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News from ESSPD President

Ueli Kramer, PhD
ESSPD President

Welcome to ESSPD Antwerp 2024

Dear members of the ESSPD, dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is my great honor to inform you about the upcoming 7th Conference of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ESSPD), on the topic of

“Treating Personality Pathology in a Time of Change”.

We will meet in person in Antwerp (Belgium), from Monday, September 23rd until Wednesday, September 25th, 2024.

Treatment of personality pathology has changed radically over the past generations of researchers and clinicians. Treatment contexts present challenges and opportunities due to evolving diagnostic classifications, emerging needs in specific populations – including youth and families –, constraints related to dissemination of good practice principles across the globe, the increased use of technology to treat clients, and the more active and welcomed involvement of users and carers in the treatment. Of course, the world could not have changed more since we last met in Sitges (Spain). The 7th Conference of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders will take stock of these changes, along with many others our field is currently experiencing. ESSPD Antwerp 2024 promises to deliver a lively cutting-edge scientific program, supported by the thought-provoking presence and guidance of master clinicians and one-to-one meet-ups between leaders of the field.

Dear colleagues and friends, we invite you to put these dates firmly in your calendar and join us in Antwerp. Make sure to be part of it!

I am already looking forward to seeing you in Antwerp in September 2024!

Ueli Kramer

President ESSPD

Dear colleagues, friends and ESSPD members,

We are happy to invite you to watch interviews and the presidential discussion from our last congress, the 6th International Congress on Borderline Personality Disorder and Allied Disorders which was held online from 10–12 October 2022.

The overarching theme of the conference was:

“Change for a better future: Perspectives beyond symptoms“

Babette Renneberg, PhD
ESSPD Past President

ESSPD webinar

Those that didn’t have the chance to attend the webinar “The ICD-11 Classification of Personality Disorders – Challenges and Opportunities” can now purchase access to the recording.

ESSPD Announcement

Call for Papers – Dimensional constructs of personality disorders. Implications for psychotherapy integration

Journal: Journal of Psychotherapy Integration

Submission deadline: December 31, 2024.

The conceptualization of personality disorders moves towards a dimensional approach. Such as approach to conceptualization to PD generally distinguishes between what personality is (i.e., the description of trait domains) and what personality does (i.e., the functional impact on identity and interpersonal relationships). Diagnostic classifications have taken up this general conceptualization, moving away from categorical descriptors of personality pathology, with the Alternative Model of Personality Disorders, Section III of the DSM-5-TR (APA, 2022) and the 11th edition of the ICD (WHO, 2022).

Despite these trends, the conceptual elaboration of psychotherapy still tends to be anchored in categories of personality disorders. Yet, the move towards dimensional constructs of personality disorders represents unique opportunities and challenges for psychotherapy integration. The present special issue aims to explore these opportunities and challenges.

The present special issue seeks papers in the following categories:

  • Empirical papers demonstrating change in patient-related dimensional constructs of personality across psychotherapy.
  • Empirical papers demonstrating the relevance of therapist-related factors (i.e., skills, methods) addressing dimensional constructs of personality disorder in psychotherapy.
  • Conceptual papers discussing psychotherapy integration anchored in dimensional constructs of personality disorders.
  • Empirical studies illustrating any established route to psychotherapy integration, with a focus on a dimensional conception of personality disorders.
  • Papers discussing case formulation methodologies in the light of dimensional constructs of personality disorders.

All accepted papers must explicitly work within one of the established perspectives of psychotherapy integration. Case studies are only considered if they present quantitative assessments from a dimensional perspective.


Questions related to the call for papers, email Joost Hutsebaut, PhDCarla Sharp, PhD, or Ueli Kramer, PhD.


Call for Papers – Psychopathology. A Mechanistic Approach to Psychotherapy

Journal: Psychopathology 

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2024

Despite the improvement of psychotherapy methods over the last decades, there remains considerable opportunity to improve treatment outcomes. A limited understanding of the psychological and biological mechanisms of action through which change in psychotherapy occurs impedes the personalization of psychotherapy. A mechanism-based approach moves beyond specific disorders and focuses on the functional mechanisms needed to alleviate symptoms and enhance mental well-being.

A greater understanding of the mechanisms of change would contribute to advancing more effective and efficient treatment. Further, understanding the psychological and biological mechanisms could contribute to developing a coherent set of evidence-based core processes; these may be theory-based or modelled at an idiographic level and then extended to nomothetic generalizations using machine learning analyses. These models are essential since hypothesis-testing longitudinal designs are critical to understanding the mechanisms of change.

An advantage of a mechanism-based approach to psychotherapy is that it is not limited to a single theory or a single school of psychotherapy. It provides a more sophisticated understanding of change, which can lead to more effective interventions that incorporate various pertinent information such as a patient´s social learning history, relationship patterns, current symptoms and everyday functioning.

Subtopics: Each original research article will present previously unpublished data

  • on one (or several) specific changing variable(s) either of a psychological or biological nature, either related to the patient or the therapeutic relationship
  • idiographic work increasing the understanding of change processes through data based on session protocols or a moment-by-moment basis in everyday life
  • that enables predictive modelling of psychotherapy response and course and, thus, individualized treatment.
  • dedicated to personalization of psychotherapy
  • that minimizes the gap between research and practice.

or a systematic or narrative review of data

  • dedicated to elucidating the central components, the mediators and moderators of change
  • based on integrative approaches to overcome the traditional boundaries of psychotherapy schools
  • that aim at individualized approaches to psychotherapy


Special Section: Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science

Revitalizing the Future of Personality Disorders Science and Practice: A Call for Innovation

Co-Editors: Christopher J. Hopwood, Ph.D., Aleksandra Kaurin, Ph.D., Aaron L. Pincus, Ph.D.

