Our chapter of the AFCC is presenting an excellent opportunity to gain strategies of working with personality disordered individuals in family law on October 11. The information is contained in our events tab of this website. Back as a legal aid attorney at SMRLS, I recall a description by a mental health professional about how to know when I was representing a client with a personality disorder. He said that no matter how hard you work and how good a job you think you are doing, you walk away from an interaction with the client feeling as if you are a failure. As a judicial officer, I often think about no matter what efforts I have made to successfully manage the case, the parties keep coming back to court – with the parties, lawyers (if any) and me feeling frustrated. It is at this moment that I smack my forehead and think, “oh maybe there is a personality disorder involved”.
I have learned from my time on the Bench that litigants with personality disorders require a different approach from other cases.
For a party, it is emotionally painful having an opposing party with a personality disorder; for the person with the disorder it must also be frustrating. For lawyers, these are the cases which often come to you have several other lawyers have withdrawn. For mental health providers, you may struggle with how to help your patient manage the demands of family court and achieve success where before the patient has run into brick walls. These cases take up a lot of time of mental health professionals, attorneys, courts and litigants. Laurel Ferris, Nancy Darcy and Amy Krupinski as the education committee chair have put in a lot of work bringing in Beth Maultsby to Minnesota to share strategies for professionals working with personality disordered litigants in the courtroom. Ms. Maultsby is from Texas and is a social worker, lawyer, judicial officer and author with over 30 years of experience.
This conference promises to be an enlightening training. I hope you can make it. Click Here for more information and to register.