News and events

DBT team


Currently all Spectrum in-person training has been cancelled for this year. However, we continue to provide our popular free Q&A sessions and we are developing some on-line training options. Please continue to check our website for any notifications about on-line training options.

General well-being of people with BPD during the COVID-19 pandemic and their experiences of treatment accessibility and support including telehealth

> Complete the survey


The COVID-19 outbreak has led to considerable changes to our economy, society and healthcare system. Apart from the general community stress related to COVID-19 itself, we've needed to adapt to a range of challenges during the outbreak. Isolating from friends, relatives and broader society as well as navigating the rapid shift of in-person mental healthcare services to telehealth, have imposed additional stressors on vulnerable people. The early consequences of these recent and dramatic changes at a population level are unknown.

This survey is a joint collaboration between the Australian BPD Foundation and Spectrum Personality Disorder Service. If you live in Australia and have a diagnosis of BPD (or identify with the symptoms of BPD), we invite you to share your experiences of mental health support and treatment you have received from public, private and community health services using telehealth since the restrictions came into effect.

Telehealth includes using video-conferencing, phone or both to receive mental health services.



This survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. If you choose to participate, please respond as completely and honestly as you are able. No identifying information about you will be collected in this survey. Please avoid using names or providing information that could be used to identify you. All survey responses will be un-identifiable and therefore privacy and confidentiality will be protected. Your completion of this survey infers your informed consent.

There is a list of support organisations included at the end of the survey.


This study has received approval from the Eastern Health Human Research and Ethics committee. If you have any questions of an ethical nature, please contact the Eastern Health Human Research and Ethics Committee (Chair)

Telephone 03 9895 3398

Email ethics@easternhealth.org.au

If you have any questions related to the purpose or carrying out of this study, please contact the principal researcher, A/Prof Jillian Broadbear, at 8413 8750 or spectrum.research@easternhealth.org.au

Psychology Group Supervision

For understanding and treating personality disorders



The aim of this group is to support clinicians in developing their capacity to work in an integrated way with clients who present with significant intra-personal and inter-personal disturbance. The participants will be encouraged to read literature on relational and neurobiological understandings of personality disorder (a reading list will be provided). 


This group is open to registered psychologists from public and/or private practice in Victoria. There is no requirement to commit regularly. In its format the group is open which means that you can register for a specific date(s). The maximum number per group is six participants.  The group is run on a monthly bases.

The primary focus is on the group working together to develop a shared understanding of a clinical issue and then reflecting together, rather than on an individual presenting a perfect case study per group.  All participants come to sessions with a possible client or dilemma in mind for presentation and reflection and the group decides together who will present.  

Prior to attending the group for the first time you will be asked to fill and sign the Registration and Group Agreement forms. 

Dates in 2020:

16th September, 21st October, 18th November, 16th December

Day and Time:

On Wednesdays from 4.00pm to 6.00pm


Spectrum, Level 1, 110 Church St Richmond, VIC, 3121

All enquires can be put to the group facilitator: Rada Semec, Senior Psychologist, Spectrum. Contact via e-mail: Radmila.Semec@easternhealth.org.au or mobile: 0402 970 935.


Psychology Study & Supervision Group:

A Relational and Neurobiological Approach’

 For understanding and treating personality disorders


The aim of this group is to support clinicians in developing their ‘capacity to work in an integrated way” when working with clients who present with significant intra-personal and inter-personal disturbance.


Since the time of Freud volumes and volumes of books have been written about how to treat people with “psychological issues”. In the last 20 and so years we have been offered multiple choices of “evidence based” treatments for various disorders. The challenge that a contemporary practitioner faces is to develop a cohesive and coherent model of practice in the field of seemingly different and incompatible modalities.

The recent neurobiological insights have given us hope that the traditional gap between the concepts of body and mind can be finally reduced if not eliminated. For example, are the concepts of ‘transference’ and ‘implicit attachment memory’ referring to the same phenomena? Did you know that the original meaning of the words “soul” and “spirit” is breath and breathing in most European languages? Interestingly, in the Polyvagal Theory they talk about using breath as a way of regulating the Autonomic Nervous System.

