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Suicide and parasuicide (non-suicidal self-injury) are prominent features in borderline  personality disorder. Although both are briefly described in the same diagnostic criteria, they are distinctly different clinical phenomena and require different treatment  approaches. While evidence-based treatments for BPD have existed for over 20 years  now, even the most skilled clinicians still lack a cohesive approach for conceptualizing and treating this difficult population and oftentimes find themselves at a loss regarding how to deal with these sometimes confusing behaviors in this challenging population.  

They can be chaotic, impulsive and unstable. Research also suggests an estimated 75% of individuals with this diagnosis will commit at least one self damaging act and 10% eventually die by suicide.  

The good news is, there is hope for helping these individuals find a life worth living.  

Leave this 3-hour online training with internationally recognized personality disorder expert Jeff Riggenbach equipped with the clinical tools to:  

  • Distinguish suicide from parasuicide and learn specific interventions for each.
  • Have conversations with your clients about the BPD diagnosis in a way that minimizes defensiveness and elicits client buy-in.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the 3 ways schemas are maintained and the role that they play in driving destructive behaviors.
  • Differentiate BPD from PTSD, Bipolar disorder, and other sometimes difficult to discern conditions.
  • Recognize the 8 most common reasons for NSSI endorsed by clients with BPD and apply clinically appropriate interventions for each.
  • Discuss clinically appropriate disposition options in response to dangerousness.


Cost: $75 – Want to attend this course and any future event or course from our CE library for FREE and unlimited for the cost of $34.99/month for 12 months??!! Check out our Everything Plan here.



This training will provide participants clinical knowledge and tools to:

a). Develop an in-depth understanding of the nine essential characteristics of  Borderline Personality Disorder.

b). Acquire language skills for having the conversation with clients and family members  in a way that decreases client defensiveness an elicits buy-in.

c). Learn the 8 motivations for NSSI highly endorsed by clients with BPD and  appropriate intervention strategies for each.

d). Separate 3 clinically significant “Suicidal” components to BPD and learn how to  assess for each.

e). Acquire key differential diagnosis skills for Borderline PD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder  and other clinically overlapping conditions.

f). Learn the 18 maladaptive schemas present in BPD and their role in driving destructive behaviors.

g). Develop skills in assessment of suicidality and parasuicidality and decision-making skills regarding appropriate levels of care for each.

h). Utilize reasons for living to enhance hope and decrease suicide attempts.

i). Learn critical keys for safety planning specific to the BPD population.


Course Outline:

BPD In Everyday Language  

  • Abandonment and Destructive Behaviors 
  • Suicide vs. Parasuicide
  • 8 Motivations for NSSI
  • Indications for Hospitalization
  • BPD v Bipolar “mood swings”
  • Differential Diagnosis

Evidence-Based Treatment  

  • DBT
  • CBT
  • Schema-Focused Therapy

The Role of Schemas in Destructive Behaviors  

  • 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas
  • Schema Activation
  • NSSI & Schema Maintenance

Treatment Set-up  

  • The Therapeutic Alliance
  • Treatment Agreements
  • Contracting

Skills Training Groups  

  • Relational Skills
  • Emotion Regulation Skills
  • Distress Tolerance Skills
  • Cognitive Skills

Individual Therapy  

  • Session acuity protocol
  • Diary Cards and Daily Logs
  • Risk Assessment & Safety Planning
  • Complex Chain Analysis
  • Protective factors and Reasons for Living


Target Audience:

Mental Health Clinicians & Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage & Family Therapists, Counselors, School Personnel, Youth Development Workers, Healthcare Workers.


Instructional Level: Intermediate

Instructor(s): Jeff Riggenbach, PhD

Material Author(s): Jeff Riggenbach, PhD

Jeff Riggenbach, PhD is a best-selling and award winning author who has earned a reputation as an international expert in CBT and personality disorders. Over the past 20 years he has developed and overseen CBT-based treatment programs for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addictive behavior disordersmand borderline personality disorder at two different psychiatric hospitals and clinics serving over 3,000 clients at multiple levels of care. Jeff trained at the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research in Philadelphia, is a Diplomat of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and is a certified cognitive therapist. He has trained over 30,000 professionals worldwide including audiences in all 50 United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Dr. Riggenbach is the author of six publications including his award winning The BPD Toolbox: A Practical, Evidence-Based Guide for Regulating Emotions, and, his most recent release The CBT Toolbox (2nd ed): A Workbook for Clients, Clinicians and Coaches. Jeff is known for bridging the gap between academia, research findings and day-to-day clinical practice, and his work has earned him the reputation for being. “The practical tools guy.” His seminars on cognitive approaches to psychotherapy and personality disorders routinely receive the highest evaluations from conference participants in terms of clinical utility as well as entertainment value.

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