New developments in assessment, treatment, and basic research Personality disorders (PDs) are severe psychiatric conditions with a strong impact both on the individual patient’s  life and on public health. During the last decade, PDs have gained a primary spot in research, in relation to assessment, treatment, basic research, and developmental and etiological issues. Considering assessment, the publication of the 5th edition of the DSM, with the Alternative Model for Personality Disorders, raised the interest of researchers for dimensional models. At the same time, within-person variability in personality traits and their expression has started to be a relevant research topic. Treatment research, after the horse-race decades, became more interested in mechanisms of change. Basic research on the social, cognitive and emotional foundations of PDs manifestations has seen a rapid growth and nowadays we are able to shed light on some of the core components of personality dysfunctions and their neurobehavioral profiles. Finally, research on adolescence is focusing on the mechanisms and dynamics of the development and formation of personality structure.

All these aspects will be covered at the Summer School “Personality disorders: New developments in assessment, treatment, and basic research”, that will take place at the scenic setting of Villa Grumello in Como from September 2-7, 2018.

With a series of lectures given by some of the leading experts in this field we will present the state of the art in terms of research on personality disorders, with a particular focus on the domains of assessment and conceptualization, treatment, basic research, and adolescence. The different days of the school will focus on the following topics:

  1. Assessment

We will cover the state-of-the-art research in terms of assessment instruments and procedures for descriptive, structural, and dynamic evaluation of personality pathology. This includes clinical interviews, self-report questionnaires, and Ecological Momentary Assessment (i.e., electronic diaries).

  1. Treatment and treatment efficacy

We will present the principles and methodological issues related to Randomized Controlled Trials, as well as a review of current results related to psychotherapies for personality disorders. Moreover, research on mechanisms of change will be presented.

  1. Basic research: social cognition, neurosciences, and neurobehavioral basis of personality disorders

The application of experimental paradigms to the study of personality pathology has improved the understanding of basic social, cognitive, and emotional components of personality disorders. Recent literature will be presented. Moreover, the main experimental paradigms will be illustrated. We will also devote attention to results of neuroscientific research and implementation of studies related to the neurobehavioral basis of personality disorders.

  1. Adolescence

The development and stabilization of personality during adolescence is a key research area, both in terms of the understanding of the etiology of PDs and in terms of prevention. Research on personality assessment during adolescence will be presented. Moreover we will present longitudinal studies, both in terms of their results and of methodological and procedural issues that address the development of different pathways of personality structuring from adolescence to adulthood.

  1. Methodological course

In addition to these main subject areas, part of the program will be devoted to a methodological course. The course aims at presenting data analytic techniques useful in handling time-series and longitudinal data. The course will be preceded by an introduction to the issue of reproducibility in psychological sciences

The school is mainly addressed to doctoral students, young postdoctoral scholars, and psychotherapists with a research background.

Different interactive didactic methods will be used:

  • Plenary lectures
  • Methodological course
  • Presentations and discussion on students’ research projects
  • Informal Lunch Meetings with experts
  • Special Topic lectures