Log in
Hawaii Psychological Association
For a Healthy Hawaii
Log in

Personality in Depth: Clinical Implications

Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D.

Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D.
November 18, 2006  
Oahu, Ala Moana Hotel, 6 CE 



Therapists are not particularly helped by thinking in the limited terms available in the DSM-IV, especially when they work with patients whose problems are complexly interwoven into their personalities.  Dr. McWilliams will describe individual differences in terms that are dimensional, contextual, and inferential, in contrast to the tradition of descriptive psychiatry.  This workshop will cover contemporary psychoanalytic ideas about personality and personality disorder, in terms of both degree of mental health or illness and type of personality structure.  Emphasis will be on the clinical implications of conceptualizing patients in these more nuanced ways, and a focus will be kept on practical applications of the material covered.   

Clinical vignettes from workshop participants will be welcomed, and the presenter will talk about her own clinical work in detail, especially her work with more challenging and difficult patients. She will present the case of a woman whose treatment required highly unconventional interventions based on an in-depth understanding of her psychology.  

This workshop will be beneficial to experienced mental health practitioners; the content may also have value for students in the mental health professions.

Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be familiar with:

  1. The history of psychoanalytic conceptualizations of character structure;

  2. The multiple perspectives from which analytically oriented therapists and researchers have looked at personality organization: in terms of developmental fixation, defensive patterns, relational proclivities, pathogenic beliefs, and so on;

  3. The clinical implications of these perspectives and of differentiating carefully between people of discrepant types of character, even if their presenting symptoms or problems are similar;

  4. The phenomenology and clinical implications of schizoid personality organization.

About Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D.

Nancy McWilliams, who teaches at the Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is author of Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process (1994), Psychoanalytic Case Formulation (1999), and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner’s Guide (2004), all with Guilford Press, and is Associate Editor of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (2006).  She is President-Elect of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association, Associate Editor of the Psychoanalytic Review, and on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Psychology.  

Dr. McWilliams has written widely on personality structure and personality disorders, psychodiagnosis, sex and gender, trauma, intensive psychotherapy, and contemporary challenges to the humanistic tradition in psychotherapy.  Her books have been translated into twelve languages, and she has lectured widely both nationally and internationally.  Her book on case formulation received the Gradiva Award for best psychoanalytic clinical book of 1999; in 2004 she was given the Rosalee Weiss Award for contributions to practice by the Division of Independent Practitioners of the American Psychological Association; and in 2006 she was made an Honorary Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.  A graduate of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, she is also affiliated with the Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of New Jersey and the National Training Program of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York City. She has a private practice in Flemington, New Jersey.

Learn more at

© 2020 Hawai'i Psychological Association —

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software