By | March 16, 2015 19 Comments

Lovefraud Continuing Education seeks psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors to share what you know about personality disorders

Counselor and clientLovefraud is launching a new initiative an online continuing education program for mental health professionals.

The goal is to teach psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors how to recognize when clients are involved with personality disordered individuals, and the best practices for helping them.

Virtually no academic training is currently available on this topic. So unfortunately, when clients come in whose mental health issues are actually being caused by their involvement with a disordered partner, family member or associate, many counselors are not trained to recognize it.

The counselors who do understand what is going on have often learned the hard way usually by being targeted themselves.

If you’re a mental health professional and you’ve done research or developed techniques to help clients who’ve been exploited by disordered individuals, Lovefraud wants to hear from you.

Learning objectives

Lovefraud is planning a program to offer online courses for which counselors will earn continuing education credits. Counselors will learn how to:

  • Explain the most current neurobiological, genetic and psychosocial research regarding personality disorders
  • Identify possible DSM-5 traits of antisocial, narcissistic, or other personality disorders in client descriptions of exploitation experiences with someone close to them.
  • Detect client psychological disorders occurring in the context of manipulation and/or abuse by a personality disordered individual.
  • Explain the techniques disordered individuals use to seduce, manipulate and destabilize intimate partners.
  • Recognize when personality disordered individuals are engaging in manipulative behavior directed toward mental health providers.
  • Select the best treatment options for clients who are involved with personality disordered individuals.
  • Use best practices to help clients recover from exploitation and emotional abuse.

If you’d like to share what you know, there are two ways to get involved with Lovefraud Continuing Education joining the Program Committee or becoming an instructor. You can do both if you like.

Monetary compensation will be offered for both levels of involvement.

Program Committee

Accrediting organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, require that mental health professionals be involved with the decision-making and planning for any programs that offer continuing education credit.

The Lovefraud Continuing Education Program Committee will set goals and objectives, and will review and approve courses proposed by instructors. Lovefraud is especially looking for mental health professionals with academic, research or publication experience to join the committee.

So far, the members are:

Liane J. Leedom, M.D. — Dr. Leedom is a psychiatrist and associate professor of counseling and psychology at the University of Bridgeport. She is the author of numerous scientific papers and also the book, Just Like His Father? A Guide to Overcoming Your Child’s Genetic Connection to Antisocial Behavior, Addiction and ADHD.

Monique A. Belton, Ph.D. — Dr. Belton holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University and is a licensed psychologist in private practice. She is also an executive coach and relationship coach. Dr. Belton co authored The Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love.

Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW — Ms. Glynn is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice, certified in EMDR and hypnotherapy. She has developed therapy protocols to help partners in exploitative relationships. Ms. Glynn also created the Mind Warrior computer app to help clients use mindfulness to overcome PTSD triggers.

Amber Ault, Ph.D., MSW, APSW Dr. Ault is a psychology and sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin. She also practices as a therapist at the Madison Mental Health Services and Training Institute. She has written numerous scholarly articles and has just published a book, The Wise Lesbian Guide to Getting Free from Crazy Making Relationships.

James Sullivan, Ph.D., LPC, NCCFC, ACS, NAFC  — Dr. Sullivan holds four masters degrees and a doctorate from Fordham University. He is director of the Center for the Family in Brookfield, Connecticut, and has offered psychotherapy for children and adults for 45 years.

Karen E. Engebretsen-Stopczynski, Psy.D. DABPS, DNBAE, DAPA, FACAPP, FAAIM, DAC, CHT — Dr. Engebretsen-Stopczynski is a Florida licensed clinical psychologist and Board Certified Sex Therapist. She is author of Dr. Karen’s Marriage Repair Kit and Couple’s Affirmation Book.

Course instructors

The second way to become involved with Lovefraud Continuing Education is to be an instructor.

If you’ve developed a protocol or program related to personality disorders, or people who have been exploited by individuals with personality disorders, you are invited to share your expertise by presenting a course or workshop.

All of Lovefraud’s courses will be presented online. We’ll be using a very sophisticated webinar platform, so multiple presentation options are available.

Narrated PowerPoint presentations — You prepare a PowerPoint presentation for your course. During the live webinar, you talk through the information you want to convey while clicking the PowerPoint slides.

Pre-recorded videos — If you are presenting a live seminar or workshop, you can have your presentation videotaped. The video will then be posted online. If you use PowerPoint slides during your live workshop, they can be incorporated.

Webcast — If you are presenting a live seminar or workshop, the event can be streamed live online.

All Lovefraud online courses will be either one hour or two hours long. If your workshop is longer, it will be broken up into one- or two-hour modules.

After the initial presentation, recordings of all Lovefraud courses will be  available on demand. People will be able to sign up and take the courses whenever they want.

Psycho-education for the public

Along with continuing education for mental health professionals, Lovefraud will also offer online psycho-education for anyone who wants to learn how to spot sociopaths and how to recover. So along with professional education, you can also develop courses for the general public.

Lovefraud Continuing Education will address the massive gap in understanding in the mental health field about personality disorders, and how disordered individuals damage other people.

If you want to move the mental health profession forward by sharing your expertise, please contact Donna Andersen at [email protected].



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This is wonderful news! I will pass this information on to a few folks I know who might be interested…

I know from personal experience that many mental health professionals don’t actually “get it” about these predators. I learned that the hard way.

I hope lots of folks will get involved with this.
Thanks for your continued work in supporting those of us who have experienced the nightmare of abuse by these people, training young people to know the red flags to watch for, and for your wise efforts in training more mental health professionals.

Thanks for all you do!!


Great idea, Donna!

I’m going to try to dig up some names of experts I found earlier. They should be expert at recognizing the behavior of personality disordered people, though they do it because they treat the PD person. One in particular uses a short-term, intensive form of psychodynamic therapy to quickly differentially diagnose people who may have PDs. My interest was in experts in NPD at the time.


I sent you an email with the names of those I recommend.


Donna, just incredible!! Reading this brings tears to my eyes.

I sat in our first marriage counselors office the first day when she spoke with us separately for 10 mins and told her that he (my then h) had no remorse, no guilt ever, blamed everyone else, cheated, lied continuously etc etc when she asked me what were the major issues with our marriage. Never did she tell me that those are traits of a sociopath. I listed literally all of them.

I was desperate for help and she did not help me one bit but instead when I told her & my h (now ex) in a session that I wanted a divorce I was done with his manipulation & lies she told me to wait. WHAT?? I stayed another 7 years in hell. We went to two more counselors on my request because this one did nothing to help any issues. The second one we went to once she was a complete nut job and the third was towards the end of the marriage I told him something was not right with my h, never did he ask me if I was being abused nor explained what emotional & mental abuse was. Instead my h manipulated the counselor into believe his crazy lies.

It was not until I literally crawled out of hell and packed the car up then drove across country to a safe place did I find out the truth from a counselor that I was married to a psychopath. Honestly looking back it makes me so mad that I was reaching out for help and there was zero help from these so called professional counselors.

Thank you for doing this Donna because this is the only way to get the word out and to help so many victims out for their hell that they are still living in.

I think another place that would help would be for you to have some type of continual education program for female gyn doctors. Each time you go they ask “has someone hit you” but they never ask or explain what emotional/mental abuse is or give you a list of question that would indicate you are being abused with gas lighting abuse etc. Maybe this is another area you could do your continue education program?? The gyn office sees women at least once a year so these doctors need to be educated on how to truly spot domestic abuse.

One thing that would have helped me Donna is if a counselor would have handed me a list of these questions from Dr Robin Sterns book The Gas lighting Effect (she has a article on the subject on Psychologytoday. com) so maybe you can incorporate her questions into your program:

How do you know if you are being gaslighted? If any of the following warning signs ring true, you may be dancing the Gaslight Tango. Take care of yourself by taking another look at your relationship, talking to a trusted friend; and, begin to think about changing the dynamic of your relationship . Here are the signs:
1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
4. You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
5. You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
14. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

Even better have them posted on their site or have a link to your wonderful site on the GYN doctors sites.

Thank you for all of your hard work Donna (& Terry)…you are truly saving victims…very powerful!!


Thank you for this list. I happen to fit all 15 of them. Husband is a narcissist with a ‘rat’s nest’ for a brain.

My family of origin all have ‘rat’s nest’ for brains. It is freaking everywhere.

It is time for me to feel superior to them…instead of the other way around.


Barb, your welcome. I think that list is one of the most powerful tools for a counselor to figure out if a client sitting in front of them is being abused. If a abuser is using gas lighting abuse he is pure evil and either a narcissist or a sociopath narcissist. And that list can literally give a counselor the answer within mins.

Had any counselor handed me the list I too Barb would have said YES to all 15.

I personally do not think most counselors are educated on what emotional & mental abuse is and how to spot a victim of this type of abuse. Nor are they educated on the fact that most domestic abuse is emotional & mental not physical.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 people 75% men are narcissist & 1 in 25 people mainly men are sociopaths so yes they are “everywhere”.

Stanley Yelnats

Thank you for doing this Donna!! There is a very big need for something like this in the counseling world, and I hope this this will be a big success! How many therapists are so clueless to what these people are, and to how they operate? Far too many today, but perhaps you will make a positive impact!

Thank you again!


I think this is an excellent idea! Along with what Jan7 commented, I too had visited THREE different therapists with my “soon to be EX” husband.

The first two therapists were females, and fell for his good humor, his sweetness and good-looks. Not one of them heard ME. He lied, he cheated, he was verbally and emotionally abusive. Nothing I did was good enough. One therapist we saw for Marriage Counseling, after only two sessions, then saw him ALONE for 13!! When I question this she had the audacity to be patronizing to me by saying “oh, bad therapist!” when I questioned how she could possibly do “marriage counseling” with only ONE spouse, she said she frequently did this. My question then was how could she possibly know the full dynamics of the relationship when she was only getting one side? duh! Needless to say these two female therapists were soon history.

To his credit, the third counselor we saw was right on. He had an MSW and was direct. He truly understood what was happening. He soon learned that my husband was lying to him as well when I told him about things that my husband had done. Needless to say, my husband was furious! As with most sociopaths, they really cannot benefit from “counseling.” When the therapist got too close to the real issues, my husband literally yelled and bolted from the office, never to return. I got the look from the therapist: you’re in for it on your own: good luck.

Fortunately, I am a very strong person. There were times when I felt so alone, no where to turn for help; friends had difficulty understanding as his persona in front of others was and is a façade. Being in the field of counseling, (I’m a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor) I had numerous trainings in Personality Disorders and in fact, spoke with one of the instructors about how I should handle things. She gave some advice, but the underlying message was, nothing I do will truly work. She was right.

Therapists need more intensive training in the area of personality disorders. I know it is hard to give this Axis II diagnosis as one must be seen “over time” to do so. Because the nature of the PD is one of falsehoods, manipulation and cunning,is it any surprise the diagnosis is so difficult? Therapist need to HEAR (with the “third ear”) what the “abused” partner in the relationship is saying. They need to “push buttons” to be able to see a Knee Jerk reaction from the individual with a PD to truly “see” what’s going on inside their heads. I am a firm believer, when the person with PD says things in anger or in jest………many a truth is revealed. Please keep me posted and I truly hope this comes to fruition!


Very well said, Debra! Thank you.

Read my post below…I have a history of dealing with inadequate therapists. The women therapists you describe fell for the Alpha Male syndrome…how horrible for you.

My ‘worst’ therapist may have meant well when he called my parents into therapy (in a sneaky back-door way). My brother had been seeing him as well (but I arranged for that). After promising he would never see my parents without my consent, he arranged to have them in his office with the pretense that it was ‘for my brother’. I confronted my brother and he denied ever approving of that.

Needless to say, I confronted the therapist and reminded him that he said he would never do that…and he said, “To you! I never said I would do it to you!” and I told him my brother denied ever wanting our parents in there (when you think about it, who would?) They were the problem to begin with…

I told him what a sneak he was, but unfortunately I was too ‘under the radar’ of therapy and did not have the strength to leave him. HIPAA laws would have gotten this guy out of the business of counseling…he would have been criminally charged in today’s world but this happened in 1979. The bastard got away with it.


We truly need this as there is a plethora of ‘bad’ counselors out there. Every one I saw was limited (but that was decades ago before we really knew about personality disorders…at least publicly).

Some of them busted their humps to help me (but one was unethical and it floored me…to this day). He pulled some really bad stunts. In today’s world of HIPAA, this guy would have been crucified…but he got away with it.

I read that ANY counselor who makes you feel weird or pushes your buttons is not ready/or should never be a counselor. That makes sense.

With the exception of one, every counselor I saw messed up by making fun of me or not understanding who I truly was…


Hear hear Debra!! I concur completely!!
Axis 2 diagnosis ARE hard. Both because clients need to be seen over a period of time to be able to earn that label and because of a lack of real training in diagnosis and work with personality disorders. The other real problem is that most insurance companies and EAP programs will not reimburse for a primary Axis 2 diagnosis. Training and know how are priceless for professionals.
I would even say that a personal recovery journey for me as a professional has aided and strengthened my work.
Donna God Bless you for the work you do!! For me this site has been a life savior!!


Barb, Your experience urges me to write about this… Most professional boards require training in ethics as part of the CEU program. If anyone experiences unethical behavior from licensed professionals I would urge that they contact the licensing board or the State authority. Unethical professionals in mental health can be damaging in ways that are so very primal. Most people who enter the field are caring individuals who want to help. Unfortunately there is a real lack of training and awareness about personality disorders. And….there are always some rotten apples in the barrel!


I wrote to the State authority to report the counselor that worked with me an my psychopath ex. Nothing came of it. I’m sure they simply thought I was crazy.

The entire experience of having an authority figure (the counselor) used as a weapon by the psychopath is a near-universal experience.

I remember having the though that it was almost as if the male heterosexual psychologist had a crush on my male heterosexual psychopath partner.

The counselor was clearly enamored, wrapped around his little finger, gazing at my ex with stars in his eyes, hanging on his every word… it was nauseating.


so sorry that your complaint was not heard…those critters are the duping experts!!!
Most of the time counselors and therapists are not inept. They are as susceptible to being duped as the next person. Training helps but…
If your complaint to the State authorities involved an ethical violation then I am appalled!!! If it was not an ethics violation then I do believe that boards are placed between a rock and a hard place….not every therapist is the right one for every client….and they cannot censure professionals for being duped and lied to.
It is only additional training that will help.
And the awareness, that these dynamics exist and that we as professionals need to be super vigilant.


As someone who suffered at the hands of a narcissistic father and working on a Masters in Psychology, I have to say, this is an excellent idea.


Counselors are USELESS. They aren’t trained to identify or deal with a sociopath and their ignorance is damaging. Especially to the children they are trying to help. In my particular case they insist on believing the concocted stories of an obvious sociopath. They have been presented with a staggering amount of evidence including a judgment by a family court judge (that’s a supreme court judge… the highest court in the land) in which the individual was described as(and I am quoting… ): “The defendant is amoral. He is deceitful. He is bullying and arrogant.” There’s 30 pages of that, backed up with sworn proof. GEEEZE…!!! Yup, these veteran child counselors trust every word from this guy and do their best to block contact between the kids and their alienated father, including appearing in court and lying … Again absolutely USELESS! Why aren’t they trained in dealing with Anti social Personality Disorders…. S o C I O p A t H s!!


Thank you!
I certainly hope that mental health professionals will jump on this.
Help is sorely needed.

Bravo to Donna for recognizing this need and creating this initiative! The value to society is immeasurable!

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