The suggested reading list comes from years of professional development that I found useful in my clinical practice with clients who present as complex and severe. As “an eternal student” the challenge always has been to synthesize the diverse literature in a way that can be helpful to me and my clients.

The idea is that participants will read between sessions and discuss their insights in the first hour of the group. In the second hour of the group participants will present cases (one case per group) in a traditional supervision format.

Prior to attending the group for the first time you will be asked to fill and sign the Registration and Group Agreement forms.

Dates for 2020:

7th October, 4th November, 2nd December

Location: Spectrum, Level 1, 110 Church St Richmond, VIC, 3121

Time: Wednesdays from 4.00pm to 6.00pm

All enquires can be put to the group facilitator: Rada Semec, Senior Psychologist, Spectrum. Contact via e-mail: Radmila.Semec@easternhealth.org.au or mobile: 0402 970 935

Reading List:

Please note that we will be reading only parts of the books for group purposes. It is recommended that you get your own copies if possible. The other way to familiars yourself with the authors is to access their talks on youtube etc.

  • "The Relationship Management” by David Dawson (article; provided)
  • “BPD and The Conversational Model” by Russell Meares (book)
  • “The Therapeutic Relationship” by Petruska Clarkson (introduction chapter; provided)
  • “The Mindful Therapist” by Danile J. Siegel (book)
  • “Management of Countertransference with Borderline Patients” by Glen O.Gabbard and Sally M.Wilkinson (book)
  • “Polyvagal Theory” by Stephen W.Porges (article / youtube)
  • “The Haunted Self – Structural dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization” by Onno van der Hart, Ellert R.S.Nijenhuis & Kathy Steele (book)
  • “The body keeps the score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk (book)
  • “Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame – A relational / Neurobiological Approach“ by Patricia A. DeYoung (book)
  • “Sensorimotor Psychotherapy – Interventions for trauma and attachment“ by Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher (book)


  • “Easy Ego-state Interventions – strategies for working with parts” by Robyn Shapiro (book)
  • “Overcoming Trauma through Yoga- Reclaiming Your Body “ by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper (book)
  • “Self-regulation Interventions and Strategies – Keeping the Body, Mind & Emotions on Task in Children with Autism, ADHD or Sensory Disorders” by Teresa Garland (book)


Dr Sathya Rao

Congratulations to our very own Spectrum Executive Clinical Director, Dr Sathya Rao who has received a RANZCP Victorian Branch Meritorious Award.

The award acknowledges Sathya’s contribution over many years towards understanding and managing patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, and his immense contribution to clinical services, training and education, and research. Sathya is a pioneer within Australia in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and his passion for research, evidence-based practice and teaching has inspired hundreds of health professionals to specialise in this area within Australia and overseas. His quiet determination to dedicate himself to working with people living with Borderline Personality Disorder has saved lives and changed families forever. In the words of the College “Sathya has led Spectrum for a long period and transformed our approach to personality disorders from nihilism to hopefulness.’

Congratulations, Sathya on this prestigious acknowledgement and for the great contribution you have made in your field of expertise.

Monthly Q&A Sessions

Spectrum is offering monthly Q&A sessions on a  variety of topics related to working with people with personality disorder. These are conducted via Zoom and are a great interactive way of enhancing knowledge and practice through discussion and questions. Spaces are limited so booking is required.

Please visit our Professional Development calendar for more information regarding dates and bookings.


For Current Clients

Spectrum remains open and continues to provide treatment and support for all current clients. The method of receiving your treatment however has changed, from in person to tele-health options, either through a secure video-conference platform which we arrange for you, or via telephone.

You will be contacted by your clinician and arrangements will be made to provide ongoing treatment for you that you are able to access.

While this is not our ideal method of providing treatment, our intention is to ensure that we can continue to provide treatment for you. Once the physical distancing requirements of COVID-19 have ended, we will return to usual in person treatment arrangements.


