About the conference
Black and White thinking: The controversies of 'personality disorder'
This conference will explore the controversies currently raging around how people given the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder should be considered within society. The way we view people often impacts on how we treat them. Through a mixture of clinical and lived experience, delegates will take part in presentations, workshops and facilitated discussions around these topics. There will be networking opportunities and chances to interact both in person and over social-media. People will leave with a knowledge of the different philosophies around how to be helpful to this client group and how to integrate ideas in order to be as effective as possible when offering help.
Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the most controversial labels in mental health. It exists in today’s textbooks with a range of criteria to be met in order for the diagnosis to be given. We know that people who are given this diagnosis will have a lower life expectancy, have more risk of dying by suicide and are likely to have lived through significant trauma.
Despite this knowledge, those who are given the diagnosis are often not met with sympathy in mental health services. Papers such as The Patients Psychiatrists Dislike and No Longer a Diagnosis of Exclusion highlight the problematic attitudes caring staff frequently hold towards this client group.
Recent publications set the scene for this conference. The Consensus Statement on Personality Disorder asked for the label to be dropped entirely. The Power Threat Meaning Framework is a non-diagnostic approach which understands people's difficulties as responses to their life circumstances. The Royal College of Psychiatrists Position Statement is emphatic that diagnosis is the cornerstone of describing common problems leading to effective care and treatment. Perhaps the greatest criticism of the current system is that it is hard to build a relationship with someone when you tell them the core of their being is disordered.
These views will be explored and challenged as we will explore how to be helpful despite the polarities in current practice.
The conference is intended for mental health care practitioners of all kinds (including psychologists, psychiatrists, clinicians, practitioners, counsellors and psychotherapists, community mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, and primary and behavioural health care professionals, researchers, those with lived experience of the diagnosis as well as carers and family members. It will be of interest to those involved in health and social care policy and decision making.