A mere decade ago, personality disorder (PD) research was poised to become the vanguard of psychopathology science in an era marked by the profound influence of personality on psychiatric taxonomy, driven by transformative changes in PD diagnosis (Krueger, 2013). However, today, the field presents a stagnant panorama, marked by a conspicuous lack of advancement in methodologies, conceptual frameworks, and consequential implications for therapeutic interventions.

The publication of the Alternative Model of Personality Disorders in DSM-5 has notably shaped the trajectory of PD research in the past decade, with a predominant focus on psychometric approaches. Regrettably, the current research orientation within the PD field is failing to yield scientific advancements crucial for deepening our understanding of PD or developing treatments that address the needs of PD patients. Furthermore, the current state of our field lacks appeal for emerging scholars and young clinical scientists, primarily due to narrow research foci lacking clinical relevance, methodological stagnation, and an adversarial tone in a significant portion of current research.

To address these issues, in this special section, we aim to reshape this narrative with a positive, aspirational focus on the future. We welcome submissions of empirical or conceptual papers that have the potential to significantly advance the field of PDs. The emphasis should be on advancements with clear clinical implications, aiming for critical tests of existing models, the integration and expansion of existing models, or introducing promising new perspectives and methodologies. Evaluating new conceptual models requires a critical consideration of true innovation vs. recapitulation of existing work (i.e., jingle-jangle fallacies), a willingness to critically test researchers’ preferred models, and the application of cutting-edge assessment and analytic methods. In addition to PD scholars, we especially encourage submissions from researchers who do not primarily study PD and may be able to bring a fresh perspective and novel methods. Collaborations among PD scholars and scholars outside the field is another path to innovation and would be welcome. Though we outline specific questions of interest below to concretize the section’s goals, it is important to note that these are not meant to restrict researchers’ creativity, and we welcome other relevant topics for the section.

Goal 1: Establish clinically useful distinctions in the field of PDs.
This could include:

  • differentiating PD from other disorders and personality traits
  • understanding changes in PD features over time during critical transitions or developmental periods
  • applying new methods and multi-method designs to connect PD research with clinical applications
  • ensuring generalizability of existing models to diverse populations
  • understanding how context and environmental factors contribute to PD symptoms
  • examining PD processes at different temporal resolutions
  • exploring advanced assessment and statistical approaches, like passive/data and genomics
  • marshaling qualitative evidence and participatory studies, including lived experiences
  • using intervention designs to examine PD processes and bridge the gap between research and practice

Goal 2: Understanding the etiology of PDs.
This could include:

  • assessing basic etiological processes specific to PDs as well as heterotypic continuity in these processes
  • developing models that capture the common occurrence of multiple personality problems and account for non-specific causes over time
  • exploring developmental trajectories of PD problems from childhood to adulthood, considering environmental, dispositional, and transactional influences
  • effectively mapping individual progression along these trajectories
  • generating evidence linking PD severity to developmental maturation in self/interpersonal functioning
  • assessing within-person temporal models of personality processes to test the theory that achieving certain developmental milestones is associated with a lower likelihood of symptom exacerbation under stress
  • understanding how different levels of functioning interact to produce symptoms
  • examining developmental processes to identify maximally effective prevention and treatment targets.

Abstract Submission

Please submit an abstract (250 words or fewer) of a proposed submission through the journal portal by April 1, 2024. Do not send a completed manuscript without approval of the abstract. When submitting, please select the Article Type category “Letter of Intent for Special Issue/Selection” in the Editorial Manager system. We will invite full submissions following a review of these proposals by May 1, 2024. Invited, full-length submissions will be due October 1, 2024. All submissions for this special section will go through the normal peer-review process, with no guarantee of acceptance. All submissions must comply with regular journal and APA policies as detailed on the journal website. In addition to publication in the journal, we will create a repository of postprints with their associated materials on the Open Science Framework. 

ESSPD Research Update

The quarterly newsletter is focused upon the theme of borderline personality disorder, physical health, morbidity and mortality as well as BPD, trauma and PTSD, and contains a review of the five most innovative contributions to the literature in the recent months. The corresponding scientific writer is Sophie Liljedahl, PhD.

Deaths by suicide and other causes among patients with borderline personality disorder and personality-disordered comparison subjects over 24 years of prospective follow-up

Borderline personality disorder and self-directed violence in a sample of suicidal army soldiers

Scientific Journal

Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Dysregulation edited by Martin Bohus, Christian Schmahl and John M. Oldham is the official journal of the ESSPD. The open access journal focuses on the psychological, social, and neurobiological aspects of emotion dysregulation. It covers the whole range of BPD research including epidemiology, phenomenology, pathophysiology, psychological, and pharmacological treatment, neurobiology, genetics, and animal models of BPD. The journal recently received an impact factor of 2.067. The ESSPD donates three Waivers for Article Processing Charges (APC) primarily to members from Eastern European countries.


Stimulates and supports

scholarship, clinical experience, international collaboration and communication of research on all aspects of personality disorders including epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis and assessment, course and treatment in Europe.

Society with a European signature

which will address the specific needs of the European personality disorder field and actively will expand it to countries in which it is less developed.

Actively seeks contact and cooperation

with family and users organizations and is open to professionals who are actively involved or interested in the study, assessment and treatment of personality disorders.

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