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Course Details
Price $119.00

Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective (8 CE Credits)

Psychoanalytic theory offers rich insights into an understanding of personality formation and pathology.  Although diagnoses are typically based on criteria offered by such atheoretical compendia as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), understanding personality disorders psychodynamically can greatly benefit their treatment.


Course Objectives

The intermediate level course, Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective, is designed to help the participant:  

  • Identify the salient psychodynamic features of different personality disorders;  
  • Evaluate the needs and expectations each condition brings to the therapy;  
  • Distinguish among different psychoanalytic perspectives for understanding the patient;  
  • Consider developmental factors that impact the patient’s current living;  
  • Appraise which interventions are most likely to be effective;  
  • Determine how to monitor the treatment;  
  • Examine alternative diagnostic considerations; and
  • Describe the patient’s general orientation toward life and relationships.


Course Content and Details



Product Description

Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective

Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective-Man looking at his reflectionIn Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective, Dr. Michael J. Gerson considers personality disorders described in the atheoretical compendium, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), in terms of descriptive, structural, defensive, and object-relational conditions through the lenses of a variety of psychoanalytic theories. 

Personality formation refers to the process whereby an individual develops stable and enduring patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  These patterns are to a large degree adaptations, both to the internal demands of instinctual drives and tensions and to the external demands for conformity and socialization.  Character formation represents a resolution of these conflicts and can, therefore, be seen as a person’s best effort at “staying sane.”  The extent to which these traits are normal or pathological is usually considered a matter of flexibility.  This distinction, based on degree of flexibility, is largely the criterion used in the DSM to differentiate personality traits from personality disorders.

Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective discusses each of the three clusters described by the DSM-5, beginning with Cluster A (the odd and eccentric paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personalities), followed by Cluster B (the dramatic, emotional, and erratic borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial personalities), and ending with Cluster C (the anxious and fearful dependent, avoidant, and obsessive-compulsive personalities).  The DSM-III-R’s passive-aggressive personality disorder (formerly included in Cluster C) is considered as well.



Michael J. Gerson, PhD, PsychoanalystThe Instructor is Dr. Michael J. Gerson, an experienced Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in California.  He has been training clinicians for over 30 years, both in his private practice, in community counseling centers, and as a professor of Psychology in graduate programs.  He is renowned for his depth of understanding of the therapeutic process and for his keen ability to translate complex concepts into terms that are clear and that can be applied to the clinician’s own work.  As a member of a task force involved in creating the DSM-5, he strives to promote a deep clinical understanding of the patient for making responsible diagnoses.


Course Format

The course includes an online written manuscript and accompanying audio file, for optional review in multiple modalities.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow completion of the course for 8 CE credits.  Intermediate level.  A brief video provides opening remarks by Dr. Gerson.  This course may be applied to the Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.  $119.


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