David Philip Bernstein

David Philip Bernstein is Professor of Forensic Psychotherapy at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, an endowed chair jointly sponsored by Forensic Psychiatric Center ‘de Rooyse Wissel.’ His work is also supported by the Expertise Center for Forensic Psychiatry (EFP). At Maastricht University, David Bernstein leads the Forensic Psychology section, which is embedded within the department of Clinical Psychological Science. This section has an outstanding academic reputation and is internationally renowned for its research on psychology and law related topics and excellent teaching program, including the international Masters program in Forensic Psychology. David Bernstein has served as President of the Association for Research on Personality Disorders, Vice President of the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders and Vice President of the International Society for Schema Therapy.

Before coming to the Netherlands, David Bernstein had already conducted research on personality disorders for twenty years, in, for example, his position as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Fordham University, New York, where he was a co-director of the Forensic Psychology program.

David Bernstein was trained by Dr. Jeffrey Young and colleagues to be a Schema-focused Therapist, and has extensively supervised, given workshops, and written on Schema Therapy (ST), which is an integrative approach for personality disorders and treatment-resistant patients. In 2004, David Bernstein came to the Netherlands with the intention to conduct research on the effectiveness of ST in individuals with personality disorders. Around that time, research on the effectiveness of this therapy form was already being conducted by Arnoud Arntz, Josephine Giesen-Bloo, and colleagues, showing ST to be effective in treating (nonforensic) outpatients with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Because of a great need for better treatment for forensic patients (who often suffer from personality disorders, e.g., Antisocial Personality Disorder), David Bernstein and his colleagues adapted the ST approach to meet the challenges posed by this population (e.g., aggression and callousness). Subsequently, David Bernstein initiated a large randomized clinical trial (RCT) testing the effectiveness of ST in comparison to regular treatment (‘treatment as usual’) for forensic patients with cluster B personality disorders in seven ‘TBS’ institutions in the Netherlands: Forensic Psychiatric Clinics de Rooyse Wissel, van der Hoeven, Oostvaarders, Mesdag, Veldzicht, Kijvelanden, and FPK Assen. (In Dutch, TBS stands for ‘TerBeschikkingStelling,’ which may be translated as ‘placed at the disposal’ of the government in one of the specialized institutions for forensic psychiatric care).

David Bernstein’s major areas of research interest are personality disorders, psychological trauma, and forensic issues. His academic achievements include over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these topics, grants, invited presentations at international meetings, and service as a journal editor and reviewer. He is also author of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, a widely used self-report measure of child abuse and neglect. Recently, David Bernstein co-produced a DVD series on how to work with patients with different personality disorders using the ST approach, and functioned as Conference Co-Chair for the International Society of Schema Therapy Conference (New York, March 2012).