Family Perspectives – Atlanta, GA – November 4, 2011

Family Perspectives on BPD: The Basics and Beyond

The Carter Center
453 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Click the links below to view the videos from the conference.

[wptabs type=”accordion”]
[wptabtitle]Welcome – Perry Hoffman & Frederic Bien[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]An Overview: Reason for Hope or Despair – Brian Palmer, MD[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Medication: The Positives and the Negatives – Kenneth Silk, MD[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]BPD In Adolescence: Early Detection and Intervention – Blaise Aguirre, MD[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Questions & Answers Session[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Family Matters – Perry D. Hoffman, PhD; Kevin Dawkins[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Stop Walking on Eggshells: Secrets of Limit Setting – Randi Kreger[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Family Perspective – Deborah Davidson[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Family Law – Dawn Smith, Esq.[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Multi-Cultural – Makungu Akinyela, PhD, LMFT[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Active Parenting – Michael Popkin, PhD[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Parenting Challenges and Resolutions[/wptabtitle]
[wptabtitle]Closing Questions[/wptabtitle]

Conference Schedule


Friday November 4, 2011 

8:00 am    Registration and Coffee

8:30 am Welcome Perry D. Hoffman, PhD; Frederic Bien, PhD
Moderator: Kenneth R. Silk, MD
8:45 am An Overview: Reason for Hope or Despair Brian A. Palmer, MD
9:45 am Medication: The Positives and the Negatives Kenneth R. Silk, MD
10:30 am    Break
10:45 am BPD In Adolescence: Early Detection and Intervention Blaise A. Aguirre, MD
11:30 am Questions & Answers Session Moderator, Kenneth R. Silk, MD
12:00 pm    Lunch (Provided)Moderator: Elizabeth Cohen
1:00 pm BPD Overview and Family Connections Program Perry D. Hoffman, PhD; Kevin Dawkins
1:30 pm Stop Walking on Eggshells: Secrets of Limit Setting Randi Kreger
2:20 pm The Family’s Perspective Deborah Davidson
2:45 pm    Break
3:00 pm Family Law Dawn R. Smith, Esq.
Multi-Cultural Makungu M. Akinyela, PhD, LMFT
Active Parenting Michael H. Popkin, PhD
Parenting Challenges and Resolutions Panel of Experts
4:00 pm Closing Questions Blaise A. Aguirre, MDPerry D. Hoffman, PhDRandi KregerBrian A. Palmer, MDKenneth R. Silk, MD
4:30 pm    Adjourn


Conference Organizer

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (501(c)3

Conference Sponsors

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Georgia (NAMI-GA) –

ClearView Treatment Center –

Ridgeview Institute –

Conference Supporter

Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia (CLIG)

Statement of Need

  • Borderline Personality disorder (BPD) is a severe and generally chronic disorder that touches millions of people in America.
  • People who suffer from it experience, among other symptoms, emotion dysregulation, and at times depression or extreme anger.
  • The needs of people with BPD are underserved, and so are the needs of their families.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of borderline personality disorder should begin as early as possible.
  • Friends and families are often bewildered and often do not know how to help.
  • Treatment programs for those with BPD need to be more readily available.
  • Families need access to programs such as those already developed for several other mental illnesses.
  • BPD presents patients, their families, clinicians, and researchers with multiple challenges.
  • BPD frequently occurs alongside drug or substance addiction, obesity and eating disorders, confounding all of the above challenges.

Conference Purpose and Objectives

The objectives of this program are to advance the understanding of professionals, families, and consumers about the complexities of borderline personality.  At the conclusion of the conference, conference attendees will be better able to:

1. Describe the complexities of the diagnostic issues surrounding BPD.

2. Discuss the issues that are specific to adolescents and the diagnosis.

3. Identify the issues when someone does not seek treatment from the family’s perspective

4. Specify BPD medication options.

5. Better define family and consumer perspectives and also the role, and importance of family relationships.

7. Describe the benefit of research-based family education and support.

8. Describe the legal system in relation to borderline personality disorder and its symptoms.

Audience and Course Description

This conference will provide a forum for professionals, family members, and consumers to better understand borderline personality disorder, its symptoms, medication options and early detection/intervention. In addition, there will be a forum on family issues such as emotional involvement, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) coping skills strategies from a family member and perspectives when a loved one does not seek treatment. There will also be a panel of experts who will focus on the legal system and its support, parenting challenges and multicultural issues.

Continuing Education Credits:

* Family Perspectives on Borderline Personality Disorder has been approved by the National Association of Social Workers, Georgia Chapter (NASW-GA), for a total of 6.5 core continuing education clock hours for social work licensing purposes.

