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Our library of information from Project Air's news and conferences that have ongoing interest and value to our partners.

From the Archives

October 2021

The theme for this year's mental health awareness month is "post pandemic recovery challenges and resilience".

BPD Awareness Week 2021 has the theme "Discover creative wellbeing" and has a number of key messages and events. The week aims to encourage thinking beyond the conventional concept of 'therapy' - to consider creative therapies and explore creative ways to promote positive outcomes with a 3-pronged approach:

  • For those working with people living with BPD: Thinking outside the box in terms of treatment practices and methods. How can we encourage and instil more creative thinking and ways to approach wellbeing? Encouraging expression and communication in creative ways – song writing, music, poetry, letter/journal writing and non-verbal communication such as prompt/strengths cards.
  • For people experiencing the symptoms of BPD: Increase access to creative methods of expression and communication, supporting visual and audio practices, peer support, thinking outside the standard verbal therapy box.
  • For supporters/carers/families: How can we encourage and instil more creative thinking and ways to approach wellbeing?

September 2021

Why do some people struggle to improve in psychotherapy? A high level of insecurity in adult relationships at the start of therapy can lead to poorer outcomes after a year, meaning we may need to directly address these therapeutic relationship challenges.

Do people with Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder have cognitive deficits? New research found a paradox: worse self-reported cognitive performance but better objective performance - meaning providing accurate feedback may help boost engagement in treatment by putting current challenges into context. 

How do people with pathological narcissism struggle? We found those with a more fragile vulnerable narcissism were more insecure in their relationships, in contrast to those more grandiose who tended to deactivate or dismiss relationships, meaning treatments need to monitor emotional communication and be alert to varieties of relationship rejection.   

August 2021

Kaleidoscope perspectives is the theme of the upcoming International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ISSPD) Congress this October 11-13. This is a special opportunity to connect virtually with international colleagues. The program features 14 invited symposium, four keynotes and workshops, and a master clinician presentation on DBT, MBT and TFP in action.

Read new findings in the science of personality disorders: 

  • Feelings of chronic emptiness is an important and difficult symptom in personality disorder which requires clinical intervention. In this paper, people with lived experience discuss their challenges and how strengthening identity, sense of purpose and vocational and relationship functioning may reduce the intensity of emptiness.
  • Young people with vulnerable narcissism traits report experiencing shame, and struggle to be close to others. We report that a good working alliance and fostering self-compassion may counter some of the negative effects of shame in those most vulnerable, but dismissal in those most grandiose presents a clinical conundrum.
  • Brief guidelines for busy practitioners working with young people with suicide risk, self-harm and emerging personality disorder. Interventions require a coordinated response that engages the young person, their caregivers, and health and school professionals.

Watch how three peer workers with lived experience of personality disorder enhance treatment. They talk about various aspects of their role including using their own lived experience, what they say to people who are newly diagnosed, how to work alongside clinicians, and share some stories of success. 

March 2021

Online psychotherapy during a pandemic: Read new research highlighting the characteristics of effective online interventions for personality disorders with young people, reviewing 32 programs and 41 research studies. Reis, S., Matthews, E. L., & Grenyer, B. F. (2021). Characteristics of effective online interventions: implications for adolescents with personality disorder during a global pandemic. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 23(3).

Understanding how personality disorder develops: Watch Professor Carla Sharp's online keynote presentation at the recent Project Air 14th International Conference "This is me: How adolescence constitutes a sensitive period for the development of personality pathology." Available for three weeks only until April 23.

Student connection: The ISSPD is seeking to connect with students and young researchers - you do not need to be a member to join the conversation.

Congratulations to the Sydney Local Health District Gold Card Clinic Team - awarded a Mental Health Award of Excellence 2020 for teamwork and collaboration and a Highly Commended in the Provision of Mental Health Services Category award. Gold Card Clinics provide rapid access psychological care to people in crisis to help them start their journey to recovery. Read more about the Gold Card Clinic model of care.

October 2020

Professor Henry Jackson talks about the problem of stigma in BPD and the need for respect, consistency and hope in clinical services.

guide for mental health professionals on providing compassionate, recovery-oriented care.

