News and events

DBT team


A survey of 39 staff employed at Spectrum specialist personality disorder service was conducted during the initial National lockdown to investigate their mental health, physical health, sleep quality, management of relationships, alcohol consumption, eating patterns, and use of media. Two participants (5.1%) experienced ‘coronaphobia’. Participants reported a diversity of experiences affecting their health status during this time.

The most challenging aspect of the first lockdown reported by participants was the loss of social interactions with family and friends. However, staff reported that engaging in their work from home by using digital technology obviated the work commute, thereby providing opportunities to spend more quality time with household family members and for self-reflection.

These findings provide valuable information for mental health service managers to understand their staff well-being while engaged in work from home in a clinical capacity, suggesting that having the option to continue working remotely helped to mitigate many of the adverse aspects of social restrictions that arose during the global pandemic.

This study is reported in the Australian Psychologist, a publication of the Australian Psychological Society. For more information, please visit:

Spectrum is pleased to launch its 2021 Annual Report. 

This document really encapsulates how despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spectrum has continued to thrive. Our dedicated and passionate staff have successfully adapted to the changes in delivery of care to support our clients, whilst also progressing significant work in the areas of research and workforce development.

Spectrum Annual Report Cover

Annual Report 2021 (PDF, 6MB)

Annual Report 2021 - Plain Text Accessible Version (DOC, 40KB)


Spectrum is pleased to launch their new book “Borderline Personality Disorder - A Practical Guide for General Practitioners” edited by Josephine Beatson and Sathya Rao. This book is a great resource for General Practitioners who treat patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.

"This succinct readable text is an excellent and timely addition to the library of educational resources and education for all practitioners – especially for students and registrars seeking an understanding of a complex area of human behaviour. The authors are to be commended on this initiative which is so comprehensively researched and presented. It is recommended that this area of mental health, hopefully in time, can be expanded to include other similar conditions under the category of dramatic or erratic personality disorders." Emeritus Professor John Murtagh AO, Monash University.

The book can be purchased here.

Practical Guide for GPs 

The GP Manual FAQ 



Register here

We are pleased to announce that registrations are now open for our 2021 calendar training on the following topics which are either online or face to face:

Clinician workshops:

  • Foundation training for working with people with borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for BPD (Introduction, In Action, Family Intervention, Private Practice, Intermediate)
  • Acceptance & commitment therapy for BPD
  • Mentalization-based treatment for BPD
  • Office-based treatment of people with BPD for GPs and psychiatrists
  • Psychoanalytic clinic symposium
  • Working with crises associated with BPD
  • Question and answer sessions on various topics.

Family workshops:

  • Learning more about BPD: A workshop for families and friends (not for clinicians).

Flyer: A copy of the calendar training flyer 2021 can be downloaded here.

Who should attend: Our clinical workshops are primarily intended for mental health clinicians and other professionals working with people who have personality disorders. Our family workshops are for family, friends and carers who provide care and support in a voluntary capacity to those experiencing BPD.

Online/Face to face: In the first half of the year due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions, all workshops are online (except for 'Learning more about BPD: A workshop for family and friends'). All workshops in the second half of the year are face to face unless otherwise specified. If a workshop is not able to proceed face to face due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will revert to an online training course.

Prices: Half-day workshops cost $110, 1-day workshops cost $220 and 2-day workshops cost $440 (GST inclusive) unless otherwise specified. The workshop 'Learning more about BPD: A workshop for family and friends' is $10.

If you are an Eastern Health clinician a 50% discount applies. Workshops are free for Turning Point and Spectrum clinicians. Please seek approval from your manager to attend and then email to receive the discount. 

Venue for face to face workshops: 110 Church Street Richmond Victoria 3121

Enquiries: (03) 8413 8750 or

Psychology Study & Supervision Group

‘A Relational and Neuorobilogical Approach’

For understanding and treating personality disorders


Aim: The aim of this group is to support clinicians in developing their ‘capacity to work in an integrated way” when working with clients who present with significant intra-personal and inter-personal disturbance.

