Nancy McWilliams

Individuality: Implications for Psychotherapy

Slides available at the bottom of the page

*CE credits available, see below for more information

ROOM CHANGES  Friday Evening, 104 College Hall, Saturday and Sunday session in Lec2 RH

January 31-February 2, 2020


Friday, Jan. 31: Ten angles of vision on individuality and their respective implications
Rethinking madness: The value of a dimensional diagnostic sensibility

Saturday, Feb. 1: "Borderline" psychologies: the concept, competing theories, treatment
Paranoia and psychologies in the psychotic range: overview and treatment
Depressive and self-defeating (masochistic) psychologies
Case of a self-defeating patient seen in long-term psychodynamic therapy

Sunday, Feb. 2: Narcissistic psychologies
Schizoid psychologies
Case of a schizoid patient (if time permits)

About the Session

This minicourse explores the relationship between individual differences and psychotherapy options. It approaches individuality from numerous angles of vision: temperament, attachment style, observed clinical patterns, defenses, implicit cognitions, affective themes, motivational differences, the introjective-anaclitic polarity, core conflicts, and the dimension of severity/ developmental arrest. It will familiarize students with the second edition of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2) and explore some types of personality not well explicated by the DSM and other descriptive psychiatric taxonomies. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on the clinical implications of considering the unique individual in treatment.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the workshop participants will be able:

1. To explicate the differences between, and the respective clinical implications of, categorical-descriptive and dimensional-inferential approaches to describing individual differences.
2. To enumerate ten evidence-based perspectives through which personality differences can be conceptualized.
3. To articulate the rationale for an inferential approach to diagnosis; for example, to distinguish the meaning of perfectionism in most obsessive-compulsive people from that of perfectionism in most narcissistic individuals.
4. To name three psychopathologies for which there is evidence of their existing along a spectrum from healthy to psychotic.
5. To use clinically relevant ways to frame personality organization and disorder, both typologically and in terms of relative degree of mental health.
6. To apply the contributions of research on attachment to the understanding and treatment of psychological problems rooted in personality.
7. To summarize the clinical implications of differentiating between self-definition and self-in-relation versions of personality and psychopathology.
8. To use the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2) as a clinical resource.

  • Blatt, S. (2008). Polarities of experience. New York, NY: Guilford.
  • Gabbard, G. O., & Crisp, H. (2018). Narcissism and its discontents. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Garrett, M. (2019). Psychotherapy for psychosis: Integrating cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic treatment. New York: Guilford.
  • Greenberg, L. S., Malberg, N. T., & Tompkins, M. A. (2019). Working with emotion in psychodynamic, cognitive-behavior, and emotion-focused psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Lingiardi, V., & McWilliams, N. (Eds.). The Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, 2nd ed. (PDM-2). New York, NY: Guilford.
  • McWilliams, N. (2012). Beyond traits: Personality as intersubjective themes. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94, 563-570.
  • Shedler, J. (2015). Integrating clinical and empirical perspectives on personality: The Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP). In S. K. Huprich (Ed.), Personality disorders: Toward theoretical and empirical integration in diagnosis and assessment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
About the presenter:

Nancy McWilliams teaches at Rutgers Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology and has a private practice in therapy and supervision in Lambertville, New Jersey. She is co-editor of both editions of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual. Her books on diagnosis, case formulation, and treatment have been translated into 20 languages. She is a former president of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association and is on the Board of Trustees of the Austen Riggs Center.

Who Can Attend?

This Workshop is open to the public and free for those not seeking CE credits. No charge for Duquesne University students with I.D., faculty and adjunct faculty, as well as anyone not wanting continuing educations credits.

Open Lecture January 31, 2020 open to the public, 6:00-9:00 pm, Room 104 College Hall
Saturday 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm, Lec2 Rockwell Hall
Sunday 9-12 pm, Lec 2 Rockwell Hall

CE Credits for Psychologists

Friday night Lecture only: 2.5 credits
Entire Workshop: 10 credits
Duquesne University Department of Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Duquesne's Department of Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Registration and Fees (only for those seeking CE Credits)
Friday night's lecture only: $ 20.00, Entire Course, including Friday: $120.00

Be sure to include name, address, and affiliation. Include email address if you would like your certificate emailed. Mail check to: Marilyn Henline, Duquesne University Department of Psychology, 211 Rockwell Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Your check is your receipt. Refunds are available, minus $10 cancellation fee, until January 27, 2020. Certificates will be sent upon completion of the workshop survey.

Inquiries and Registration:

Any inquiries about this program should be directed to Marilyn Henline, Department of Psychology Administrative Assistant, at 412-396-6520,

Slides from the Event

Depressive and self-defeating personalities

Paranoid Psychology

Levels of Severity

Narcissistic Psychologies

Schizoid Personalities

Rethinking Madness