*The Continuing Education Committee of the Georgia Psychological Association has approved the program, Family Perspectives on Borderline Personality Disorder  with 6 hours of CE credit.

Continuing Educaion Credits -Pending

Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (GAMFT)

Georgia Society of Clinical Social Workers (GSCSW)

Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA)

(To receive a CE certificate, license number and request for CE’s should be included in the registration information at time of sign-in / sign-out at the conference.)

Faculty bios and presentation objectives

Course Directors

Frederic Bien, PhD

NEABPD Board Member

Frederic Bien recently joined NEABPD as Director of Development focused on sponsorship relations. His volunteer work includes Sponsorship Chair, Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (2008-2010); CTO, MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta (2005-2007) for which he was awarded MIT Volunteer Honor Roll 2006.

Dr. Bien is CEO, Ad Buying Network, a media buying agency founded in Atlanta GA (2006). He was co-founder and president, BLiNQ Media, a social media advertising company (2008-2010). Dr. Bien was senior vice president advanced media technology, Turner Broadcasting (2001-2005) and Chair of Time Warner Media Asset Management Committee. In 1999-2000, Dr. Bien was CTO, Bigstar Entertainment, a publicly-traded online movie store based in New York. Previously, he founded Bien Logic, an interactive ad agency and internet software company in San Diego CA (1993); sold to Netrics and SiteLab in 1997.

A perennial advocate of mental health and education, Dr. Bien was Associate Professor Mathematics University of California San Diego (1992-96); Assistant Professor Mathematics Princeton (1986-92). He published a mathematics research book and 14 papers in scientific journals. He was awarded a Ph.D. Mathematics from MIT, 1986, and BA Mathematics from Brussels Free University, Belgium, 1983.

Perry D. Hoffman, PhD

NEABPD, President

Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D. is the President and a co-founder of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. She has several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health with a focus on families who have a relative with borderline personality disorder. Dr. Hoffman is co-designer of Family Connections. She is co-editor, with John G. Gunderson, MD, of Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and Family Member and co-editor of Borderline Personality Disorder: Meeting the Challenges to Successful Treatment. Dr. Hoffman, who is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), has been the director of several DBT treatment programs in the New York area and now is in private practice in the New York area.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has recently recognized the efforts of NEABPD by awarding Dr. Hoffman its Excellence in Community Mental Health Award presented at the 2011 NAMI Convention.


Blaise Aguirre, MD

Medical Director, Adolescent DBT Residential Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

Presentation title

Adolescence: Early Detection and Intervention

Presentation objectives

  • identify symptoms of BPD in adolescent
  • argue for early intervention as a way to reduce the risk of suicide
  • Argue for DBT as a developmentally contextual treatment for adolescents.


Dr. Aguirre is an expert in child, adolescent and adult psychotherapy, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and psychopharmacology. He is medical director of 3East at Harvard – affiliated McLean Hospital, a unique, residential DBT program for young women exhibiting self-endangering behaviors and borderline personality traits. Dr. Aguirre has been a staff psychiatrist at McLean since 2000 and is widely recognized for his extensive work in the treatment of mood and personality disorders in adolescents.

Dr. Aguirre is the author of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Coping When Your Adolescent Has BPD and his new book Depression (Biographies of Disease). He is a co-author of Helping Your Troubled Teen: Learn to Recognize, Understand, and Address the Destructive Behavior of Today’s Teens.

Dr. Aguirre is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard and Medical Director, Adolescent DBT Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

He holds a MD degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1989; and did residencies at Boston University School of Medicine Residency in Psychiatry, 1991-1994, and Rotating Internship VAMC Boston, MA, 1990, followed by a Boston Medical Center Boston, Massachusetts Child and Adolescent Fellowship, 1994-1996. He holds Board Certification with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Board, Certified in Psychiatry, 1996.

Randi Kreger

Author and advocate for family members

Presentation title

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Secrets of Limit Setting

Presentation objectives

  • Identify five sequential steps for coping with a borderline loved one
  • Explain the five C’s that go into the limit-setting planning process
  • Explain why and how limits need to be reinforced


Randi Kreger has been an advocate for family members of those with borderline disorder since 1995. She is the coauthor of the best-selling book Stop Walking on Eggshells (New Harbinger second edition 2010). She’s also written two other books: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tips and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells (2008, Hazelden Publications) and The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook: Practical Strategies for Living with Someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (New Harbinger, 2002).

Ms. Kreger’s website,, is one of the longest-established, popular, and largest sites about BPD. also serves as the gateway to her 26,000 member Welcome to Oz online family community.

