612 – Treating Personality Disorders

Advances from Brain Science and Traumatology
Noel Larson

Clients with personality disorders—narcissistic, borderline, antisocial, sociopathic—often have profound traumatic childhoods, which leave them without a solid inner core from which to function. Often “nudged” into treatment by others, including the law, their inability to trust and their need for power make forming a therapeutic alliance seemingly impossible. They come armed with defenses developed at very early ages that are designed to ensure their survival by protecting their fragility. In this workshop, you’ll explore:

  • How to develop a therapeutic alliance in the face of mistrust, control issues, and rock solid defenses while staying out of power struggles
  • How to work with the pathological dissociation typically present in personality disordered clients
  • Practical, effective interventions informed by neuroscience that help clients safely manage frightening symptoms, including violence and emotional meltdowns, and develop healthier boundaries and a more differentiated sense of self


Noel Larson, PhD, a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and clinical social worker at Meta Resources, is the coauthor of Incestuous Families: An Ecological Approach to Understanding and Treatment.

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