August 2020

Read how living with a person with pathological narcissism can be challenging, including experiencing how the person goes through large fluctuations in affect, oscillating attitudes and contradictory needs. Day NJS, Townsend ML, Grenyer BFS (2020). Living with pathological narcissism: a qualitative study. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation.

What is 'emptiness' in Borderline Personality Disorder? Read our new systematic review to understand how to work with emptiness in treatment Miller CE, Townsend ML, Day NJS, Grenyer BFS (2020) Measuring the shadows: A systematic review of chronic emptiness in borderline personality disorder. PLoS ONE 15(7): e0233970.

Watch Lived Experience Advocate Sophie powerfully talk about "Three things I know about Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder" in this inspiring and helpful 4 minute video from ABC TV The Drum.

June 2020

Congratulations to all service providers during this global pandemic. We have heard of so many services locally and across the world that have transitioned online with good outcomes and strong engagement. At our recent meeting of the Project Air Academy - a group of personality disorder stepped care clinic coordinators - we heard about the wonderful work being done with individual and group therapy programs during COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. Although some participants have been reluctant, most have been able to stay connected. 

Read a major new Cochrane systematic review of Psychological therapies for Borderline Personality Disorder. Psychological therapies designed for BPD were superior to treatment as usual approaches, and evidence supports both behavioural (e.g. DBT) and psychodynamic (e.g. MBT) therapies. Common factors require more study, but all approaches emphasise the importance of a structured framework, good therapeutic alliance, an active therapist stance, and therapist support.

Storebø OJ, Stoffers-Winterling JM, Völlm BA, Kongerslev MT, Mattivi JT, Jørgensen MS, Faltinsen E, Todorovac A, Sales CP, Callesen HE, Lieb K, Simonsen E. Psychological therapies for people with borderline personality disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD012955.   

Myths and Facts about BPD (pdf 308kb) - download a new fact sheet discussing 14 myths about BPD such as "It is better not to tell someone their diagnosis of BPD," "BPD only occurs in females," and "BPD is a lifelong mental illness and can’t be treated."

Read new findings from our laboratory:

What are the priorities for improving personality disorder services?
Ng, F., Townsend, M. L., Jewell, M., Marceau, E. M., & Grenyer, B.F.S. (2020). Priorities for service improvement in personality disorder in Australia: Perspectives of consumers, carers and clinicians. Personality and Mental Health.

Does parenting style influence the development of narcissism in young people?
van Schie, C.C., Jarman, H.L., Huxley, E., Grenyer, B.F.S. (2020). Narcissistic traits in young people: understanding the role of parenting and maltreatment. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation 7, 10.

What helps reduce the stress of parenting when personality challenges get in the way?
Steele, K.R., Townsend, M.L. & Grenyer, B.F.S. (2020). Parenting stress and competence in borderline personality disorder is associated with mental health, trauma history, attachment and reflective capacity. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation 7, 8.

April 2020  

 We are open and Project Air Strategy continues to support people with lived experience of personality disorder through our partners in health, education and research. A reminder about the extensive online resources Project Air has to support you, including e-learning, films, webinars and guidelines. Two highlights:

• Undertake our 5 hour, 5 module professional development online e-learning and get a certificate of completion:"EFFECTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT FOR BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER (PDF 84kb)" An e-learning training program for mental health workers and service providers.

• Undertake our 3-hour, 3 module "ADOLESCENT INTERVENTION - GUIDE FOR CLINICIANS PDF 148kb)" An e-learning training program for adolescent mental health clinicians and school counselling service staff.

Review our online training page

Moved to online therapy? We encourage you to read this excellent guideline for how to successfully manage the transition from face-to-face to online treatment.

See this useful set of resources to support work in the era of COVID-19:

• Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
• Maintaining your mental health during social isolation
• Coronavirus (COVID-19) anxiety and staying mentally healthy
• Official sources (reliable sources of information on COVID-19)   

Watch our lived experience consultant Mahlie Jewell talk about life in self-isolation and what she is doing on a day to day basis to manage her mental health.

