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Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace Conference

  • : Adelaide SA 5000

Pathological behaviours are complex and can have devastating consequences if left unrecognised and unmanaged. This conference will enable you to consider practical solutions to this persistent area of stress and conflict. Topics include:

  • Destructive leadership – when toxic behaviours originate at the top…
  • Bullying as a pathological behaviour
  • Why pathological people "get under your skin"
  • Tips on “calling out” manipulative behaviours
  • Building awareness, trust, and resilience
  • The power of positive psychology and much, much more…

Come along to this popular event – Book now!


Schedule Day One



Dr Linda Starr

Workplace Incivility and How Not to Take "it" Personally

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. The establishing and maintaining of clear personal boundaries has proven to be an effective strategy in 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 can you do when your boundaries are challenged?


Dr Andrew Crowther

Exploring Destructive Behaviour

Understanding why people act the way they do is enlightening when looking at people whose behaviour is highly disruptive and falls out of the “norm”. This insight is crucial to not only recognising these behaviours but also in accepting that the behaviours might persist. In this session, we will explore the drivers behind these pathological behaviours. It includes:

  • What exactly are pathological behaviours and what are they not?
  • Is bullying a pathological behaviour?
  • What makes pathological people so destructive?
  • Can you stop them "getting under your skin"?
  • Can people really change the way they behave?



Dr Andrew Crowther

Destructive Leadership – Toxic Behaviours from the Top

What happens when pathological behaviours are originating from a respected leader within the organisation? How does a destructive leader arrive in a position of power and what can you do about it? This session focuses on:

  • What are the traits of a destructive leader?
  • Are certain environments more conducive?
  • Why are these leaders so influential?
  • What are the best management strategies for these behaviours?


Michelle Girdler

Above All – Honouring the Patient

Working closely and constructively with our colleagues enables provision of the highest quality care, ensuring best outcomes for our patients. It is possible to overcome self-serving behaviours and their impact on patient care, which is essential in the modern workplace. Doing this will encourage you to consider how developing a transformative and patient-centred culture can cut through all other noise. It includes:

  • Why do we need a laser-sharp focus on the patient?
  • How does this focus affect the team around us?
  • What are practical and innovative ways to develop such an approach?
  • What are the key ingredients for cultural transformation? What you can do personally…



Norah Bostock

The Smiling Assassin

Pathological behaviours in healthcare settings are harsh, habitual, and excessive ways of behaving towards staff, patients, clients, and their families. While many pathological behaviours are overt and easy to identify, it is the insidious passive-aggressive behaviours that are often more covert and challenging. This session uses case studies to:

  • Review a range of situations where vicious intent comes across as being virtuous
  • Demonstrate how to identify the mask that conceals passive-aggressive behaviours and what to do about it!



Norah Bostock

Staff Splitting – A Fast Road to Conflict?

Staff splitting can occur in any workplace setting. Whatever the reason and whoever is involved, staff need to be aware of its highly divisive and disruptive consequences. This session looks at this destructive behaviour and includes:

  • What happens when staff splitting occurs?
  • Why is staff splitting highly contagious in the workplace?
  • Why do staff splitters generally have “high conflict” personalities?
  • How can you overcome this pathological behaviour?


Day Two



Norah Bostock

Trust - Difficult to Establish, but Essential to Maintain

Trust between professionals reflects a recognition and respect for each other's roles. It is a necessary aspect of effective interprofessional collaboration. Trust means you have faith in another person’s beliefs or actions. In workplaces where destructive behaviours may exists, establishing and maintaining trust with the right people is essential and can prove incredibly valuable. Includes:

  • What is trust and how does it operate in your work environment?
  • What builds and what breaks trust?
  • Is it possible to repaire broken trust?
  • What ios the relationship between frogiveness, trust and reslilience?


Matt Kowald

Positive, Patient-Centred Culture

We have all been in a situation with a patient that has left us feeling deflated. But without them we would not have a job. How do you create a culture that makes the patient the centre of what we do, and have people feeling good about the work they do. This session uses case studies to look at:

  • What does it mean to create a Positive, Patient-Centred Culture?
  • How can deflated feelings cause compassion fatigue?
  • How can you ensure you feel good when leaving work?



