Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

2020 'Flipping the Script' Conference











'Flipping the Script: Changing the Narrative on BPD' encourages people to change the way they think and talk about borderline personality disorder

Due to COVID the Foundation redesigned its conference and instead of a 2 day fac-to-face event held a series of online events for clinicians, consumers and carers during and in conjunction with BPD Awareness Week activities. The following events were held:


'Coz of Covid: Survival Strategies from people with lived experience of BPD

Lived Experience Advocates around Australia talk about the tools, skills and strategies they have used to maintain wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They will provide practical tips for managing emotional distress, anxiety, interpersonal relationships and other challenges commonly being experienced at this time.

Faciliator: Mahlie Jewell a lived experience advocate. 

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Mahlie (NSW), Sophie (NSW), Chloe (SA), Carissa (WA), Holly (VIC)


Treatment for BPD: a Common Factors Approach - presented by Lois Choi-Kain

With the advent of evidence based treatments for borderline personality disorder, we now know "what works." However, what does not work is that the demand for effective treatments is high and the supply, is inadequate to meet this need due to the time and training intensive nature of these specialized psychotherapeutic treatments.
What we need to know now is what works about these effective treatments, to understand their common factors, so that all clinicians can recognize and care for patients with BPD using a common factors generalist approach. This presentation will review the major evidence based psychotherapies for BPD, distill their common factors, and present the generalist Good Psychiatric Management (GPM) approach as one way to meet broader needs of the high prevalence of patients with BPD seeking care. In addition, models of stepped care, allocation generalist common factors approaches to all, and then intensifying care for those who do not respond adequately will be described. Lastly, directions for the future, to improve and broaden accessibility of what works in the treatment of BPD, with greater attention to early intervention and psychosocial functioning will be discussed.

Lois is the Director of the Gunderson Personality Disorder Institute USA and presented as part of the Australian BPD Foundation's conference and BPD Awareness Week 2020 activities.


P.A.W.S. Pets Assisting Wellness Session  (not recorded)

All pets are invited to a zoom session to meet other pets who assist wellness and to talk about all the great things they do to keep their humans happy and healthy. Share your expert advice, tips and tricks for supporting your humans through their tough days.

Dress up and show us your best PURPLE outfit!

Or wear our gorgeous purple BANDANNAS to help raise awareness of BPD. Bandannas are 55x55 square, suitable for a medium sized dog, and all humans! They cost $15 ($20 for 2) or add $10 for each additional bandanna - postage included! All proceeds go to the Australian BPD Foundation. Order on Etsy.


What is Family Connections? The top 5 skills and how they can help you and your family

A webinar for families and carers presented by NEABPD Australia


Sane Topic Tuesday  with special guest Julian from Spectrum.

A Sane community member has also started a discussion thread to raise awareness about BPD and flipping the script 


An overview of using Sensory Modulation with people with Borderline Personality Disorder

Presented by Carolyn Fitzgibbon and Julie O’Sullivan (Mental Health Occupational Therapists and Directors of Sensory Modulation Brisbane).  Click here for more information. A MHPN BPD Network Event.

Building skills in emotion regulation and navigating times of emotional crises are essential therapeutic elements when working with individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Sensory modulation* is being recognised as an evidence based, recovery and trauma informed and effective intervention in this space, helping people to improve self management skills and enhance wellbeing and quality of life. 
*Sensory Modulation can be defined as “changing how you feel through using your senses’’

This webinar provides an overview of using sensory modulation with people with Borderline Personality Disorder and tailoring it to the person to ensure the strategies are safe, appropriate, individualised and meaningful.

The presenters highlight a number of key sensory modulation strategies they have found most useful and suggest additional resources and tools to assist with future implementation of sensory modulation into clinical practice.

Carolyn and Julie have published books and online training on Sensory Modulation to assist mental health clinicians in getting started in using sensory modulation. Julie and Carolyn have over 20 years’ experience in public, private and non-government organisations in inpatient and community Mental Health settings. Sensory Modulation Resource Manual Paperback and Ebook now available.


Latest Australian Research in borderline personality disorder 

Panel discussion by six researchers from diverse areas discuss the latest Australian research. Facilitator: A/Prof Jillian Broadbear (Spectrum Personality Disorder Service)

Stigma perpetuation at the interface of mental health care: a review to compare patient and clinician perspectives of stigma and BPD - presented by  Daniel Ring

Abstract: People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience significant stigma, particularly at the interface of care delivery. To compare and contrast what stigma looks like within mental health care contexts at the interface of care. A review of the literature was undertaken to compare the experiences of stigma towards BPD from the patient and clinician perspective.

Bio: Daniel is a junior doctor working in the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network. He has previously published in the area of stigma in BPD under the guidance of Professor Sharon Lawn. He has a developing interest in mental health and education. When the lock down ends, he's looking forward going dancing with friends.

Six themes arose from the thematic synthesis: 

  1. stigma related to diagnosis and disclosure
  2. perceived un-treatability
  3. stigma as a response to feeling powerless
  4. stigma due to preconceptions of patients
  5. low BPD health literacy
  6. overcoming stigma through enhanced empathy

Stigma towards people with BPD is perpetuated through poor BPD health literacy by patients and MHPs that stalls effective treatment and engagement, and disempowers all concerned, deferring responsibility to others. Addressing this stigma requires multiple strategies that include more targeted education, advocacy and leadership. Download paper 

Research into Mother/Infant DBT - presented by A/Prof Anne Sved-Williams

Abstract: Mothers with borderline personality disorder or traits can find new parenting highly dysregulating for many reasons, and so frequently present for help at this time of their lives, very keen to understand themselves better and learn new skills so they can become better parents. Mother-infant dialectical behaviour therapy groups provide an opportunity to learn both emotional regulation and more about parenting and infant needs.