Read an update on evidence-based skills and strategies for working with people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. King, R.M., Grenyer, B.F.S., Gurtman, C.G., Younan, R. (2020). A clinician's quick guide to evidence‐based approaches: Narcissistic personality disorder. Clinical Psychologist, 24, 91-95     

January 2020

Focus on lived experience - Watch a powerful short 5-minute interview developed by Project Air with Åse-Line Baltzersen from Oslo Norway talking about her lived experience of recovery from personality disorder. She emphasises the value of getting a diagnosis, her personal turning point and fight to change, and the importance working with a therapist over time and not struggling alone.

Read new findings on parenting with personality disorder from our laboratory that synthesises research from over 84,000 participants and provides recommendations when considering parenting within clinical practice and policy. Key areas of focus include attachment enhancement, appropriate and timely diagnosis, and provision of evidence based treatment. Steele KR, Townsend ML, Grenyer BFS (2019) Parenting and personality disorder: An overview and meta-synthesis of systematic reviews. PloS ONE, 14(10): e0223038.

2021 - 15th International Conference on the Treatement of Personality disorders: Creative Recovery

Scientific Conference 5 November 2021:
Lightening talks and posters (pdf 5.2mb)
Program (pdf 151kb)

Clinical Workshop 6 November 2021:
Fyer (pdf 262kb)

Consumer & Family Day 4 November 2021:
Program (pdf 177kb)
Flyer (pdf 923kb)

Three day event flyer (pdf 604kb)

2020 – 14th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Early intervention

Program (pdf 2.07mb)
Book of Abstracts (pdf 2.53kb)
Posters (pdf 10.4mb)

2019 – 13th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Personalising effective treatment

Professor Brin Grenyer (Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute) Implementing whole of service models of care for personality disorder across Australia (PDF 4.6mb)
Aaron Fornarino (Adelaide, Australia) Emotionally unstable borderline personality disordered male: a discussion on challenges associated in men with BPD (PDF 1.4mb)
Professor Ueli Kramer (Lausanne, Switzerland) Effective processes in treatment for personality disorder: what science teaches us (PDF 1.37mb)
Professor Per Hoglend (Oslo, Norway) What psychotherapists need to know about transference and countertransference in effective treatment of personality disorder (PDF 3.03mb)
Lise Laporte (Montreal, Canada) My child and me: a two components program for parents with borderline personality disorder and their case workers (PDF)
Chui-De Chiu (Chinese University of Hong Kong) Struggling back to myself: A deficit in shifting visuospatial perspectives in borderline personality disorder
Charlotte van Schie (University of Leiden - Netherlands and University of Wollongong) Altered reliving of positive and neutral autobiographical memories in patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (PDF 1.65mb) 

2018 – 12th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: New ways of working with antisocial personalities and early intervention

Professor Anthony Bateman - Working with antisocial personality disorder: What research and clinical experience teaches us. (PDF 1.3mb) 
Dr Michelle Townsend Project Air Schools: Early intervention with youth (PDF 1.35mb)
Dr Steve Gillard Peer work: Role, research and methodology (PDF 401kb) 
Professor Brin Grenyer - Hot topics: New discoveries in international research (PDF 1.74mb)
Associate Professor Martin Sellbom - Antisocial Personality Disorder/Psychopathy in DSM-5, contrasting the traditional categorical model and the alternative model operationalisations (PDF 43mb) 
Professor Silvio Bellino & Dr Paola Bozzatello - Interpersonal therapy adapted to borderline personality disorder: contributions to research in clinics and brain imaging (PDF 2.61mb)
Dr Gwenyth Francis - Dys-regulation: A therapeutic impasse management for nonresponders working relationally and trauma-informed with individuals with antisocial personality disorder 

 2017 – 11th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Understanding narcissistic personalities and other relationship complexities