Since the time of Freud volumes and volumes of books have been written about how to treat people with “psychological issues”.    In the last 20 and so years we have been offered multiple choices of “evidence based” treatments for various disorders.    The challenge that a contemporary practitioner faces is to develop a cohesive and coherent model of practice in the field of seemingly different and incompatible modalities. 

The recent neurobiological insights have given us hope that the traditional gap between the concepts of body and mind can be finally reduced if not eliminated.  For example, are the concepts of ‘transference’ and ‘implicit attachment memory’ referring to the same phenomena?   Did you know that the original meaning of the words “soul” and “spirit” is breath and breathing in most European languages?  Interestingly, in the Polyvagal Theory they talk about using breath as a way of regulating the Autonomic Nervous System.                               

The suggested reading list comes from years of professional development that I found useful in my clinical practice with clients who present as complex and severe. As “an eternal student” the challenge always has been to synthesize the diverse literature in a way that can be helpful to me and my clients.

The idea is that participants will read between sessions and discuss their insights in the first hour of the group. In the second hour the group will work together to develop a shared understanding of a clinical issue and then reflect together.

Prior to attending the group for the first time you will be asked to fill and sign the Registration and Group Agreement forms.  

Event details:

Dates for 2021: TBC

Time: TBC

Location: Via Tele-health

About the Supervisor:

Radmila (Rada) Semec, Senior Psychologist, Psychology Board of Australia approved supervisor, MNZPS. 

Since joining Spectrum in 2002 Rada specialized in treating people with complex presentations driven by a severe personality disorder (s) symptomatology.   Rada provided supervision, consultations and training to public mental health services in Victoria.

Rada trained in following schools of psychotherapy: Rogerian Persona Centred Counselling, Object – Relation Psychotherapy, Transactional Analyses, Gestalt Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mentalization Based Therapy, Group Therapy, Organizational / System Interventions and Sensory-motor Psychotherapy. 

Rada believes in a highly individualized and integrative approach when supporting clients and systems in achieving their goals.  

All enquires can be put to the group facilitator: Rada Semec, Senior Psychologist, Spectrum. Contact via e-mail:  or mobile: 0402 970 935


Reading List:

Please note that we will be reading only parts of the books for group purposes. It is recommended that you get your own copies if possible. The other way to familiars yourself with the authors is to access their talks on youtube etc.

  • “The Relationship Management” by David Dawson (article; I provide)
  • “BPD and The Conversational Model” by Russell Meares (book)
  • “The Therapeutic Relationship” by Petruska Clarkson (introduction chapter; I provide)
  • “The Mindful Therapist” by Danile J. Siegel (book)
  • “Management of Countertransference with Borderline Patients” by Glen O.Gabbard and Sally M.Wilkinson (book)
  • “ Polyvagal theory” by Stephen W.Porges (article / youtube)
  • “The Haunted Self – Structural dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization” by Onno van der Hart , Ellert R.S.Nijenhuis & Kathy Steele (book)
  • “The body keeps the score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk (book)
  • “Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame – A relational/ Neurobiological Approach “ by Patricia A. DeYoung (book)
  • “Sensorimotor Psychotherapy –Interventions for trauma and attachment “ by Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher (book)


  • “Easy Ego-state Interventions – strategies for working with parts” by Robyn Shapiro (book)
  • “Overcoming Trauma through Yoga - Reclaiming Your Body “ by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper (book)
  • “Self-regulation Interventions and Strategies – Keeping the Body, Mind & Emotions on Task in Children with Autism, ADHD or Sensory Disorders” by Teresa Garland (book)

Dr Sathya Rao

Congratulations to our very own Spectrum Executive Clinical Director, Dr Sathya Rao who has received a RANZCP Victorian Branch Meritorious Award.

The award acknowledges Sathya’s contribution over many years towards understanding and managing patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, and his immense contribution to clinical services, training and education, and research. Sathya is a pioneer within Australia in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and his passion for research, evidence-based practice and teaching has inspired hundreds of health professionals to specialise in this area within Australia and overseas. His quiet determination to dedicate himself to working with people living with Borderline Personality Disorder has saved lives and changed families forever. In the words of the College “Sathya has led Spectrum for a long period and transformed our approach to personality disorders from nihilism to hopefulness.’