Bio: Associate Professor Anne Sved Williams, AM, trained in family therapy at the Ackerman Family Institute in New York after 10 years as a GP before completing psychiatric training in 1980. She was medical unit head of South Australia’s Mother-Baby Unit, Helen Mayo House, for 31 years where she works now as consultant psychiatrist as well as in private practice. Her interests have included treating medical practitioners, supporting primary care psychiatry, and a lot of teaching. Her research interest is in perinatal borderline personality disorder with 30 publications, edited a book on Infants of Parents with Mental Illness, 3 book chapters and 2 children’s picture-story books for families with maternal mental illness, Meltdown Moments and Jakes Dinosaurs. 

Assessment of peer led Workshops for carers (family, friends and partners) supporting a person with a diagnosis (or possible diagnosis) of BPD - presented by Rita Brown and Jo Veltkamp

Abstract: 2 single session interventions (a 7hour workshop and a 2 hour information session) were developed and facilitated by a carer peer with the aim of investigating the value to carers of a single session psychoeducational workshop in improving participants knowledge about, and attitudes towards BPD by carers. Participants in both the workshop and the information session reported statistically significant improvements on the eKALM. Those in the workshop, but not information session, reported a significant improvement on the Burden Assessment Scale. The value of the peer to peer connection and meeting others carers was highlighted by many.

Bio: Rita is the carer consultant at Spectrum, Personality Disorder Service. She has a lived experience of supporting/caring for someone with BPD and utilises that experience to advocate for people with BPD and their family/friends within Spectrum and more broadly at state and national levels. She leads the education and training programs for Families and Friends at Spectrum. She has been a co-facilitator of the Mind Australia BPD Family and Carer Support Group for many years.

Jo is a mental health nurse with experience in a variety of roles in public and private health settings
Her predominant interest lies in working with those with a lived experience of personality disorder and their carers. She is currently employed as a senior clinician working in collaboration with the Spectrum Lived Experience Team. 

How does research benefit from co-authoring people with lived experience? - presented by Dr. Fiona Ng and Mahlie Jewell

Abstract: Mahlie and Fiona have collaborated over the last 4 years on research projects, academic journal articles and resource development specifically related to the lived experiences of BPD. They collaboratively work on cutting-edge research by bringing together vast peer networks of lived experience and research expertise. They have created a strong relationship built on mutual learning, respect and a passion for change.

Bio: Mahlie Jewell’s advocacy on the experiences of living with BPD, PTSD and brain injury have been published nationally. She has lead roles in consumer consultation with The Australian BPD Foundation, Project Air Strategy, Department of Education and The NSW Mental Health Commission. She is currently completing a Masters of Art Therapy at University of Western Sydney.

Bio: Dr Fiona Ng is a researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of recovery-oriented digital interventions for people with complex mental health problems.


Early Intervention for borderline personality disorder

A panel discussion led by Orygen and facilitated by Steven Cabone (Prevention United)

Early intervention is a priority for Borderline Personality Disorder. The sooner evidence-based treatments and personal supports are made available, the quicker individuals can equip themselves with appropriate coping strategies, and the sooner they can begin their path to recovery. This webinar will explore the latest research and provide an overview of best practice in early intervention, and allow young people and family support workers, to share their perspectives on what’s required to better support people with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Prof Andrew Chanen - Head of Personality Disorder Research at Orygen
Susan Preece - Family Peer Support Officer at Orygen
Natasha - Member of the Youth Participation Team at Orygen
Rita Brown - President Australian BPD Foundation 


Q & A Session for General Practitioners for Working with People with BPD 

Hosted by Spectrum

GPs are invited to attend this free live video-conference session with a panel comprising three very experienced specialists, including two Spectrum psychiatrists and a GP Specialist. The session will provide an opportunity to raise questions and discuss issues regarding both practice and knowledge in relation to working with people with BPD and to participate in facilitated and informative consideration of the questions raised.

Topics for consideration will be on general practice questions rather than about specific clients.
Panel: Associate Professor Sathya Rao, Dr Gillian Singleton, and Dr Lukas Cheney.


The latest treatment options for borderline personality disorder 

Webinar presented by NEABPD Australia

Professor Andrew Chanen, Dr Yogendra Agrawal and Carissa Wright. Borderline Personality Disorder #bpd can lead to people experiencing extreme emotional distress, relational distress, self-harm, suicidal ideation and attempts. Yet it is very responsive to treatment that is tailored to BPD. 


Men with borderline personality disorder

A panel discussion flipping the common misconception that BPD is predominantly a female condition and encouraging clinicians to be aware that BPD presents in men in similar proportions to women.

Listen to a panel of men with lived experience of BPD, and clinicians working in this area flipping the common misconception that BPD is predominantly a female condition and encouraging clinicians to be aware that BPD presents in men in similar proportions to women.

Tony Greenrod - MC
Jake Hodgman - Lived Experience
Brodie Boswell - Lived Experience Performer - Brodie has written a hip-hop song on BPD and will perform it live or show the video.
Tony Greenrod - Carer & MC
Kimberley Gilson - Forensic Psychology registrar, Senior clinician BPD Collaborative
Sharon Bax - SA Prison Health


We wish to acknowledge the support of the following organisations for their support in hosting events or sponsorship