Professor Elsa Ronningstam (Harvard, USA) "Understanding narcissistic personalities: what research and clinical experience teaches us"
Stephanie Leary (consumer advocate, Queensland) "My recovery from BPD: a daily journey"
Ann Bennis (carer advocate, NSW) "Revelations, reflections and rebuilding: Life after exiting the narcissistic personality disorder marriage" (PDF 750kb)
Professor David Winter (Hertfordshire UK) "Self-destruction and reconstruction" (PDF 399kb)
Louise Fisher (NSW) "Narcissism: Therapist views of the therapeutic journey" (PDF 639kb) 
Shian-Ling Keng (NUS Singapore) "Parental invalidation and BPD symptoms" (PDF3.04mb)
Renee Harvey (Sussex UK) "Systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving STEPPS" (PDF 940kb)

2016 – 10th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: New research frontiers and discoveries 

Dr Michelle Townsend - "Early intervention for self-harm and emerging personality disorder in young people - Project Air Schools" (PDF 845kb)
Anne Reeve - "Lived experience: The fractious path from chaos to calm"
Professor Henry Jackson - “Landmarks in personality research over the past 25 years - and future directions" (PDF 3.14mb)
Professor Eric Fertuck -“Synergy of mind and brain in borderline personality disorder: A social neuroscience approach" (PDF 6.01mb)”
Professor Eric Fertuck - "Introduction to the Theory and Technique of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy" (PDF 1.47mb)
Professor Brin Grenyer - 
“Stepped care in personality disorders – impact on services, consumers and families" (PDF 1.4mb)
Dr Carla Walton - “Findings from a randomised clinical trial of dialectical behavioural therapy and the conversational model for treatment of BPD in a public sector mental health service" (PDF 486kb)
Kaye Stanton - “Borderline personality disorder and electroconvulsive therapy – A lived experience”
Susan Preece & Ben McKechnie - “A pilot study evaluating the ‘Making Sense of Borderline Personality Disorder’ psychoeducation intervention for family and carers of youth with BPD features”
Mahlie Jewell - “Successfully engaging people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder to actively participate in research and share lived experience”

2015 – 9th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Inside Borderline Personality Disorder

Dr Marianne Bourke "The Project Air Strategy Parenting Program" (PDF 1.69mb)
Sonia Neale "The importance of the BPD therapeutic relationship" (PDF 877kb)
Dolores Mosquera "Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder: Insecure and Disorganised Attachment and the Structural Dissociation of Personality." (PDF 800kb)
Prof Brin Grenyer "Update on the current status of international research and treatment of personality disorders and future trends in the field." (PDF 1.28mb)
Sarah Green "Group therapy program for working with young people with substance misuse issues and other complex needs." (PDF 3.18mb)
Dr Elon Gersh "Alliance rupture and repair in youth with borderline personality disorder." (PDF 556kb)
Jo Lunn "New Beginnings approach to working with women with substance abuse & trauma." (PDF 1.27mb)
Alicia Wilson & Janice Wong  "The Ehance Study: Clinical and cost effectiveness of an inpatient model of care for emotionally unstable personality disorder." (PDF 4.17kb) 

2014 – 8th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Understanding narcissistic and borderline disorders

John Feneley, NSW Mental Health Commissioner Opening Address (PDF 1.34mb)
Wayne Borg & Wendy Smith "The Sutherland model for the treatment of personality disorder, integrating brief interventions and long-term treatment" (PDF 51.6kb)
Professor Brin Grenyer "Update on the current status of international research and treatment of personality disorders and future trends in the field" (PDF 2.39mb)
Professor Ken Levy "Clinical, empirical and ethical considerations in the treatment of borderline and narcissistic personality disorders" (PDF 1.32mb)
Professor Robert Schweitzer "Metacognitive interpersonal therapy in the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder" (PDF 1.80mb)
Peta Welsh "On the horns of a dilemma: The problematics of treating narcissistic personality disorder" (PDF 1.80mb)

2013 – 7th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Intervention models

Professor Russell Meares The Conversational Model (PDF 927kb)
Associate Professor Shelley McMain The Dialectical Behaviour Model (PDF 1.09mb)
Dr Christopher Lee The Schema Therapy Model (PDF 526kb)
Associate Professor Andrew Chanen The Cognitive Analytic Therapy Model (PDF 1.42mb)
Ms Margie Stuchbery & Dr Michael Daubney Mentalization Based Therapy Model (PDF 303kb)
Dr Carla Walton Exploring factors that affect outcomes in clinical trials: discussion of a real world trial comparing Conversational  and DBT Models (PDF 503kb)
Professor Brin Grenyer Step-down Integrative Relational Models in Mental Health Services (205mb) 

