11h CPDConference

Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace Conference

Two-Day Conference for All Nurses

Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace Conference - Adelaide 2020


West Lakes
27 - 28 Feb 2020
The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide,
141 Brebner Drive

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Why Attend

Every day, nurses and other health professionals may be affected by people who exhibit pathological behaviours. This conference will enable you to consider practical solutions to this persistent area of stress and conflict. Topics include:

  • How to recognise gaslighting in the office
  • Why covert narcissism can be harder to recognise than other types of narcissism
  • The key to not taking “it” personally
  • How PTSD can stem from narcissistic abuse
  • Disarming stress at work to reduce toxic behaviour and much, much more…

Come along to this popular event – Book now!

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Janet Devlin

Understanding Personality Development

Negative behaviours, such as lying, manipulation and exploitation, are often a topic of conversation in a workplace environment. This session will look deeper into pathological behaviours and where it all begins. This opening session looks at personality development and includes:

  • What exactly are pathological behaviours and what are they not?
  • Who is more likely to act in a destructive way?
  • How can you identify when someone is acting in a pathological manner?
Janet Devlin

Pathological Lying: Symptom or Condition?

Everybody lies, but what if nearly everything that comes out of someone’s mouth is a lie? This session explores pathological lying – frequent and repeated lying during a prolonged period of time – and will discuss:

  • What is pathological lying?
  • What are the signs that someone is a pathological liar?
  • Is pathological lying connected to any mental health disorders?
  • What is pseudologia fantastica?
  • Should we be concerned if our colleague is a pathological liar, even if it doesn’t seem to impact their work?
11:00 Morning Tea

Linda Starr

Your Mandatory Obligations in the Workplace

The regulation of practice aims to mitigate a range of risks by providing a framework for safe, legal, professional, ethical and accountable practice. What happens when a person’s behaviour falls outside of this? What if we believe that public protection is placed in doubt because of the pathological behaviours of a health professional? ​What happens when no one listens to your concerns?

  • What are the ethical and legal responsibilities when someone’s behaviour becomes grossly unacceptable?
  • When does bad behaviour become notifiable conduct under the National Regulation Law?
  • What steps should you take in reporting bad behaviour?
  • What should you do when no one in the workplace listens to your concerns?
  • What protections exist for those who are reporting professional misconduct?
12:30 Lunch and Networking

Matt Kowald

When Bullies Operate Under the Radar

A considerable challenge for all staff is to deal with bullies who operate “under the radar”. The insidious nature of this type of highly destructive behaviour can be a management nightmare and affect morale because it is so difficult to detect. This session looks at:

  • How to create a zero-tolerance environment for gossip and poor group behaviours that ignores and isolates a person
  • Dealing with non-engagement, sulking and sabotage
  • Creating an inclusive environment and other strategies
Matt Kowald

Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries!

Too often, people in the workplace experience negative emotions as a result of incivility. This, clearly, can be destructive and lead to disengaged workplaces where no one benefits. Establishing and maintaining clear personal boundaries has proven to be an effective strategy for dealing with the unpredictable and unstable behaviours of others, including other staff. This session highlights:

  • How can personal boundaries protect you from manipulation?
  • How can you build and maintain boundaries that you are comfortable with?
  • What do you do when your boundaries are challenged?
3:00 Afternoon Tea

Linda Starr

Not Taking The Problem Home – Overcoming Worry and Anxiety

When a person or an incident gets “under your skin”, it can be a source of constant worry. This can distort your perceptions and make you unhappy and distressed. This session will look at the difference between worry and anxiety, and what you can do to avoid them and includes tips to stop taking work home in your head and waking up thinking of your workplace to-do list. Discuss:

  • What is the difference between worry, anxiety and moral distress?
  • How can you stop worrying?
  • What can you do to become less anxious?
  • How does our state of being impact on our decision-making ability?
  • Tips to stop taking your work home in your head and waking up thinking of your workplace to-do list
4:30 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Linda Starr

Playing God: When Narcissism Turns Deadly

Narcissistic people enjoy attention and, sometimes, they are willing to do anything to get it.​ These people may be great charmers and skilled bullies. This session looks at the deadly side of narcissism and includes:

  • Understanding the paradoxical dynamic of narcissism – a mixture of grandiosity and fragility
  • The warning signs that may indicate a person can potentially cause harm
  • What to do if your workmate is displaying behaviours that may endanger others
  • Why bullying behaviour in the workplace is dangerous
  • Protection for those subjected to narcissistic and bullying behaviour
Jill Beattie

Turning the Tables – A Trauma-Informed Approach to Colleagues

What’s wrong? Why are you acting that way? We can often quickly judge a colleague’s actions during a shift. However, there is often an underlying reason for why they might be acting a particular way. Understanding the impact of adverse childhood events and cumulative stressors later in life is essential if we are to create a safe environment that promotes resilience. This session will turn the tables and discuss the emotions of your colleagues. It includes:

  • How can adverse events impact the way someone is acting?
  • What are the effects of chronic stress and trauma?
  • What is a trauma-informed approach?
  • How can you incorporate a trauma-informed approach towards your colleagues?
11:00 Morning Tea

Ben Riley

Violence and Compassion in the Workplace

This session will encourage you to reflect on challenging behaviours that are sadly present within healthcare. Specifically, this session will focus on threatening communication in the workplace. As well, you will be encouraged to gain insight into why we react in certain ways to these behaviours. It considers:

  • Understanding the neurobiology of threatening communication, anxiety and fear
  • Why you react the way you do
  • The helpfulness of incorporating empathy and compassion into your approach to managing these behaviours
12:30 Lunch and Networking

