Understanding Personality Disorders Network


Lead: Konrad Banicki – konrad.banicki@uj.edu.pl

Background in philosophy and psychology. Assistant Professor at the Institute of Applied Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Poland.


The Understanding Personality Disorders Network is a new multi- and interdisciplinary network that seeks to promote an investigation of personality disorders and to inform clinical practice by the outcomes achieved. A special emphasis is laid on the integration of empirical, conceptual, theoretical, and normative issues within broader schemes in particular that of Value-based Practice (VBP).


Recent developments in philosophy of psychiatry can be understood not only in terms of an increasing quantity of research conducted, but also as constituted by formal changes concerning the focus of investigation. One aspect of the latter is a noticeable switch from highly abstract reflection on psychiatry and mental disease as such to more specific and narrow areas often marked by particular nosological categories, like psychoses, or even specific symptoms such as delusions.

This general trend has also affected the study of personality disorders, which have always, at least since Jaspers’ “General Psychopathology,” been recognized as phenomena of considerable specificity. An attempt to investigate personality disorders independently of an exploration of mental disease as such can be justified on a variety of grounds. Some of them include:

(1) a non-trivial and non-self-evident status of the notion of personality disorder

(2) an unclear relationship between the psychiatric concept of personality disorder and the ones of personality (psychology) and character (virtue ethical tradition)

(3) a complex and multidimensional nature of personality pathology and, respectively, a wide range of disciplines and approaches needed to do justice to the latter

(4) a marked presence of normative issues as well as a debate concerning the proper way of addressing the latter within a scientific framework

(5) a complex sociocultural background of the medical approach to personality disorders

(6) recent discussions concerning the nosology of personality disorders

To learn more about the conceptual and theoretical work on personality disorders that has been done to date, you may want to consult selected references.


The main objective of the Network is to provide a platform for multi- and interdisciplinary discussion of personality disorders. In order to promote both open mindedness and rigour the following particular objectives will be pursued:

* Bring people together to explore, share and develop research on personality disorders

* Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and clinical experience between scholars and mental health practitioners

* Elucidate the concept of personality disorder with special emphasis on its non-trivial relationship to the medical notion of disease

* Reflect on normative issues intrinsic to the domain of personality disorders and the optimal ways of making sense of and dealing with them

* Explore approaches and methods in terms of their potential for broadening and deepening understanding of personality disorders

* Examine different disciplinary perspectives including not only strictly clinical ones but also those provided by philosophy, ethics, and religious/spiritual frameworks

* Carefully investigate models of personality disorders such as those connected with categorical and dimensional views of personality pathology

* Promote clinical practice by means of elucidating the ways in which more general frameworks, like the one of the Value-based Practice (VBP), translates into a particular clinical decision-making process

* Provide opportunities for developing future collaborations


The Network is open to all those with an involvement in the area of personality disorders with particular emphasis placed on multi- and interdisciplinary approaches. This includes but is not limited to psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers, and bioethicists.

If interested in joining the Network please contact Konrad Banicki at konrad.banicki@uj.edu.pl

List of Members

For a list of current members please click here.


The objectives of the Network will be pursued through networking and by means of regular workshops and meetings. Advanced Study Days as well as regular conferences are to be organized and held both in Oxford (the Collaborating Centre for Values-Based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College) and in Kraków (Institute of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Jagiellonian University).

Our Academic Sponsor is Philosophy Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Forthcoming Events and Announcements

“The Many Faces of Personality Disorder” – An interdisciplinary conference of the Understanding Personality Disorders Network

Monday 21st October 2019 (Institute of Applied Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow

For further details of the programme please click here.

Past Events

Seminar and launch of the Understanding Personality Disorders Network

Monday 10th June 2019 (St Catherine’s College, Oxford)

For details of the launch event programme please click here

Contact and Further Information

For more information, to announce events and initiatives of potential interest or to join the Network please contact Konrad Banicki at konrad.banicki@uj.edu.pl