2012 – 6th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Guidelines-based practice

Professor Roger Mulder Rethinking personality disorder diagnosis (PDF 2.27mb) 
Dr Annemaree Bickerton Staying connected: An approach to working with families, partners and carers of personality disorders (PDF 898kb)
Ms Jan Giffin  A second listening: Exploring Spectrum's Secondary Consultation to services working with Borderline Personality Disorder in Victoria, Australia (PDF 1.09mb)
Associate Professor Andrew Chanen What's New? Highlights from the 2nd International Congress on Borderline Personality Disorder, Amsterdam (PDF 379kb) 
Professor Brin Grenyer Beyond RCTs - synthesizing what works in personality disorders in the context of development of clinical guidelines (PDF 2.69mb)
Dr David Hawes Borderline personality features and implicit shame-prone self-concept in childhood (PDF 7.14mb)
Dr Rebekah Helyer Executive function correlates of Borderline Personality Features in early adolescence: A community-based study (PDF 7.23mb)
Miss Rachel Bailey Staying Connected: A study of family environment in Borderline Personality Disorder (PDF 433kb) 

2011 – 5th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Engaging carers and services

Professor John Allan NSW Approach: Engaging carers and services (PDF 611kb)
Ms Janne McMahon Carer perspectives on Borderline Personality Disorder: What carers tell us (PDF 21.77kb)s
Dr Michael Paton The challenges of working with complexity in public mental health services
Ms Jane Morton Outcomes and mediators of change in a Randomised Control Trial of an Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Group for clients of public sector mental health services with symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (PDF 1.45mb)
Ms Eileen McDonald A national carer perspective on Personality Disorders: Engaging carers and services (PDF 182kb)
Professor Brin Grenyer Working with clinicians to deliver effective Personality Disorder services: Some findings and reflections on evidence based practices
Ms Claudia Mendez Supporting carers, supporting consumers: The integration of a support and education group for carers of consumers in a DBT program (PDF 1.59mb)
Mr Matt Frize  A systemic approach to DBT for Disability Support Services (PDF 794kb)
Ms Susan Coleman Peer consultation groups for psychotherapists working with Borderline Personality Disorder: Our experience of enhancing team effectiveness (PDF 59.69kb)
Dr Andrew Phipps Using service utilisation data to increase resources for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (PDF 4.84mb)

2010 – 4th International Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders: Consolidating collaboration

Professor Brin Grenyer What is new in the treatment of personality disorders? Updates of recent research and implications for service delivery (PDF 835kb)
Dr Sathya Rao Spectrum...a state-wide personality disorder service: Victorian experience (PDF 3.80mb)
Professor Kay Wilhelm Putting pieces together (PDF 2.1mb)
Ms Tania Alexander First international congress on Borderline Personality Disorder (PDF 135kb)
Dr Fazeela Zolfaghari Throwing the bath water out but not the baby: Creating a meta-framework in therapy to suit a local ecology - a work in progress (PDF 43kb) 

2009 – 3rd Annual Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders

Professor Brin Grenyer BPD research update (PDF 335kb)
Associate Professor Beth Kotze Improving public mental health services for persons with BPD: The journey continues
Dr Nick Bendit Chronic suicidal thoughts and implicit memory (PDF 56kb)
Dr Andrew Chanen Early intervention for BPD in young people (PDF 3.11mb)
Mr Chris Allan Reflective supervision in the treatment of personality disorder (PDF 319kb) 

2008 – 2nd Annual Conference on the Treatment of Personality Disorders 

Professor Brin Grenyer Borderline Outcome Review 2008
Dr Adrian Keller Developing an area wide approach to the treatment of BPD (PDF 77kb)
Dr Nick Bendit Dynamic issues of medication within psychotherapy for BPD (PDF 32kb)
Dr Janine Stevenson Personality disorder statistics (PDF 263kb)
Mr Andrew Kaw BPD treatment in prisons (PDF 80kb)