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90 Minute Workshop Series

Inside the mind of a ‘borderline personality disorder' (BPD)


This workshop presents a new and innovative way of learning about complex trauma where clients participate in teaching therapists by giving permission for their creative material to be used. Arguably the most challenging and disliked clients in the whole mental health service are people diagnosed with ‘borderline personality disorder’ (BPD).

The workshop is created in partnership with clients diagnosed with BPD, and aims to change the perception of this client group to a compassionate and more humane understanding rather than the view: ‘you must leave her alone, she is just attention seeking’ (a psychologist to a nurse on the psychiatric ward).

We will be working in a group constellation of a (real) client’s mind, which gives us therapists an opportunity to understand and learn from her by entering into her mind. We will be able to experience the impact of trauma on the personality structure, the attachment system, issues around transference and countertransference and the difficulty therapists face in their consulting rooms in trying to form a therapeutic relationship.

We will be able to experience what it feels like to have a dissociative condition which presents as psychosis; hearing voices; hallucinations, delusions and being schizo/affective/phrenic. We also get the opportunity to discuss the conceptualisation of the presence of ‘an evil spirit’ (client’s view) from a therapeutic, religious and spiritual perspective.

We will also experience how a perpetrator ‘controls the mind’ of a victim from within.

The experiences of clients diagnosed with BPD will offer strategies to therapists of how they can help effectively and manage their complex trauma in the therapy room rather than de-humanise and dismiss them as attention seeking.

At the end, through the group constellation, we will sum up the necessary stages of healing in the treatment of this client group.

The participants need to be aware that the constellation of the client’s mind will not be sanitised, and there will be swearing and language some people might find offensive. The presenter expects therapists to take care of themselves, as the workshop might be challenging and can trigger therapist’s own unresolved trauma issues.

Elisabeth Ross MBACB (Accr),

AdvDip in Forensic Counselling and Psychotherapy

Elisabeth is a psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor in general and forensic practice in south London. One of her clinical specialisms is extreme abuse (spiritual, satanic, ritual abuse and mind control) and working with survivors of organised crime.

Her specialism in forensic therapy is working with all kinds of sex offending, and working with people who are thinking of offending against adults and children, but have not done the crime yet. She is also interested in terrorism, extremism and mental health.

She provides general supervision and specialist supervision for therapists within the trauma field as well as forensic supervision.

She runs workshops based on material prepared in partnership with clients called ‘INSIDE OUT’: ‘Inside the mind of a borderline personality disorder’, ‘Into Dangerous Places: inside the mind of a sexual and violent offender’, ‘Beyond Comfort: inside the mind of a person suffering from eating distress’’, ‘Counselling the Unimaginable: inside the world of African Witchcraft’, ‘Inside the mind of a spiritual abuse survivor’ and ‘From Exorcism to Psychotherapy’.
Elisabeth has held key posts including Director of One in Four UK, working with survivors of child sexual abuse (2005-09), and Chair of the UK Forensic Therapists Association (2008-14). Elisabeth has worked for the Irish Catholic Church counselling service Towards Healing for the past 15 years and runs their ‘Trauma Recovery Programme’ for survivors of clerical, religious and industrial abuse in London.

She was a member (2009-11) of the board of the Criminal Justice Forum of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. Elizabeth is currently also a Restorative Justice Officer.