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Borderline Personality Disorder and Traumatic Attachment

An online webinar over three evenings

Speaker: Dr Janina Fisher

Date: 16, 17 & 18 September 2021, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 
Location: Online streaming only (
all our webinar tickets now include complimentary access to a video recorded version for 1 year)
Times: 5:00pm to 8:30pm, London, UK time on each day
CPD hours: 10

Early bird ticket price per delegate for online streaming of the event: £199

Video recording per course pack (early bird): £198.99

Buy more than one ticket to receive our ‘bring a friend’ 5% discount on your entire order.

For more information on ticket types and order processing times please click here

Research over the last thirty years has demonstrated a clear relationship between experiencing abuse in childhood and a later diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. In the context of abuse and trauma, attachment failure is inevitable, leaving a lasting imprint on all future relationships.  Rather than experiencing others as a haven of safety, traumatized individuals are driven by powerful wishes and fears of relationship. Their intense emotions and impulsive behaviour make them vulnerable to being labeled ‘borderline’ and thus received with apprehension by the therapists from whom they seek help.

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Full Course Information

The borderline client is not at war with the therapist. He or she is caught up into an internal battle: Do I trust or not trust? Do I live or do I die? Do I love or do I hate? Understanding these clients as fragmented and at war with themselves transforms the therapeutic relationship and the treatment.

New approaches and interventions drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST) and mindfulness-based therapies can transform what it means to treat borderline clients. In this online course over three evenings, Dr Janina Fisher draws on these approaches to address the impact of traumatic attachment on the ability of individuals to tolerate emotions (their own and those of others). She explains how ‘borderline personality’ can be best understood as a trauma-related disorder. Using theoretical constructs, videos and clinical case vignettes, she:

  • Highlights how exploring the effects of traumatic attachment opens up new ways of working with clients who struggle to manage their traumatic and emotional responses
  • Explores the impact of trauma on attachment behavior, the value of re-interpreting borderline personality as an attachment disorder, and how we can help clients make sense of their internal battles and better manage their dysregulated emotional and autonomic states

Course Schedule:

  • The effects of trauma on attachment formation in children
    • When parents are ‘frightened and frightening’
    • Trauma-related internal conflicts between closeness and distance
    • Disorganized attachment status in adulthood
  • Understanding BPD as a trauma-related disorder
    • Differentiating personality disorder symptoms from trauma responses
    • Using psychoeducation to make sense of the symptoms
  • Re-interpreting BPD as Traumatic Attachment Disorder: how does it change the therapeutic approach?
    • Transforming the focus from behaviour change to trauma resolution
    • Understanding splitting as dissociative, not manipulative
    • Transference and countertransference implications
  • Stabilization of unsafe behaviour
    • “Waking up” the prefrontal cortex
    • Increasing client ability to be mindful rather than reactive
    • Re-interpreting impulsive behaviour as fight / flight responses
    • Helping clients dis-identify from suicidal beliefs and impulses
  • Addressing issues of clinging, separation anxiety and anger
    • Working from a trauma-based parts perspective
    • Facilitating internal attachment relationships
  • The use of mindfulness-based and body-centered interventions
    • Learning to observe rather than react
    • Using somatic interventions to calm the body and emotions
  • A “right brain to right brain” approach to healing attachment wounding
    • Facilitating internal compassion
    • Helping clients ‘repair’ the past rather than remember it
    • Creating internal secure attachment

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the effects of trauma-related attachment on affect regulation
  • Discriminate symptoms characteristic of both borderline personality disorder and disorganized / unresolved attachment
  • Identify the effects of disorganized attachment on interpersonal relationships
  • Describe the Structural Dissociation model and its application to the treatment of BPD
  • Employ right brain-to-right brain techniques to help clients tolerate and benefit from psychotherapy
  • Apply body-centered and mindfulness-based interventions to help clients increase affect tolerance and decrease impulsive behaviour

About the speaker

Janina Fisher, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice; Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute; an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Credit Provider; former president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation; and a former instructor, Harvard Medical School. An international writer and lecturer on the treatment of trauma, she is the co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma and author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation and Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma. Dr Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities. For more information, go to www.janinafisher.com.

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