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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

As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:  

  • describe Freud’s, Fenichel’s, and Kernberg’s views on personality formation and psychopathology,
  • identify the salient psychodynamic and developmental features of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Cluster A personality disorders,
  • identify the salient psychodynamic and developmental features of DSM Cluster B personality disorders,
  • identify the salient psychodynamic and developmental features of DSM Cluster C personality disorders and passive-aggressive personality,
  • describe the general orientation toward life and relationships to be expected for each of the personality disorders, and
  • determine the needs and expectations each personality disorder brings to psychotherapy.


Course Content and Details

Product Description

Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective

Personality Disorders from a Man looking at his reflection for Psychoanalytic PerspectiveIn 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.


Program Information


Conflicts of Interest or Commercial Support

There is no commercial support or other potential conflicts of interest for this program, presentation, or instructor.


Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility

We are committed to respecting diversity in all of its forms, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. We also strive to make all of our activities accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. Please contact the Director at if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any of our programs.


Sources and Relevance

Our programs and teaching methods are supported by current, empirically-based scientific literature, and are designed to provide continuing education that is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or research, so that psychologists may maintain and expand their ability to serve the public and contribute to the profession.


Target Audience

Our courses are designed for postdoctoral-level psychologists; this course is an intermediate-level course. All mental health professionals, educators, and researchers have a variety of educational backgrounds and needs—if you have any questions about whether this course could benefit you and/or would be appropriate for your level of training, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may contact the Director directly at with any questions or concerns.


Course Schedule

This course will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will be able pace yourself in a manner that is comfortable for you.


Cost and Refund/Cancellation Policy

The cost of the course is noted below; there are no additional fees. Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not satisfied with a course, please let us know immediately—we will cancel your order and gladly offer you a full refund.


Course Format Summary

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 of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired.  $119.


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