Ben Riley

Disarm Stress at Work to Reduce Toxic Behaviour

Where does toxic behaviour in the workplace come from? Is it simply that people behave poorly at times, or is there something underlying this behaviour? Almost half of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and almost all of us experience stress. In this session, you will:

  • Learn the relationship between stress and toxic behaviour
  • Create awareness around your own relationship with stress
  • Understand the link between stress and blame, bias, judgement and ego
  • The power of mindfulness to reduce stress, improve resilience and increase clarity
  • Gain the skills to remain calm and to diffuse toxic behaviour at work
Kathleen Mansfield

Wicked Games: Covert Narcissism

Of the different types of narcissists, covert narcissists are the hardest to spot. Often referred to as closet narcissists, they may come across as the opposite of a narcissist, only to show their true colours in the end. This session will discuss:

  • What are the signs that someone is a covert narcissist?
  • Can covert narcissists change for the better?
  • How can we handle covert narcissists in our workplaces?
  • What are harm minimisation approaches, and how can this be useful when dealing with a covert narcissist?
3:15 Afternoon Tea

Kathleen Mansfield

The Power of Positive Psychology

Positivity affects perceptions, attitudes and expectations. Positive emotions have been shown to increase feelings of energy, help you cope with adversity and feel more optimistic about life. Constructing positive mindsets in the face of challenging situations at work – and at home – can aid us to flourish. This final session includes:

  • What is meant by “positive psychology”?
  • Is a positive attitude an innate or learned behaviour?
  • How can a positive attitude be integrated into day-to-day stressful work environments?
4:30 Close of Conference and Evaluations

The Goal

Need for Program

Pathological behaviours are disruptive and can impact on patient and staff safety. However, not all unpleasant behaviours are pathological. The term is used to explain a raft of bad behaviours, including lying, manipulation, and exploitation. Understanding different behaviours will assist those who are at the receiving end and those who may not have identified these behaviours within themselves. In addition, it will ensure that workplace productivity and patient outcomes are not undermined by petulant and self-serving attitudes.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is for nurses and other health professionals to identify and manage destructive interpersonal and organisational relationships that can be termed pathological.

Your learning outcomes:

Use emotional intelligence to identify and respond effectively to pathological behaviours in the workplace
Minimise the impact of highly destructive behaviours in the workplace
Establish clear personal boundaries and maintain them to diminish the effect of manipulative behaviours
Develop strategies to encourage healthy work practices that enhance best patient outcomes


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Kathleen Mansfield

Kathleen is a clinical psychologist who provides individual therapy for adults with borderline personality disorder, focusing on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). She also provides individual therapy for adults with a range of other issues and mental health concerns. Read More

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Janet Devlin

Janet Devlin is a mental health unit manager at Summit Health. She is a psychologist, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, scientist and journalist. JJanet's work has included mostly trauma-based clinical (child, youth and adult), research and management work, leading multidisciplinary teams in rural and remote Australia, New Zealand and off-shore, most recently with refugees. She lectured and conducted research as UniSA Mental Health Academic, as well as at other tertiary institutions. She enjoys teaching, coaching, and building capacity and resilience through social justice – promoting health literacy and timely and equitable access to services. She has extensive experience in a diverse range of public, private and third sectors, including people, policy, project and programme development, management and evaluation, working collaboratively and productively with internal and external stakeholders towards common goals. She has knowledge and skills in organisation analysis, strategic planning, and corporate and clinical governance, including recruitment, performance, risk and change management, quality activity and accreditation. She thrives on problem-solving and is motivated by new challenges. Read More

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Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in general, mental health nursing, law, education and a PhD in legal issues in elder abuse. Linda has extensive experience as an RN in metropolitan and rural locations, in general nursing, mental health, forensic health, aged care and management. She has held senior positions in academia, including the dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Linda has publications in health law and forensic health issues. Linda is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and a consultant educator in health law and ethics for nurses, midwives and carers. She is chair of the SA Board of Nursing and Midwifery, fellow of the College of Nursing Australia, foundation president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association, member on the School of Health Academic Advisory Board for Open Colleges and the international member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing. Read More

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Jill Beattie

Dr Jill Beattie is a senior research fellow at Monash University, Victoria. Jill is also a mindfulness-based emotional fitness consultant in her performance enhancement consultancy, providing education and consultancy services for organisations and groups, including health services staff, pregnant women and partners of defence force personnel. Individual services are also provided for people with stress, trauma, anxiety and depression. Jill has a background and qualifications in nursing, midwifery, education, management, research and clinical practice. In addition to mindfulness-based experiential learning and practice, Jill’s most recent area of research and teaching has been in workplace violence and aggression and emotional trauma. Read More

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Ben Riley

Ben Riley has a background in mental health social work and currently works as a senior cognitive behaviour therapist at the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service in South Australia. He is an associate lecturer with the Mental Health Sciences Program at Flinders University and regularly presents lectures and facilitates workshops on cognitive behaviour therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He is a current PhD candidate at Flinders University and his research interests include cognitive behaviour therapy, problem gambling and its impact on families Read More

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Matt Kowald

Matt Kowald is a registered nurse with 20 years’ experience and a passion for aged care, which he has demonstrated throughout his diverse career. He has worked in clinical and management roles in emergency departments, community care, rural health and aged care. Matt has completed a Master of Clinical Science through the Joanna Briggs Institute and the University of Adelaide, looking at the effectiveness and appropriateness in the management of BPSD in residential aged care. Currently, he is the general manager of residential care and innovation at Barossa Village, a 100 bed aged care facility located in Nuriootpa, South Australia. In this facility, he is involved in various research projects, looking at different aspects of aged care and improving outcomes for residents. Read More


27 - 28 Feb 2020


The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide
141 Brebner Drive
West Lakes SA,5021


$629.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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