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Digital Seminar

Is This Person Borderline, Bipolar, Dissociative or Psychotic??? How to Differentiate These Disorders So You Can Treat the Patient According to Best Practices

Bethany Brand, PhD
1 Hour 15 Minutes
Nov 11, 2022
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Digital Seminar
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It can be very challenging to differentiate borderline personality disorder (BPD), bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder (DID), and psychotic disorders (especially schizophrenia) due to similar appearing symptoms. For example, the mood lability seen in BPD, bipolar disorder, and DID can lead to confusion about which is the accurate diagnosis. Hearing voices and seeing visual images is common in DID and psychotic disorders and can lead to misdiagnosis if clinicians do not know the differences that distinguish hallucinations among these disorders. Because the treatment for these disorders is so different, accurately differentiating and diagnosing clients is essential.

Furthermore, women with trauma-related symptoms are at risk for being misdiagnosed and sometimes even being treated dismissively if clinicians are not informed about the impact and symptoms associated with trauma. In this recording, Dr. Brand will present research-based methods of distinguishing these disorders including providing brief overviews of differences in etiology, psychological testing, and reported symptoms. Clinicians will learn to make differential diagnoses of these disorders more confidently so they can be better prepared to treat patients according to best practices.



PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 1.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Bethany Brand, PhD's Profile

Bethany Brand, PhD Related seminars and products

Bethany Brand, PhD, is a Psychology Professor and the Director of the Clinical Focus program at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Dr. Brand specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders. She has over 30 years of clinical and research experience, including training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, and at Sheppard Pratt Health System’s Trauma Disorders program. Dr. Brand has been honored with numerous research, teaching and clinical awards and served on several national task forces that developed guidelines for the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders.

Dr. Brand has over 100 published papers focusing on treatment of dissociative individuals (i.e., the TOP DD studies); assessment methods for distinguishing dissociative disorders from other textbooks’ coverage of trauma, among other topics. She has delivered clinical and research presentations around the world. In addition to assessing and treating patients, Dr. Brand serves as a forensic expert in trauma-related cases including state, federal and capital (i.e., death penalty) cases. Her two books on the treatment of dissociative individuals (Finding Solid Ground) will be published in 2022 and her book on the assessment of dissociation will be published in 2023.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Bethany Brand maintains a private practice and has an employment relationship with Towson University. Bethany Brand receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Bethany Brand is an Ad hoc reviewer and editor for several peer review journals, for a complete list contact PESI, Inc. She is a developer of Bethany Brand is a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and is the founding member and co-chair of the Forensic and Correctional Committee of Trauma Division (Division 56) of the American Psychological Association.


  1. Summarize three basic differences between BPD and DID.
  2. Recognize two risk factors that appear to contribute to the development of BPD.
  3. Identify three ways to differentiate DID from schizophrenia.
  4. Identify three ways to differentiate DID from bipolar disorder.


  • Introduction to a table that presents the differences between BPD, bipolar disorder, DID, and schizophrenia in an organized, clear way of research on the similarities and differences between BPD and DID
  • Review of research on the similarities and differences between bipolar disorder and DID
  • Review of research on the similarities and differences between schizophrenia and DID
  • How to use a free, readily available self-report scale of dissociation (i.e., the Dissociative Experiences Scale) to help make differential diagnoses of BPD, DID, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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