturer at The University of Queensland.

Sarah’s primary clinical interests are Borderline Personality Disorder, trauma, dissociation, self-harm, suicidality and other self-destructive behaviours. Her primary therapeutic orientations are Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Sarah has completed advanced DBT training and is a trained EMDR practitioner working towards accreditation. Sarah is a Board Approved (STAP) Supervisor and is in the last year of a part-time Master of Clinical Psychology.

Venue: Relationships Australia 159 St Pauls Terrace Spring Hill

Contact Details: Ros Turner 0411 468 369 qca@qca.asn.au