Character Disorders: Narcissistic, Borderline, and Schizoid

22sep1:00 pm4:00 pmCharacter Disorders: Narcissistic, Borderline, and Schizoid

Event Details

September 22, Sunday, 12pm – 2pm, followed by the ORI’s Open House, 2-4 pm

Workshop Leader: Susan Kavaler-Adler, PhD, ABPP, NPsyA, D.Litt

Participation is free, but RSVP is required.

Note change of location to accommodate all requests for participation:

Ukrainian East Village Restaurant; 140 2nd Ave (@ 9th Street), New York, NY 10003

This workshop will begin with discussion about the internal world’s psychic structures of each character disorder, and then, these will be related to the various maternal and parental pathologies that impact the toddler- age child during the separation-individuation stage (of Mahler), also described as the transitional stage by D. W. Winnicott.  The distinct sealed-off grandiose self of the narcissistic personality will be discussed in comparison to the more overtly enraged, inured, and victimized self of the borderline, and in contrast to the withdrawn, sealed-off and split-off affect self of the schizoid personality.

Participants will learn about clinical approaches to speaking to the schizoid patient, who is stuck in the continual need/fear dilemma that has been haunting him or her, perpetuating a primal arrest state of emotional starvation (as in Jeff Seinfeld’s “empty core”).  Input on the character structure and primitive (part object) transferences from James Masterson and Otto Kernberg will be discussed, as well the phenomenology of splitting, dissociation, projective identification, introjective identification, derived from the theories of Melanie Klein.  Melanie Klein’s “fantasy state” reenactment and Ronald Fairbairn’s reenactments of relational primal trauma will be illustrated through clinical examples.  Ronald Fairbairn’s concepts of splits of the primal self will be discussed as the precedents of James Masterson’s theories.

Both clinical and literary examples will be presented from Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s own practice and from her books. Her own theories of self integration through “developmental mourning” and of pathological mourning in the form of psychic arrest, which is eroticized in the “demon lover complex,” will be discussed, with both clinical and literary examples.


  1. To learn the developmental/relational issues that are critical to forming the arrested psychological structure, and self-sabotaging interpersonal relations, of the Narcissistic Character Disorder and the Borderline PD
  2. To learn the developmental/relational issues that are critical to understanding the psychic structure, and self-sabotaging interpersonal avoidances of the Schizoid Character Disorder.
  3. To understand how to translate these developmental issues into the a clinical technique based on both empathy and interpersonal engagement.

Please contact ORI administrator for more information – 646-522-1056 or via email:

To register/ RSVP, please fill out the registration form HERE or email at


September 22, Sunday, 12pm – 2pm