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Digital Seminar

Demystifying Personality Disorders: Clinical Skills for Working with Drama and Manipulation

Gregory W. Lester, PhD |  Alan Godwin, PsyD
6 Hours 14 Minutes
Feb 24, 2021
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Watch clinical psychologists and personality disorder experts Drs. Gregory Lester and Alan Godwin for this compelling seminar that offers practical, must-know interventions for not only treating these challenging clients but also those who are left in their toxic wake.

Dr. Lester begins with a deeper dive into clinical assessment of personality disorders as well as the most common challenges when working with this subset of clients. He’ll cover:

  • The core of the personality disorder: an ever-changing agenda
  • Why this client population functions the way it does
  • How to diagnose differentially among the most common, heavily nuanced personality disorders
  • Personality Disorder-Trait Specified (PD-TS) and other general criteria for personality disorders
  • Meaningful navigation of transference and countertransference issues
  • Why therapeutic boundaries may look different with these clients
  • How to identify (often subtle) warning signs of manipulation – and what to do!
  • And much more!

Dr. Godwin takes it from here, focusing on how to effectively work with both clients with personality disorders and those who (repeatedly?) find themselves in their emotional crosshairs. Known for his straightforward style and practical interventions, Dr. Godwin masterfully covers:

  • Psychoeducation for clients to begin recognizing manipulative behaviour and patterns in relationships
  • How to teach assertive communication, healthy boundaries, and limit setting
  • Strategies for maximizing therapeutic gains with clients who are manipulative
  • The internal peace of adopting a “non-participation” approach to drama and sidebars in session
  • 5 must-know signs your client is manipulating you
  • Strategies for addressing common therapy-interfering behaviours
  • And more!

Don’t miss this chance to learn from top-rated presenters in their field.



Gregory W. Lester, PhD Related seminars and products

Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D., is a clinical, consulting, and research psychologist with practices in Colorado and Texas. Dr. Lester has presented over 2,000 personality disorders trainings to over 200,000 professionals in every major city in the United States, Canada, and Australia. In his nearly 40 years of clinical practice, Dr. Lester has treated over 1,000 personality disorder cases and has performed psychological evaluations on over 2,500 individuals.

Dr. Lester has served on the graduate faculty of The University of St. Thomas and as a special consultant to The United States Department of Justice. Dr. Lester’s office served as one of the original research sites for the DSM-5® revision of the personality disorders section where he collaborated with Emory University, the New York State Psychiatric Group, The University of Missouri, The University of Kentucky, and the late Dr. Robert Spitzer, chairman of the DSM-3 committee.

Dr. Lester is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Texas Psychological Association, and the Colorado Psychological Association. He is the author of nine books, including Power with People, a manual of interpersonal effectiveness, Shrunken Heads, an irreverent memoir of his graduate school training, and Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management of Personality Disorders, which is the largest-selling front-line clinical manual on diagnosing, treating, and managing personality disorders.

Dr. Lester’s research and articles have appeared in publications including The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Western Journal of Medicine, The Yearbook of Family Practice, The Journal of Behavioral Therapy, The Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, The Handbook of Depression, Transactional Analysis Journal, Living Word Magazine, The Priest Magazine, and The Houston Lawyer.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Gregory Lester maintains a private practice. He is a consultant for Improvement Research Group. He is a published author and receives royalties. Dr. Lester receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Gregory Lester is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Texas Psychological Association, and Colorado Psychological Association.

Alan Godwin, PsyD's Profile

Alan Godwin, PsyD Related seminars and products

Alan Godwin, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice with nearly 30 years of experience. Certified in Alternative Dispute Resolution, he has dedicated himself to helping individuals, couples, churches, and businesses develop better ways of handling conflict. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Godwin serves on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate Counseling Department of Trevecca University in Nashville, TN, where he teaches a class for doctoral students entitled "Psychodynamic Psychotherapies." He has also taught undergraduates and has guest lectured in the Marriage and Family department.

Additionally, he has penned a regular quarterly feature entitled "Ask Dr. Alan" for Deacon magazine, writes a weekly email called “The Drama Review: In Relationships and Culture,” and has been a guest on numerous radio and television programs across the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Godwin's book, How to Solve Your People Problems: Dealing with Your Difficult Relationships, explains how and why conflict goes badly and how to make it go well with two types of people: reasonable and unreasonable.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Alan Godwin maintains a private practice and serves as adjunct faculty at Trevecca University. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Alan Godwin has no relevant non-financial relationships.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Differentiate among the various clinical personality disorder DSM categories.
  2. Evaluate how transference and countertransference occurs in therapy sessions with personality disorder clients.
  3. Clinically assess for the nature of “drama” that personality disorder diagnosed clients create.
  4. Determine how this challenging client population can exploit the vulnerabilities of others.
  5. Demonstrate two key strategies of “drama non-participation” that clinicians can teach their clients who are impacted by the personality disorder diagnosed partner/family member.
  6. Demonstrate how re-defining the therapeutic approach can improve treatment outcomes.


Part I – Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D.
The Challenge of Personality Disorder

  • The core of the personality disorder: the unchanging agenda
  • The DSM-5® personality disorders and their agendas:
    • Schizotypal
    • Narcissistic
    • Antisocial (and Psychopaths!)
    • Borderline
    • Avoidant
    • Obsessive-Compulsive
    • Trait Specified (PDTS) What is that?
    • General criteria for personality disorders
    • Levels of personality functioning
    • Personality trait domains

Overcome Common Clinician Struggles

  • Transference & countertransference
  • What does transference and countertransference look like in our work?
  • Boundary crossings and boundary violations
  • How to tell when you are headed for disaster and how to intervene

Part II – Alan Godwin, Psy.D.
Techniques to Counter Manipulation & Empower Victims to Become Survivors

  • Recognize the manipulation process
  • Re-structure cognitive distortions
  • Create healthy boundaries and set limits
  • Respond instead of react
  • Make direct requests, expect direct responses
  • Judge actions, not intentions
  • Explore their own vulnerabilities and identify risk factors
  • Acknowledge relational limitations
  • Resources for ongoing support

Maximize Therapeutic Gains with a Manipulative Client

  • Accurately assess your client’s personality characteristics
  • Re-define your therapeutic approach
  • 5 signs your client is manipulating you
  • Techniques to manage thinking errors and manipulative tactics

Strategies for Common Therapyinterfering Behaviours

  • Manage countertransference
  • Handle boundary violations
  • Stay calm when your buttons are pushed – and carry on!

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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