Chronic Suicidality and Self-Harm in BPD: Managing the Risk

Key Facts

Study Load: 1 Day
Location: Hawthorn East, Victoria
Delivery Mode: In-Person
Intake: Yearly
Fees: $40-250

Course Overview

If you work with clients who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), whether in a therapy role, case management, or acute services, you’ll know that this group has particular relational needs. Furthermore, the work usually requires navigating, with the client, a chronic risk of self-injury or suicide.

Extant research and therapeutic wisdom each highlight that chronic self-injury and suicidality functions in various ways for clients with BPD, including to regulate intolerable distress and manage relationships. Consequently, the ways we usually manage acute suicide risk in depression are often not well suited to managing risk BPD.

What does this course offer?

The learning outcomes for this workshop include:

  • understanding the difference between chronic and acute suicide risk
  • the functions of self-harm
  • a model of risk assessment specific to chronic self-injury risk in BPD
  • talking with the at-risk borderline client and managing the dynamics
  • knowing and observing our own emotional responses and counter-transference
  • making management decisions about risk in this population, and documenting this
  • common systemic dynamics that occur between professionals when faced with risk in borderline personality disorder, and how to navigate these issues.

This one-day training workshop is only suited to people with experience in a client-facing role such as mental health clinicians and associated students who are aiming to develop their knowledge and skills in managing risk in borderline personality disorder.

Please note, Monash Health Casey sector staff are being offered this course as part of a research project and need not apply. For any enquiries about this, please contact [email protected].

Course Structure

Delivery Method

This course is delivered from 9.00am until 4.00pm, at 391-393 Tooronga Road, Hawthorn East VIC 3123.


Upcoming Course Dates

To be notified of future course dates, please submit your interest here.

Please note, this course is subject to receiving a minimum number of enrolments and conditional to Government restrictions implemented at the time of the course. In the case we are unable to deliver the course face-to-face, the event will be transferred to online delivery. We will email all registered attendees as soon as possible if changes are required. In this case, a free course transfer will also be available to an alternative course date, or a full refund of the course minus any platform ticketing fees.

Our Trainers

Kelly Watt-McMahon, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator:

Kelly Watt-McMahon is a consulting clinical psychologist, with over 30 years’ experience in clinical psychology, psychotherapy, assessment and consultation. She previously worked for over a decade in leadership roles at Spectrum, the state-wide personality disorder service, providing assessment and treatment to some of the most high risk cases in Victoria, and consultation and training to mental health clinicians across Australia. Kelly has a small private practice, and currently works as a Senior Lecturer at Cairnmillar, and coordinates the Master of Professional Psychology program.

Further Information


Our course fees are inclusive of GST and cover all course materials, such as presentation slides, handouts and a certificate of completion.

Standard Enrolment: $250
Concession*: $225
External Students or Cairnmillar Alumni: $150
Cairnmillar Student: $40

*Our programs attract a 10% concession for health care card holders, pensioners and people receiving benefits. Those applying for concessions must provide a copy (photo evidence is accepted) of their social security card, or health care card together with their application, via email to [email protected].


Cairnmillar can offer this or other tailored courses for your organisation’s needs. If you have a group of 10 or more participants, we can come to you. For further information, email the Professional Development Team at [email protected] or phone 03 9813 3400.

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