Message From the President

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer!  We are gearing up for an exciting fall with lots of happenings over the next few months.  Several of our Board Members will be presenting at conferences, some with professionals in the audience, some with family members and persons in recovery in the audience and some with all stakeholders.

The first conference is the New York State Office of Suicide Prevention Conference in Albany. Silvia Gilotti, Ph.D. and I have been asked to talk about families.

Similarly, we have been asked to present at the NAMI New York State Convention (October 26 to 28, 2018 in Albany, NY). and hope to have some family members join us. The real highlight of that conference, however, will be the workshop on Family Connections, led by star leaders, Matt and Ann Costello, along with our treasured Meg Macci who is the administrator of our FC programs in the US.  Please join us if you are in the area.  We are also planning a gathering with a Family Connections dinner and we welcome people interested in attending an FC class to come.

At the end of September several of us will be in Sitges, Spain presenting at the 5th Borderline Congress.  We are extremely pleased with the attention given to Family Connections with more than four symposiums addressing different aspects of the program.  FC Leaders from other countries will also be participating and we look forward to not only presenting with them but also to having an international FC dinner that seems to be coming a tradition when group leaders convene in one location!  NEABPD Board members presenting include Marie-Paule de Valdivia, Alan Fruzzetti, Lucy Payne, Beth McCrave and Perry Hoffman.

Also at the Congress meeting will be the annual Global Alliance for Early Prevention and Intervention (GAP) Meeting.  The hosts of the Congress, ESSPD, have generously offered coffee and pastries along with lunch at the close of the meeting.  NEABPD is particularly pleased to see how the GAP Initiative continues to grow with over 45 people expected to attend the meeting.  Beth and I will do a short presentation highlighting our perspectives on early prevention including the crucial role of family involvement.

Finally, in terms of presentations, the National Guard Behavioral Health with professionals across the country in its 54 bases, will convene in Boston for a training conference on September 16th.  NEABPD will do a presentation on borderline personality disorder and Family Connections, both of which seem to be of great interest to the administration.

From the conferences, we go to the Fall Call-in Series, another GAP event, Sunday evenings from 8pm to 9pm.   The focus on this series of lectures will be on clinical work and treatment, what is available for youth in terms of prevention and intervention and also for their families.   Look for the schedule coming soon on our website ( Thank you, Andrea Gold, Ph.D., Emily Cooney, Ph.D., Carla Sharp, Ph.D., Janine Galione, Ph.D., and Seth Axelrod, Ph.D.  Quite a team!

November brings another Family Connections Leader Training with Alan in White Plains.  The training will also be live streamed to certain satellite locations, including several in Europe, allowing for even further availability of FC.

NEABPD hosted its 4th Congressional Briefing. Engaging and Involving Family Members in Suicide Prevention Efforts was held on May 22nd, standing room only.   Chairwoman of the Mental Health Caucus Grace Napolitano was joined by two of her colleagues Representatives Donald Beyer and John Katko, Co-chairmen of the Suicide Task Force each presenting on their agendas and urging the audience to participate in the effort to address suicide and its impact on families.

NEABPD was also honored to have Richard McKeon, Ph.D. SAMHSA, Chair of the Suicide Prevention Branch, Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Colleen Creighton, Executive Director, American Association of Suicidology, presented their organizations’ work in this area. NEABPD’s Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D., Director of the Boys Program and Beth McCrave filled out the hour with his treatment program and lived experience respectfully.  Full video of the Briefing is on our website,

Please join Charlie Swenson, MD each Wednesday on his podcast, To Hell and Back.  WEDNESDAYS AT 4PM EASTERN (U.S.) TIME. Listen Live: call-in to 641-715-0874 access code 319705#. Recordings of each week available on our and on Charlie’s website

Of final note is the recognition of the relationship between NEABPD and Dr. Kenneth Silk.  Dr. Silk was on the Board of NEABPD, serving as the only psychiatrist on our Board of Directors.  The 2nd Annual Kenneth Silk, MD Memorial Lecture will be held on October 17, 2018 in Ann Arbor Michigan with NEABPD as the presenter.  We miss Dr. Silk and all that he did to support our mission and efforts and are proud to do a presentation in his honor.

Thank you for your support of our efforts and please feel free to send us any suggestions for how we can be of help to you and your family.

Warm thoughts for a good fall season!

 Marie-Paule de Valdivia, MBA, LCSW

Family Connections

The main news from the Education Committee is that with the Board growth and in order to best help and support you all, we have divided responsibilities more officially towards the smooth running of the Family Connections program. We continue to be uniquely focused on decreasing our FC wait list, maximizing FC reach and supporting our FC leaders to avoid burnout and make it possible to lead classes in an enjoyable way.

Our new sharing of responsibilities has proven effective thus far. Several of us are now supporting Meg in class creation, responses to registrants’ specific questions and leader training organization – and at the same time, volunteers are always welcome! Number of classes is steady, but registrations are growing – please consider leading a class this fall if you aren’t already.

As our international efforts have come to fruition, Beth McCrave is leading the charge to support interested countries (hello Poland! More on international news below from Beth.) Kim Ilowit, Alan Fruzzetti, Lucy Payne and myself are spearheading leader support and mentoring for difficult questions and sad and hard moments.  Ann and Matt Costello continue to organize the leader call-ins we all enjoy so much: Ann and Matt already have a delightful program set up for us for the 2018-2019 season.

