North American Society for the study of personality disorders

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NASSPD 2021 Plenary speakers

April 16th- April 17th, 20201- Virtual Conference

Meet our 2021 Featured Speakers!

The best of personality disorder research featured during our  2-day annual conference--We are proud to announce this year's keynote speakers:

Dr. Shelley McMain, Ph.D., C.Psych,

Dr. Joel Paris, M.D.

Dr. Jill Hooley, D.Phill

Dr. Kenneth Levy, Ph.D.

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Meet this year's speakers

Dr. Shelley McMain, Ph.D., C.Psych

University of Toronto

Dr. Shelley McMain is an Associate Professor and Director of the Psychotherapy, Humanities, and Psychosocial Interventions (PHPI) Division, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She graduated with a PhD in Clinical Psychology from York University in 1995. She is also the Head of the Borderline Personality Disorder Clinic, and a Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Dr. McMain is a Certified Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Clinician with the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification. She is the General Vice-President Elect of the international organization of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. She is an educator and researcher and she has published extensively in high impact scientific journals on DBT and the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

Her work focuses on studying the effectiveness of treatment for borderline personality disorder, emotion dysregulation, suicide and self-harm behaviours as well as the mechanisms of change of psychotherapy. Her research has led to several awards including distinguished research awards from the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the International Society for Improvement and Teaching of DBT.

Dr. Joel Paris, M.D.

McGill University

Dr. Joel Paris was born in New York City, but has spent most of his life in Canada. He obtained an MD from McGill University, where he also trained in psychiatry. Dr. Paris has been a member of the McGill psychiatry department since 1972. Since 1994, he has been a full Professor, and served as Department Chair from 1997 to 2007. Dr. Paris is currently a Research Associate at the Jewish General Hospital, and heads personality clinics at both the MUHC and JGH. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Paris' research interest is in borderline personality disorder. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Paris has been conducting research on the causes and the long-term outcome of BPD. Dr. Paris has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, and is the author of 23 books and 50 book chapters. Dr. Paris is an educator who has supervised psychiatric evaluation with residents for over 40 years, and who has won awards for his teaching. He is an active clinician, in charge of specialized clinics for BPD at two hospitals.

Dr. Jill Hooley, D.Phil

Harvard University

Jill M. Hooley, D.Phil., is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She is also head of the Experimental Psychopathology/Clinical Psychology Program at Harvard. Dr. Hooley received her doctorate from Oxford University. She also completed additional clinical training at SUNY Stony Brook and McLean Hospital. Dr. Hooley is a licensed clinical psychologist and a member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. She specializes in treating clients with depression, anxiety and personality disorders.

Dr. Hooley has a long-standing interest in psychosocial predictors of relapse in patients with severe psychopathology. Another area of research interest is non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors such as skin cutting or burning. She has received grants from NIMH and the Borderline Personality Disorder Research Foundation and published many journal articles and book chapters on a broad range of topics. Together with Jim Butcher and Matthew Nock, she is also the author of the textbook, Abnormal Psychology.

At Harvard, Dr. Hooley has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, abnormal psychology, schizophrenia, mood disorders, psychiatric diagnosis, cognitive-behavioral intervention, and professional ethics. She is a former president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and, until 2016, she served as an Associate Editor for the journal Clinical Psychological Science. She received the A. T. Beck Award for Excellence in Psychopathology Research in 2000 and in 2015 she was the recipient of the Joseph Zubin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Psychopathology Research from the Society for Research in Psychopathology.

Dr. Kenneth Levy, D.Phil

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Kenneth N. Levy is a tenured Associate Professor in the Clinical Area of the Department of Psychology at the Pennsylvania State University, where he directs the Laboratory for the Study of Personality, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapy. At Penn State, he supervises a clinical training practicum emphasizing contemporary assessment and psychotherapy for personality disorders, with a strong focus on Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP). In addition, he teaches undergraduate classes in Introduction to Personality (Honors), Introduction to Clinical Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Senior Seminar, and he coordinates the departmental honors program. Dr. Levy also has a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University where he taught prior to taking a faculty position at Penn State. At Cornell he is a Senior Faculty Fellow, Steering Committee member, and the Associate Director of Research at the Personality Disorders Institute (PDI) under the direction of Drs. Otto F. Kernberg, John F. Clarkin, and Frank E. Yeomans.

Dr. Levy’s research interests are in attachment theory, personality disorders and psychotherapy process and outcome. His goal is to understand the mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of personality disorders, with the ultimate goal of developing and studying treatments that directly target these mechanisms. Dr. Levy has authored more than 175 articles and chapters and three books, many in top tier journals. His research has been featured in Newsweek, Scientific American, and on Dr. Drew among other media outlets. He has also has made over 300 conference, colloquia, grand rounds, and workshops presentations.

Dr. Levy’s work has led to a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, an early career fellowship from the American Psychoanalytic Association, and early career awards from the Society for Psychotherapy Research and the American Psychological Association Division of Psychotherapy. He was the inaugural winner of the North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorders Mid-Career Award. He is also an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and on the Scientific Advisory Board Treatment And Research Advocacy for Borderline Personality Disorder (TARA4BPD). Dr. Levy’s research has been funded by grants from diverse funding sources such as the National Institute of Mental Health, the Army Research Institute, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Psychoanalytic Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression.

Dr. Levy has served as a science advisor to the President of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsA) and a research consultant to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Psychotherapy Committee, as the Ittelson Fellow to the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), and as an advisor to former Senator Patrick Kennedy and the Kennedy Forum He is also a member of the Committee on Scientific Activities of the APsA and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 12 (Clinical Psychology), 29 (Psychotherapy), and 39 (Psychoanalysis), and the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI). In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Levy maintains a private practice in State College, PA where he works with individuals with personality disorders using contemporary empirically supported treatments, and he consults both nationally and internationally.

The North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorders welcomes you! 

For general questions regarding NASSPD or the 2021 conference, email:

Harmony Mohr, NASSPD Assistant


Dr. Stephanie Stepp, NASSPD President

For questions regarding NASSPD Membership, email:

Salome Vanwoerden, NASSPD Membership Chair 

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