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Borderline Personality Disorder and Traumatic Attachment: Trauma-Informed BPD Treatment Techniques for Dysregulated Emotional and Autonomic States

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Janina Fisher, PhD
6 Hours 20 Minutes
Apr 06, 2021
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Digital Recording
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Do I trust or not trust? Do I love or do I hate? Do I live or do I die?

The client with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is caught in an internal battle rooted in their childhood traumatic experiences. Rather than experiencing others as a haven of safety, traumatized individuals with BPD are driven by powerful wishes and fears of relationship. Attachment failure is inevitable in trauma - resulting in intense emotions and impulsive behaviours that leave destructive imprints on their relationships.

When we understand the relationship between BPD and Traumatic Attachment disorders, we can transform our treatment options, strengthen therapeutic relationships, and improve the lives of our clients!

Purchase this seminar and you will learn:

  • How BPD can be best understood – and treated - as a traumatic attachment disorder.
  • Why traumatic attachment impacts the ability of individuals to tolerate their emotions and those of others.
  • Techniques to help clients better manage their dysregulated emotional and autonomic states.
  • New approaches and interventions from:
    • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
    • Internal Family Systems (IFS)
    • Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Therapies

This seminar is for clinicians who want to open new ways of connecting and working with complex clients who struggle in managing their trauma and emotional responses.

Are you ready to reshape your BPD treatment strategies and improve your client outcomes? Are you ready for a less stressful approach to treating BPD?

Purchase today!



This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Janina Fisher, PhD's Profile

Janina Fisher, PhD Related seminars and products

Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and former instructor at The Trauma Center, a research and treatment center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known as an expert on the treatment of trauma, Dr. Fisher has also been treating individuals, couples, and families since 1980.

She is past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

She is co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma (2015) and author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation (2017) and the forthcoming book, Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma (in press).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Janina Fisher has an employment relationship with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. She is a consultant for Khiron House Clinics and the Massachusetts Department of MH Restraint and Seclusion Initiative. Dr. Fisher receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. Dr. Fisher has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Janina Fisher is on the advisory board for the Trauma Research Foundation. She is a patron of the Bowlby Center.


  1. Determine the effects of trauma-related attachment on affect regulation in relation to assessment and treatment planning
  2. Distinguish symptoms characteristic of both borderline personality disorder and disorganized/unresolved attachment in clients
  3. Analyze the effects of disorganized attachment on clients’ interpersonal relationships
  4. Apply the Structural Dissociation model to the treatment of BPD
  5. Employ right brain-to-right brain techniques to help clients tolerate and benefit from psychotherapy
  6. Utilize body-centred and mindfulness-based interventions to help clients increase affect tolerance and decrease impulsive behaviour


The effects of trauma on attachment formation in children

  • When parents are ‘frightened and frightening’
  • Trauma-related internal conflicts between closeness and distance
  • Disorganized attachment status in adulthood

Understanding BPD as a trauma-related disorder

  • Differentiating personality disorder symptoms from trauma responses
  • Using psychoeducation to make sense of the symptoms
  • Risks and limitations

Re-interpreting BPD as ‘Traumatic Attachment Disorder’

  • How does it change the treatment?
  • Transforming the focus from behaviour change to trauma resolution
  • Understanding splitting as dissociative, not manipulative
  • Transference and countertransference implications

Stabilization of unsafe behaviour

  • “Waking up” the prefrontal cortex
  • Increasing client ability to be mindful rather than reactive
  • Re-interpreting impulsive behaviour as fight/flight responses
  • Helping clients dis-identify from suicidal beliefs and impulses

Addressing issues of clinging, separation anxiety and anger

  • Working from a trauma-based parts perspective
  • Facilitating internal attachment relationships

The use of mindfulness-based and body-centred interventions

  • Learning to observe rather than react
  • Using somatic interventions to calm the body and emotions

A “right brain to right brain” approach to healing attachment wounding

  • Facilitating internal compassion
  • Helping clients ‘repair’ the past rather than remember it
  • Creating internal secure attachment

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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