Dr. Lisa Cohen: A Novel Model for the Conceptualization & Treatment of Personality Disorders


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Host note: Just a quick note that we'll be taking a breather until the fall to enjoy the rest of the short Canadian summer. Have comments or feedback? You can reach the show at oicbtpodcast@gmail.com. Finding the show adds value for you? A rating (and especially review) on Apple podcasts would be greatly appreciated (and, we really like to hear how the content is landing for you, helping you in your practice, life etc). Take care and enjoy the episode - one of our favourites to date!
Personality disorders can present a significant challenge from the lens of assessment & treatment. Psychologist, professor, researcher & author, Dr. Lisa Cohen, returns to discuss core themes in her new book The Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders. In this discussion we cover:

  • why Dr. Cohen wanted to take on such an ambitious model of personality pathology that includes elements of emergent systems theory, schema therapy, biological psychiatry, evolutionary psychology, attachment theory (among others)
  • her model's very unique conceptualization of differential diagnosis (frequently a great challenge in the context of personality disorders)
  • the central role and utility of emergent systems theory in Dr. Cohen's model of personality pathology
  • how her model compares and contrast with other models of personality pathology
  • exploration of the notion that personality pathology reside at the level of interpersonal representations
  • a brief consideration of the evidence for this model of personality pathology
  • an in-depth consideration of the role of processes related to integration, differentiation & articulation related to managing interpersonal nuance and complexity that can become dysfunctional in the context of personality pathology (with examples to illustrate these principles)
  • discussion of the 5 level model of the mind-brain including examples of specific treatment treatment that map to different levels of the model
  • how Dr. Cohen's model informs assessment, diagnosis and treatment personality pathology
  • speaking compassionately and realistically about personality pathology through the lens of this model
  • the importance of evaluating personality psychopathology in the context of environmental demands (especially those related to the family system).

Dr. Lisa J. Cohen is clinical professor of psychiatry at the Carl Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, working at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel location. Dr. Cohen has long been involved with clinically relevant research in a wide range of topics relevant to psychiatry and psychology. Her more recent research domains have included the risk assessment and psychological correlates of suicide, risk factors for and differential diagnosis of personality pathology, the adult psychological sequelae of childhood maltreatment, as well as the childhood antecedents, psychological correlates, subjective experience and psychological burden of individuals with pedophilia. She has previously researched opiate addiction, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. She has also written on psychological assessment. Dr. Cohen is an author on over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and two books. Here third book, The psychotherapy of personality disorders was published in 2022. Dr. Cohen received her PhD in clinical psychology from the City University of New York and performed her pre-doctoral internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. She received her undergraduate education at the University of Michigan, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology and another one in Fine Arts.
Buy Dr. Cohen's book here

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