Alan and Lucy are in charge of updates to the manual. Donna Shields has taken charge of creating and maintaining the leaders’ section on the website with documents and resources that can be helpful to you all. This includes all necessary documents, slides, examples, role plays, as well as materials that will come in handy for local conferences and presentations. In fact, a volunteer from one of our weekend courses completed a much needed cleanup of the weekend slide deck, which is in the process of being reviewed and will be posted to the website.

Beth, Perry and I are continuing to actively take part in and introduce and promote Family Connections at various conferences. Perry, Alan and Lucy presented exciting data at NASSPD on the effectiveness on patient outcomes of family members taking the Family Connections class. They will present this too at the ESSPD conference in Spain in September, while Beth will discuss FC and I will talk about how to involve families in treatment (Family Connections and beyond.)

Lucy, Beth and I are revisiting the idea of an online version of Family Connections as well as a web-based way of teaching the class.

In an effort to streamline online registrations we have simplified the signup questions but added important sections (e.g. existence of a second relative with the disorder), and clarified some questions (especially the one about the relationship of the registrant with the person who has BPD symptoms) as well as the automatic response.

Many hands indeed make small work!

Today I’ll give a shout-out to my dad here. I should preface this by saying that good manners and respect of others are very, very big deals for him. Now we were out at a lovely outdoor museum cafe with my mom and my daughter who happened to be pretty upset at that moment – she had felt rushed to get to the restaurant and her displeasure was obvious. As she decided to finish her self-care routine by uninhibitedly and liberally applying sunscreen and then deodorant right at the table, my elderly dad who has never taken Family Connections and who would in absolutely any other circumstances have totally choked, in this case kept his eyes resolutely trained on me, determined to follow my lead. (I was feeling a combination of deep embarrassment and strong amusement, if there is such a thing, but really I was going at all costs for the skills of being effective rather than being right – and choosing the moment.) Dad managed to breathe, to re-focus on the menu and to order almost as if nothing had happened. Without the unneeded escalation, we eventually settled into a lovely meal. Yay Dad, yay all of us, well done!

Please let us know of your touching or funny stories, or those shared in your classes; as well as successes great and small – this is your space too! Thank you for all you do, and for supporting families in their quest for answers, skills and peace.

Beth McCrave, M.S.

International News

International development has been and continues to be central to the Ed Committee’s activities. A TLC in the UK has sparked great interest in a comprehensive leader training towards family support, with interest in including MBT. A webinar in France in June has stirred interest in and registrations for a FC class for the fall, and the only DBT practice in France is now looking to start their first FC, while an FC class was completed in the Ural region of Russia. We are responding to strong interest in Brazil and perhaps in Poland.

While we have encouraged independence for local NEA development, many look to us for structure and guidance and this will be the focus of some Ed Committee upcoming work. Our goal is to strive for fidelity to the program, while supporting expansion in different cultures and health care settings. Board members Beth, Marie-Paule, and Lucy are working to develop more formal international guidelines.  “Zoom” meetings have allowed us to connect in a more personal way with clinicians and family members from all over the globe…. including “Woolloongabba,” Australia!

New Zealand:  As Roy Krawitz steps down in his leadership role of Family Connections in New Zealand, Mike Batcheler and Leigh Murray met with Perry and Beth to discuss guidelines for expanding FC outside of Auckland. The established FC group in Australia has also offered “local” help and support in this important endeavor, including invitations to upcoming leader trainings taking place in Australia.

U.K.: Due to a significant increase in requests for FC from clinical groups and families, our colleagues in Ireland, Daniel Flynn and Mary Kells, have agreed to travel to the U.K. soon to run an in- person leader training.  Our own Meg Macci worked very hard laying the groundwork to make this happen. We have also been able to reach out and re-connect with FC leaders living in the U.K. to establish a strong FC base.

Poland: NEABPD is very fortunate to connect with Magda Skuza-Singh, an enthusiastic DBT clinician from Poland.  Perry and Beth met with her on zoom, and together with Meg, Magda has helped us to arrange a satellite streaming of the U.S. November leader training to Poland. We also hope to see her at ESSPD in Barcelona.

Brazil:  NEA BPD board member, Lucy Payne (a Portugese speaker) is working closely with DBT clinicians in Brazil to bring FC to this country.

Australia:  Perry has been working regularly with a dedicated group from Australia, offering support in onboarding new leadership staff. They are eager to use teleconnections for rural areas, so Beth and Perry used a zoom session to go over the “nuts and bolts” of the teleconnections format.

ESSPD Barcelona:  Several board members will travel to Spain to present at a conference symposium titled: Family Connections Around the Globe. Data will also be presented from Italy, Ireland, and Canada. We are planning an FC dinner during the conference, to network and share ideas for future collaboration.
Support NEABPD

Our Family Connections leaders are wonderful volunteers; but there are still expenses such as training the leaders and administrative costs. We want to train more volunteers and make FC available to all families who want to participate. In addition, NEABPD supports research, works to decrease stigma, and promotes education on the identification and treatment of BPD. Your donation helps NEABPD Family Connections reach more people and further the work to enhance the lives of all who are affected by BPD.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash