Personality and Trauma Response – workshop one

About the workshop

The Personality and Trauma Response workshop took place in September 2022 at Portsmouth Central Library. 26 people attended, including people with lived experience, carers and professionals.

The main aims of the workshop were to:

  • Name the project
  • Understand what has been helpful for people’s recovery – learning what made this positive and how it could be improved
  • Understand what people would change about their experience

Naming the project

As a group, it was decided that the project would be called ‘Personality and Trauma response’. The group wanted to create a name that was recognisable, functional and not insulting.

Some of the national work calls this a ‘Personality Disorder Pathway’ but many people found this name unhelpful.

Understanding what has been helpful for people’s recovery – learning what made this positive and how it could be improved

The group focused on answering three key questions, and a summary of the key points from conversations can be found below.

What has been helpful for your recovery?

  • A range of treatment options such as talking therapies, group work and medication.
  • Community mental health support services including NHS services and those provided by the voluntary care sector.
  • A range of social and community activities.
  • Education and training.
  • Supportive trusting relationships – friends, family and professionals.

What made this positive?

  • Having different options available to make contact and receive support e.g., telephone, online, face-to-face, ability to refer yourself to a service.
  • Having a choice of different treatment options available
  • Working with professionals/services to develop my support plan and have control over my support, making sure that I am kept up to date with any changes relevant to my support with good communication.
  • To be treated with compassion and empathy from professionals and services in a non-judgemental way.
  • Receiving consistent support with support plans being shared across different services.

What could be improved?

  • Long waiting lists to receive treatment/support from services.
  • Strict criteria to receive support from certain services.
  • Some services have limited options available to receive support. For example, only allowing telephone contact, having limited opening times, or only located in one area of the city.
  • Inconsistent approach across support services and professionals with a lack of communication between services.
  • Lack of training and supervision for staff, increasing the risk of burnout.
  • Limited specialist support available e.g., services for complex trauma.

Understanding what people would change about their experience

The final conversations were around what people would change about their experience in an ideal world. A summary of the key points discussed can be found below.

  • Education and training – improving understanding and attitudes within the community, including community services and professionals, and increasing the knowledge of support available.
  • Approach and values – all services to be inclusive and to respect individual diversities. Services must make sure to listen to individuals and treat them with respect and empathy. This will create a safe and supportive space where individuals feel comfortable to ‘say how they feel’.
  • Access – offering flexible options to engage with services (e.g., remotely or in person) and ability to access support at different times of the day. Services should have varied locations to cover the whole city with the ability to meet people in their communities. They should have one assessment and stop individuals having to repeat their story and offer support with connecting individuals to different services.
  • Increased choice of care and support within the community – range of social activities, choice of short-term residential options, free/subsidised medication, ability to access support early, ability to access medication as needed from the GP, post therapy community support.
  • Additional social support available – access to housing, help with debt, free food and drink, support with self-care.
  • Additional specialist support services within the community – complex trauma specialist service, walk-in crisis support service, pet therapy, assertive outreach service.
  • Support for staff and improved working environments.

If you would like more detailed information about this workshop, please contact

Next steps

The project group will review the feedback and use it to form the basis for discussion at the next workshop on 18 December 2022.

If you would like to take part in any of our workshops, visit our Improving Mental Health webpage to learn more.