Keynote Plenary Session Lectures

The ESSPD President chairs a round-table discussion on a specific topic with distinguished experts in the field.

Perspectives from positive psychology: determinants of well-being


The genetics of happiness and well-being
Meike Bartels (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Happiness and wellbeing have emerged as important study subjects within and across many fields of research. A major driving force behind this is the association with physical and mental health and its pivotal role in socioeconomic issues and economic development. With the increased interest in the importance of wellbeing it is critically important to understand and reveal sources of individual differences.

Prof Meike Bartels will present her work on happiness and wellbeing that describing the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. She will present the current state of art within the field of behavioural and molecular genetic research into wellbeing, including twin-family studies and molecular genetic findings and the search for the exposome. She will furthermore explain the importance of her findings for individuals and the society at large.


Fostering well-being in patients with personality disorders
Mary Zanarini (Belmont, USA)

It is now known that symptomatic remission from borderline personality disorder is both common and relatively stable over time.  However, recovery, which involves concurrent remission and good social and vocational functioning, is less common and less stable.  Possible reasons for this lack of recovery will be discussed.  In addition, the concept of flourishing, which comes from positive psychology, will be defined and discussed.  Pathways to flourishing that are part of psychotherapy and pathways to flourishing that are part of everyday life will also be discussed.


A life worth living: lessons learned from working with suicide prevention in high risk clients


Lessons learned from suicide prevention with non-Borderline Personality Disorder clients
Rory O’Connor (Glasgow, UK)


Lessons learned from suicide prevention in clients with Borderline Personality Disorder
Lars Mehlum (Oslo, Norway)

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have high rates of suicide attempts (~50%) and suicide (3-10%) and account for a very large proportion of all patients who present to AE services with self-harming behaviours. Once considered a nearly impossible population to successfully treat, BPD clients and their treatment needs have fuelled development of much needed clinical knowledge as to how to treat suicidality directly and specifically. In this lecture we will highlight main lessons learned from research and clinical practice to prevent suicidal behaviour in clients with BPD.