Centre for Continuing Education

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder Course

Psychology. Explore the human mind.

Thes course offers an introduction to Borderline Personality Disorder.

People diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) usually have a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships. They often exhibit self-harming behaviours. Friends, family, carers and therapists may be confused and concerned about what best to do when dealing with someone with this disorder. Understanding the disorder is a first step. The average person has some sense of what depression and anxiety looks like, but most people do not understand BPD.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the concept of personality disorders and how BPD compares to other personality disorders
  • understand how BPD is diagnosed using DSM-5, the diagnostic manual health professionals utilise
  • understand causes of BPD
  • identify some of the treatment approaches to BPD.


This course covers the following topics:

  • what is personality
  • what is a "personality disorder"
  • different types of personality disorders will be outlined including BPD
  • why single out BPD
  • how to recognise BPD
  • additional traits common to BPD
  • manipulation or desperation
  • how does BPD manifest
  • some current epidemiological data
  • causes of BPD
  • course and prognosis of BPD
  • managing some difficult behaviours
  • treatment options
  • how family, friends, carers and therapists can support someone with BPD
  • self-care for family, friends, carers and therapists.

Intended audience

Suitable for those who know little about BPD. Designed to introduce people to BPD using DSM-5 criteria.

Recommended reading

American Psychiatric Association, 2013, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA.

Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012, _Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Beatson, J, Rao, S & Watson, C 2010, Borderline Personality Disorder: Towards Effective Treatment, Victorian Medical Post Graduate Foundation.

Chapman, AL & Gratz, KL 2007, The Personality Disorder Survival Guide. Everything You Need to Know about Living with BPD, New Harbinger Publications, USA.

Gunderson, JG 2011, A BPD Brief: An Introduction to Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis, Origins, Course, And Treatment.

Kreger, R & Shirley JP 2002, The Stop Working on Eggshells Workbook. Practical Strategies for Living with Someone who has BPD, New Harbinger Publications, NJ.

Kreisman, JJ & Straus, H. 1989, I Hate You – don’t leave me. Understanding the Borderline Personality. Avon Books, New York.

Linehan, MM 2015, DBT Skills Training Manual (Second Edition), Guilford Publications, NY.

Linehan, MM 2015, DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets (Second Edition), Guilford Publications, NY.

McGrath, H & Edwards, H 2000, Difficult Personalities. A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behaviour of others, Choice, Australia.

McKay, M, Wood, JC & Brantley, J 2007, The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook. Practical DBT Exercises for learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance, New Harbinger Publications, USA.

Morton, J, Shaw, L, Gopold, M, Tisbury, N & Wyman, K 2012, Wise Choices: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Group Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, Australian Postgraduate Medicine.

Stevens, BA 2008, Self-care for the Practising Psychologist: Treating Personality Disordered Patients, 4 hour workshop handout for Australian Psychological Society 2008 (his website has downloadable papers).

Van Gelder, K 2010, The Buddha & the Borderline, New Harbinger Publications, USA.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • I have always found the lecturer to be very informative, engaging and a pleasure to listen to. I always learn a lot and walk away that much richer.

What others say.

  • An enjoyable day with good group discussions and interesting content - thanks!