From Early Attachment to Borderline Personality Disorder

Traumatic Attachment and Dissociation

by Dolores Mosquera

Columbia Hotel, 95-99 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NS

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April 2018 9.30am to 5.00pm

Neurobiologically Informed Healthcare

The background to this approach to explaining symptoms, thoughts, emotions and impulsive actions is a neurobiologically informed understanding of human behaviour. At the core of this model is the workings of the nervous system and the fundamental role it plays in sustaining both physical and mental health.
Benjamin Fry’s workshop will explain this model by looking at human development from primitive man to complex modern relationships. It will explain why humans have become unable to handle stress and threat like other mammals, and, as a result, our nervous systems have lost their natural ability to regulate.

This loss of regulation changes everything. Our biochemistry alters, affecting us physically and mentally. Even as children, our relationships develop differently. Our view of reality is affected by nervous system dysregulation. We desperately reach for substances to try to restore regulation to our systems or resort to impulsive actions. Our adult relationships suffer. All of this comes into the consulting room, but often the links are unclear. This workshop will lay out a non-pathologizing approach that views these disorders as being a natural reaction to stress or unresolved trauma.

Participants in the workshop will be encouraged to bring their cases to the group for reframing through a neurobiological lens. The goal is for clinicians to appreciate the empowering role and relational value of psychoeducation and for non-clinicians to receive a clearer picture of their own conditions or those of friends and relatives.

Course Details

Many of the characteristic symptoms of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) become clearer if we understand the connection to attachment, trauma, and adverse life experiences.

At times, BPD symptoms only describe the most obvious or problematic behavior, or the final consequence of a problem. Emotional instability, high reactivity to external factors, an almost permanent sense of vulnerability, and great difficulties to function adequately or effectively for long periods of time are predominant in borderline personality disorder. Most people with BPD lead a chaotic life and have the feeling of not fitting in society. This is observed and reflected in the numerous problems they manifest in their relationships with others, in their perspective of the events and the environment, and in their variable and fragile self-concept. All of the above is, in a way, conditioned by the experiences and the attachment style they have acquired as children in the relationship with their primary caregivers.

In cases of early traumatization, it is easier to identify the connection between history and symptoms, but there are adverse day-to-day experiences that are not always easily identified. Speaking of attachment problems does not necessarily imply speaking of abusive or negligent parents. Attachment problems should not be associated with severely disorganized or dysfunctional homes. This is a much broader issue. Difficulties in attunement, regulation, and consistency in the parent-child relationship are reflected in their relationships as adults and in the different aspects of borderline pathology. However, traumatic and attachment factors are not the only ones determining borderline pathology. The overall BPD model must also include other elements. This workshop will address the different BPD clinical presentations and how to adapt therapy based on the individual case.


  • Borderline Personality Disorder and trauma
    1. Understanding BPD criteria from the trauma perspective
    2. Similarities in BPD and complex trauma
    3. BPD subgroups: Conceptualization
  • Complex trauma, BPD, and dissociation
    1. Attachment in the etiology of BPD
    2. Trauma in the etiology of BPD
    3. Dissociation and BPD
      • Dissociative Symptoms
      • Structural dissociation of the personality
  • History 1 in complex trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder:
    1. Assessment tools
    2. Clinical interview in BPD and complex trauma
      Features and aspects to keep in mind
    3. Identifying common defenses
  • Stabilization in BPD and complex trauma. Increasing emotional regulation
    1. How to improve self-care and self-acceptance
    2. Working with self harm, self-destructive behaviors, and impulsivity
    3. Exploring and managing suicidal ideation
    4. Resources in BPD
    5. Specific psychoeducation for BPD clients
  • Tools to work with trauma and dissociation
  1. How to explore the internal system safely
  2. Working with dual attention
  3. Working with differentiation
  4. Working with parts

Full catering is included in your ticket price. There will be two sessions, morning and afternoon, with a 3 course buffet lunch in between. Morning and afternoon teas and coffee will be served during the breaks.

CPD certificates will be available on the final afternoon at the tea break for all registered delegates.