Brian Palmer, MD, MPH

Senior Associate Consultant, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Mayo College of Medicine

Presentation title

An Overview: Reason for Hope or Despair

Presentation objectives

1.  Describe the basics of the diagnosis, neurobiology, course, and outcome of BPD.

2.  Describe the principles of effective psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological treatment of  BPD


Brian Palmer, MD, MPH, is a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He completed his residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, where he served as administrative chief resident and assistant editor of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. He earned the prestigious Laughlin Fellowship from the American College of Psychiatry. After residency he joined the staff of McLean Hospital, specializing in Borderline Personality Disorder both at the Gunderson Residence and in the outpatient Borderline Center. At McLean he led family support programs and published on the importance of parity for the disorder. He completed medical school at Mayo Medical School and was elected national president of the 68,000-member American Medical Student Association, the nation’s largest independent organization of physicians-in-training.

Kenneth R. Silk, MD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Health System

Secretary/Treasurer, International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (

Co-Editor, Personality and Mental Health (

Scientific Editor:

Chair, Scientific Program Committee, 2012 Annual Meeting, American Psychiatric Association

Presentation title

Medication: The Positives and the Negatives

Presentation objectives

  • To learn about the history of the use of psychiatric medications in borderline personality disorders through a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials
  • To learn about both the possible benefits and well as possible side-effects and limitations of the use of such medications
  • To appreciate better the balance between psychotherapy and psychopharmacology in the treatment of borderline personality disorder


Dr. Silk is a Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School.  Since 1986, he has been Director, Personality Disorders Program.

He has published more to 100 scientific articles and book chapters. He edited Biological and Neurobehavioral Studies of Borderline Personality Disorder (American Psychiatric Press, 1994) and Biology of Personality Disorders (1998) in the APA’s Annual Review of Psychiatry.  He co-authored with Allan Tasman and Michelle Riba the Doctor-Patient Relationship in Pharmacotherapy:  Improving Treatment Effectiveness (Guilford).  He is co-editor with Peter Tyrer, The Cambridge Textbook of Effective Treatments in Psychiatry (Cambridge University Press, 2008).  He is one of three co-editors-in-chief of the journal Personality and Mental Health and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Personality Disorders.

He is Secretary-Treasurer of the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders and Past President of the Michigan Psychiatric Society. He currently is the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Silk currently is doing PET research, studying mu-opioid receptor activation in patients BPD.  His primary interest is in the clinical treatment, both pharmacologic as well as psychosocial, of personality disorders, primarily borderline personality disorder.


Makungu M. Akinyela, Ph.D., LMFT

Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies, Georgia State University

Presentation focus

Multi Cultural


Dr. Makungu M. Akinyela is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a partner at the Family Center of South Dekalb. He has lectured, written journal articles and book chapters and conducted seminars and workshops in the U.S. and internationally on issues of mental health, and culture.

Dr. Akinyela serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work and the Journal of Systemic Therapy.

His education was at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: Institute of Liberal Arts, History, Culture and Theory (Family and Human Development) Ph.D., 1996; Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, California, Human Development (Marriage, Family and Child Counseling) MA, 1989; and California State University at Northridge, Pan African Studies / Journalism, BA 1978.

Dr. Akinyela currently is Associate Professor at Georgia State University, Department of African American Studies and has taught courses in Introduction to African American Studies, African American Family, Issues in the African American Community, African American Religion, Theories and Concepts of African American Studies. Previously he taught at Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, California (Visiting Instructor); Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia (Adjunct Professor); and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (Student Instructor).

Dr. Akinyela has published extensively on a wide variety of topics; presented refereed paper presentations since 2000 at the Annual Conference of the National Council for Black Studies; and has been keynote speaker and offered workshops in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Honors and awards include: Honorary Couple Award. Hearts and Roses Ball, sponsored by Divine Creations Leadership Empowerment Group., Clayton County International Park. (2005); Honorary Guardian of Human Rights: Awarded by the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) (2003); and Pyramid Award: National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) (2001).

Michael H. Popkin, PhD

Founder and President, Active Parenting Publishers

Presentation focus

Active Parenting


Michael H. Popkin, PhD, founded Active Parenting Publishers in 1983. Soon after, he introduced the first video-based parenting education program, Active Parenting. Recently revised, Active Parenting Now has helped millions of parents develop cooperation, responsibility and courage in their children.

