This daylong session will focus on practical issues in the treatment of clients with borderline personality disorder. DBT has become a well known evidence-based practice for working with people with borderline personality disorder. However it is only one of multiple approaches for working with this population. Recent research has highlighted the commonalities in treatment approaches for this disorder across various theoretical frameworks, including CBT, DBT, psychodynamic, and good psychiatric management (GPM). This workshop will discuss the unique  contributions and commonalities across seemingly divergent approaches, as well as how to address trauma issues as part of any treatment approach.

A few highlights of the workshop include learning about:

  • Similarities between DBT and non-DBT cognitive behavioral approaches to working with borderline personality disorder;
  • How psychodynamic theorists historically understood the disorder, and modern psychodynamic approaches, such as  mentalization-based therapy and transference-focused psychotherapy; and
  • A synthesized approach pioneered by John Gunderson to work well in settings where DBT is not practical–Good Psychiatric Management (GPM),

Case examples will be used to illustrate key concepts.




Marilyn Ghezzi, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UNC -Chapel Hill School of Social Work and teaches numerous courses on mental health theory and practice, including differential diagnosis, dialectical behavior therapy, brief treatment and social work with groups. Prior to joining the UNC faculty, she worked as a clinical social worker in the public mental health system for 24 years. Marilyn continues to practice as a clinical social worker including providing clinical supervision to mental health professionals.





  • 8:30-9:00 – Registration, sign-in, coffee
  • 9:00- 10:15 –  Overview of the diagnosis
  • 10:15 – 10:30 – break
  • 10:30 – 12:30 –  Review of various approaches to treatment
  • 12:30-1:30 – lunch by Vimala’s CurryBlossom Cafe
  • 1:30 – 3:00 –  Review of treatment approaches cont.
  • 3:00 – 3:15– break
  • 3:15 – 4:30- Discussion of cases and role play


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the psychodynamic, trauma treatment, cognitive-behavioral, and dialectical behavioral explanations of this disorder;
  • Explain the importance of the therapeutic alliance and understand how to solidify their alliance with borderline personality disorder clients;
  • Identify ways to avoid becoming embroiled in power struggles with borderline personality disorder clients;
  •  Understand how to address trauma issues as part of any treatment approach;
  • Identify similarities among various theoretical approaches and incorporate them into their current treatment approach.



Handouts: All handouts for the lecture are posted on the top of this event’s page.

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