Matt Kowlad

Managing Hostility and Conflict

Working with pathological people often results in continued conflict. This is likely to be detrimental to health, wellbeing and patient or client outcomes. Clear communication when faced with hostility and a calm head can help YOU manage conflict better. This interactive session looks at:

  • Is it ever possible to avoid conflict with destructive personalities?
  • Attack or defend? Working out your stance in a conflictual situation
  • Communication is key – when do you defuse and when do you engage?
  • What about body language?
  • How can you manage your emotions in a conflictual situation?



Dr Jill Beattie

Using Emotional Intelligence to Manage Our Own Beahviours

Successfully managing the pathological behaviours of others requires a strong awareness of self and where our nervous system is on the defence cascade. Understanding and developing emotional intelligence will increase our ability to gain insight and reflect on our own behaviour. This challenging session will encourage you to reflect on the following:

  • Where are you on the defence cascade and why does it matter?
  • What is emotional intelligence and how is it related to mindfullness?
  • What does it mean to get comfortable with being uncomfortable?


Dr Jill Beattie

Using Social and Emotional Intelligence to Manage Our Own Behaviours

Understanding our own behaviour assists us to tackle the divisive behaviours of others. Sharing and examining the observed ‘facts’ or evidence (debriefing) is a powerful tool used regularly by nurses to assist in dealing with the disturbing or unhelpful behaviours of other. In this session we look at:

  • Can we really 'manage' the pathological behaviours of others, or is it an illusion?
  • What is wrong with them, verses what has happened to them?
  • Right preperation, right actions, practical tips



Dr Jill Beattie

Thriving at Work

When we experience pathological behaviours at work it is a challenge to focus on healthy behaviours. When we accept ‘what is’, we acknowledge that not everything is within our control. When we commit to actioning on those things that are within our control, including care of ourselves, we can influence change. Constructing health and helpful mindsets in the face of challenging situations at work, and at home, can increase our ability to thrive in the face of adversity. This final session includes:

  • What is within our control, and what is not?
  • What would happen if we really cared for ourselves?
  • The release with quick fixes, and the wellbeing with essential self-care


The Goal Need for Program

Pathological behaviours are the subject of endless discussions in the workplace. The term is used to explain a raft of bad behaviours, including lying, manipulation, and exploitation. Understanding their implications 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 midwives to be able to identify and understand the destructive interpersonal and organisational relationships that adversely affect them and their patients in the workplace, as well as to consider strategies to overcome such pathological behaviours.

Your learning outcomes:

Use emotional intelligence to identify and respond effectively to pathological behaviours in the workplace

Enhance personal resilience to minimise the impact of the highly destructive behaviours of others on the self

Establish clear personal boundaries and maintain them to diminish the effect of manipulative behaviours

Initiate a positive, patient-centred culture that will decrease the impact of self-serving behaviours on workplace productivity


Jill Beattie

Jill Beattie

Dr Jill Beattie is a senior research fellow at Monash University, Victoria. Jill is also a mindfulness-based emotional fitness consultant ... Read More

Norah Bostock

Norah Bostock

Norah Bostock is a highly qualified clinician and educator working in private practice in South Australia. Norah draws her considerable ... Read More

Andrew Crowther

Andrew Crowther

Dr Andrew Crowther is adjunct associate professor in nursing and the former associate head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery ...Read More

Michelle Girdler

Michelle Girdler

Michelle is currently the nursing director for practice development in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, SA. She has been ...Read More

Matt Kowald

Matt Kowald

Matt Kowald is a Registered Nurse with 20 years’ experience and a passion for aged care, which he has demonstrated ... Read More

Linda Starr

Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr is a general and mental health qualified nurse, lawyer, and associate professor in the School of Nursing ... Read More

Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace Conference
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Interest Areas / Topics Covered
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11 Hours | 15 Mins
Start Date
End Date
11 Hours | 15 Mins
Adelaide SA 5000
West Lakes The Lakes Resort Hotel Adelaide, 141 Brebner Drive
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