Maintaining Health and Wellbeing

We acknowledge that this is a very unsettling and concerning time for all in our community. Spectrum will continue to support people and services throughout this difficult time.

Please follow the recommendations for keeping yourself well: physical distance and hand hygiene.

We especially encourage you to look after your mental health by staying connected to other people and activities even while maintaining physical distance. There is a variety of on-line resources to help with this. Here are a couple of web-sites to check out:




For Referrers to Spectrum

Spectrum Treatment Clinics

The Spectrum treatment clinics continue to provide treatment for people who are currently engaged in treatment.

However, clinics have transitioned to tele-health methods of delivery, either through a secure video-conference platform or via telephone.

Spectrum Intake

Spectrum intake continues to operate both for:

  • Telephone support for people with BPD and their families/carers
  • Provision of information for other services and intended referrers

Referrals to Spectrum from Primary Care


Spectrum continues to provide primary care assessments for referrals from GPs and private psychiatrists. Please note these will be completed via telehealth (secure video-conference or telephone) until further notice.

Following assessment, recommendations will be provided to the referring GP or private psychiatrist.

Given current pandemic circumstances, we are not able to operate at our full capacity for competing assessments at this stage.

Referrals to Spectrum from AMH Services


Spectrum will continue to provide urgent assessments for AMH Services, again via tele-health methods.


We will provide secondary consultation via tele-health for AMH Services.

Some tele-health treatment will be provided for people with personality disorder when this is indicated.

Phone enquiries: 8413 8750

Email: Spectrum@easternhealth.org.au

Fax: 9871 3911

Complexities in Personality Disorder: A Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) Approach

Clinical experience and clinical experience and contemporary research acknowledge the complexities that can arise in working with people with a personality disorder. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is an empirically–supported treatment for people with borderline personality disorder. It offers positive outcomes for people with complex and multifaceted presentations and high comorbidities.

Two keynote addresses from a leading international expert in the area of personality disorder, Professor Anthony Bateman, will consider how the MBT model has evolved and how it conceptualises and treats the complexities associated with borderline, antisocial and other personality disorders. It is anticipated that the conference will discuss consumer experience of receiving MBT treatment and will showcase how the treatment is being taken up across Victoria and nationwide in a variety of settings.

For attendees who may be less familiar with the MBT model, Spectrum will host Professor Bateman in providing in-depth training in MBT, Structured Clinical Management which is a Common Factors Treatment model that he developed. Professor Bateman will also present a separate post-conference workshop covering the diagnosis and treatment of antisocial personality disorder.

Please note: Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions, the planned Spectrum conference for 2020 on “Complexities in Personality Disorder: A Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) Approach”, featuring Dr Anthony Bateman, has been postponed. The conference will be held next year. Updates will be posted on our website as further information is available. Please also follow our website and social media for other training options that may be offered in the meantime.

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST NOW OPEN - Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Each 2-day Core Competency workshop will aim to upskill clinicians and service providers to recognise, respond to and treat people living with BPD and to be inclusive of family and friends. Ongoing mentoring and supervision will be offered to participants for the life of the project.

This workshop will cover the core competencies clinicians require to effectively engage with and support people with BPD including:

  1. Understanding the diagnosis of BPD (including symptoms, prevalence, causes and evidence based treatments)
  2. Co-morbidity and co-existing disorders in BPD
  3. General principles for the treatment and care of people with BPD
  4. Treatment structure
  5. The therapeutic relationship
  6. Partnering with families, partners and carers
  7. Working with risk
  8. Skills development focus
  9. Clinician self – awareness
  10. Recovery in BPD




This project has been developed by a partnership between Australian BPD Foundation and Spectrum Personality Disorder Service  with funding from the National Mental Health Commission.

Training calendar

Who can attend the workshops?

Professional development workshops are primarily intended for mental health clinicians and other professionals working with people who have personality disorders.

Spectrum Professional Development Calendar 2020


Register for training:

Spectrum workshops 2020