Since then Dr. Popkin has written and produced more than a dozen video and discussion programs, including Active Parenting of TeensFamilies in Action1,2,3,4 Parents!; and Parents on Board: Building Academic Success through Parent Involvement.   His latest book is Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children without Breaking their Spirits.

Prior to founding Active Parenting Publishers, Dr. Popkin practiced family therapy in Atlanta. He is widely known for his expertise in the field of parent education and has appeared on over 200 TV programs, including CNN and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Dr. Popkin and his wife, Melody, are the parents of two young adult children, Megan and Ben.

Dawn Smith, Esq.

Presentation focus

Family Law


Dawn Smith has represented children and families for over 20 years. Immediately prior to joining the firm Boyd Collar Nolan & Tuggle, LLC, Ms. Smith was Deputy Director of Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation where she was responsible for administration of the city’s largest Pro Bono family law program. In this role, Ms. Smith worked in partnership with the Judges of the Fulton County Family Court to provide trained Guardian ad litems in contested custody matters. Ms. Smith has trained Guardian ad litems throughout the state and has lectured on their role nationally. Ms. Smith is frequently appointed by the Court to serve as Guardian ad Litem in family law cases.

In addition to her expertise in family law, Ms. Smith is recognized as one of the leading advocates for the educational rights of children with disabilities. She currently serves as Board Chair of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, the national membership organization for special education attorneys and advocates. She has pursued actions on behalf of children in state and federal trial courts as well as in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Smith is a frequent lecturer both nationally and locally on the rights of children. At the firm, Ms. Smith provides quality legal services on behalf of children with disabilities and lends her expertise in this area to all of our family law endeavors.

Ms. Smith is a 1985 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 1989 cum laude graduate of Georgia State University College of Law where she served as Style Editor on Georgia State Law Review. She served as Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob and subsequently was appointed Special Administrative Master for the Court. Dawn was a partner in the firm Zimring & Smith LLC and was later appointed Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings.

Dawn is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Founder of Cool Girls, Inc., served on the Board of the Greater Georgia Chapter of the Autism Society of America and was on the Advisory Board of Emmaus House. She has also served as Senior Warden and member of the Vestry of Episcopal Church of the Epiphany and is a current member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Dawn is married to Robin Griffith, has two sons and resides in Atlanta.

Elizabeth Cohen

Senior Medical Correspondent, CNN’s Health, Medical and Wellness unit



Elizabeth Cohen is senior medical correspondent for CNN’s Health, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking medical news and health consumer reporting on CNN and Her signature digital column the Empowered Patient keeps consumers informed on how to ensure the best medical care for themselves and their families. Her book, The Empowered Patient: How to get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, was published in August 2010.

Also in 2010, Cohen has provided viewers with on-the-scene accounts of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the devastating Haitian earthquake in January Cohen’s reporting included a whistleblower exclusive with a fisherman’s wife who was among the first to speak out about the health concerns of fishermen now working for BP as clean-up workers. In Haiti, Cohen reported from a makeshift hospital, bringing insights to the injury triage, the complications of transporting critical patients to the U.S., and the lack of medical infrastructure and resources.

Cohen has added clarity to reporting on the global response to H1N1 influenza, interviewing patients and reporting on the latest prevention updates. Her field reporting has also included coverage of the Virginia Tech student shootings, offering a detailed account of what happened from a student who claimed to be the last person shot that day.

Cohen reported on the aftermath of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, contributing to CNN’s Peabody and EMMY® Award-winning coverage through stories about airlifts of premature babies from flooded neonatal intensive care units and reports on displaced cancer patients in desperate need of treatment. She contributed to CNN’s EMMY® Award-winning coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, reporting with sensitivity and professionalism on the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero and the search for missing people in lower Manhattan.

Cohen received a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a National Headliner Award in 2006 for “A Lesson Before Dying,” a feature on the medical decisions made by a Georgia man at the end of his life. In 2007, Cohen was honored by the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Association of Black Journalists for the feature African-Americans and Bone Marrow Transplants. The Mental Health America Media Awards honored her in 2007 for Perfection Obsession, a feature focusing on a teen’s battle against obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2008,

Cohen received a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television for Where’s Molly?, a feature on a man’s search for his sister nearly 50 years after she was placed in a residential mental health institution.

Before joining CNN in 1991, Elizabeth was associate producer of Green Watch, an environmental television program on WLVI in Boston, a reporter for States News Service in Washington, D.C., and a reporter for the The Times Union newspaper in Albany, N.Y., where she won a Hearst Award. Cohen is the recipient of the outstanding alumna award from Columbia College in New York City, where she received a bachelor’s degree in history, and the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University where she earned a master’s degree in public health.