Congratulations, Sathya on this prestigious acknowledgement and for the great contribution you have made in your field of expertise.

Monthly Q&A Sessions

Spectrum is offering monthly Q&A sessions on a  variety of topics related to working with people with personality disorder. These are conducted via Zoom and are a great interactive way of enhancing knowledge and practice through discussion and questions. Spaces are limited so booking is required.

Please visit our Professional Development page for more information regarding dates and bookings.


For Current Clients

Spectrum remains open and continues to provide treatment and support for all current clients. The method of receiving your treatment however has changed, from in person to tele-health options, either through a secure video-conference platform which we arrange for you, or via telephone.

You will be contacted by your clinician and arrangements will be made to provide ongoing treatment for you that you are able to access.

While this is not our ideal method of providing treatment, our intention is to ensure that we can continue to provide treatment for you. Once the physical distancing requirements of COVID-19 have ended, we will return to usual in person treatment arrangements.


Maintaining Health and Wellbeing

We acknowledge that this is a very unsettling and concerning time for all in our community. Spectrum will continue to support people and services throughout this difficult time.

Please follow the recommendations for keeping yourself well: physical distance and hand hygiene.

We especially encourage you to look after your mental health by staying connected to other people and activities even while maintaining physical distance. There is a variety of on-line resources to help with this. Here are a couple of web-sites to check out:


For Referrers to Spectrum

Spectrum Treatment Clinics

The Spectrum treatment clinics continue to provide treatment for people who are currently engaged in treatment.

However, clinics have transitioned to tele-health methods of delivery, either through a secure video-conference platform or via telephone.

Spectrum Intake

Spectrum intake continues to operate both for:

  • Telephone support for people with BPD and their families/carers
  • Provision of information for other services and intended referrers

Referrals to Spectrum from Primary Care


Spectrum continues to provide primary care assessments for referrals from GPs and private psychiatrists. Please note these will be completed via telehealth (secure video-conference or telephone) until further notice.

Following assessment, recommendations will be provided to the referring GP or private psychiatrist.

Given current pandemic circumstances, we are not able to operate at our full capacity for competing assessments at this stage.

Referrals to Spectrum from AMH Services


Spectrum will continue to provide urgent assessments for AMH Services, again via tele-health methods.


We will provide secondary consultation via tele-health for AMH Services.

Some tele-health treatment will be provided for people with personality disorder when this is indicated.

Phone enquiries: (03) 8413 8750


Fax: (03) 8413 8498

Complexities in Personality Disorder: A Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) Approach

Clinical experience and clinical experience and contemporary research acknowledge the complexities that can arise in working with people with a personality disorder. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is an empirically–supported treatment for people with borderline personality disorder. It offers positive outcomes for people with complex and multifaceted presentations and high comorbidities.

Two keynote addresses from a leading international expert in the area of personality disorder, Professor Anthony Bateman, will consider how the MBT model has evolved and how it conceptualises and treats the complexities associated with borderline, antisocial and other personality disorders. It is anticipated that the conference will discuss consumer experience of receiving MBT treatment and will showcase how the treatment is being taken up across Victoria and nationwide in a variety of settings.

For attendees who may be less familiar with the MBT model, Spectrum will host Professor Bateman in providing in-depth training in MBT, Structured Clinical Management which is a Common Factors Treatment model that he developed. Professor Bateman will also present a separate post-conference workshop covering the diagnosis and treatment of antisocial personality disorder.

Please note: Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions, the planned Spectrum conference for 2020 on “Complexities in Personality Disorder: A Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) Approach”, featuring Dr Anthony Bateman, has been postponed. The conference will be held next year. Updates will be posted on our website as further information is available. Please also follow our website and social media for other training options that may be offered in the meantime.

Training calendar

Who can attend the workshops?

Professional development workshops are primarily intended for mental health clinicians and other professionals working with people who have personality disorders.

Spectrum Professional Development Calendar 2020


Register for training:

Spectrum workshops 2020