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Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace

  • : Brisbane QLD 4001


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

  • What are the consequences of pathological behaviours on patient outcomes?
  • Why self-reflection is key to developing your emotional intelligence
  • How to deal with passive aggression - the silent intimidator!
  • Communicating calmly during conflict
  • Setting and maintaining healthy personal boundaries
  • How to debrief constructively and much, much more…

Come along to this popular event - Book now!


 Print Schedule

Day One



Karen-Ann Clarke

Bad Things Happen when Good People do Nothing!

Most people can give examples of working with someone whose behaviour was considered extreme or unacceptable. Invariably, such behaviours cause stress and turmoil in the workplace. This introductory session sets the scene for the conference and reviews the concept of pathological behaviour. Includes:

  • What exactly are pathological behaviours and what are they not?
  • A product of our environment? What is it about nursing?
  • How does pathological behaviour affect productivity, team morale and staff attrition?
  • How might patient outcomes be impacted upon if nothing is done?


Dr Peter O'Connor

Anatomy of Destructive Human 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 comfortably and calming accepting that pathological people may always be pathological. Includes:

  • Destructive versus Constructive behaviours
  • What drives our behaviours as humans and what motivates us to ‘stay in check’?
  • Program malfunction - can people really change the way they behave?



Karen-Ann Clarke

The Smiling Assassin

Pathological behaviours in healthcare settings are harsh, habitual and excessive ways of behaving toward 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 more covert and often challenging. This session:

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


Karen-Ann Clarke

Superficially Charismatic with Callous Disregard

There are a raft of behaviours that cause a feeling of unease and frustration in the workplace. There may be a sense that a person is ‘getting under your skin’. Sometimes these behaviours are particularly damaging. This session will help you to understand personality disorders as a potential cause of workplace disruption and offers practical strategies to counter the consequences of this condition. Includes:

  • What are the characteristics of personality disorder?
  • How to work with people who rely on manipulative behaviours such as flattery and insincerities to win favour
  • Tips on ‘calling out’ and communicating manipulative behaviour



Karen-Ann Clarke

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?



Andrew Blythe

The Patient at the Centre of Care

Currently, there is a shift away from health practitioner locus of control to the patient. This demands increasing professional accountability and greater transparency for health care actions. At the heart of this is how we can work closely with our colleagues to provide the highest quality care that improves patient outcomes. This session final session of day one will encourage you to consider how developing a patient-centred culture can reduce conflict.


Day Two



Dean King

May The Force Be With YOU - Build Your Personal Resilience

Personal resilience is an incredible foundation to fall back on. Increasing personal resilience is a strategy for surviving and thriving in the face of workplace adversity. This session will explore:

  • How can neuroplasticity help us understand resilience?
  • What impact do our belief and value systems play in staying resilient?
  • 7 techniques to building resilience


Dean King

As Cool as a Cucumber - Dealing with Conflict Comfortably

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 to defuse and when to engage
  • What about body language?
  • Knowing what makes my emotions get out of control in a conflictual situation



Chris Leary

Bullet Proof - Maintaining Clear Boundaries

Establishing and maintaining clear personal boundaries have proven to long be effective strategies in dealing with unpredictable and unstable behaviours of others, including staff and patients/clients. This session will draw upon experience of working in an area of nursing that demands incredibly well defined boundaries - people with a primary mental illness in prisons - to highlight:

  • How personal boundaries necessary can protect you from manipulation
  • A point of differentiation - building and maintaining boundaries you are comfortable with
  • What to do when your boundaries are challenged


Veronica Mercer

First, Thyself - Time to Reflect on YOU

Successfully managing the pathological behaviours of others requires a strong awareness of self. The ability to reflect on your own behaviour will empower you to build self-esteem and emotional intelligence to then tackle the divisive behaviours of others. This challenging session will encourage you to reflect on the following:

  • The standard we set is the standard that’s followed - why my behaviour matters
  • What motivates me to behave in the way I do?
  • How am I perceiving the behaviours of others?
  • What is the relationship between emotional intelligence and perception?



Veronica Mercer

Using Emotional Intelligence to Constructively Debrief

Debrief is a powerful tool used regularly by nurses to assist in dealing with disturbing or unhelpful behaviours of others. Without emotional intelligence, there is a tendency for emotions to spill over and the debrief to become deconstructive. This highly interactive session will invite participants to come together and debrief on a range of selected, shared scenarios which every nurse is sure to be able to relate to. Come away knowing how you can use your emotional intelligence to constructively debrief.



Elizabeth Dolan

Surviving and Thriving in Nursing Today

Nursing is currently in a state of profound flux which is going to require strong and resilient leadership if it is to progress successfully as a profession. This session looks at how nursing can not only survive but thrive amongst this time of volatility and uncertainty. Includes:

  • Why are so many nurses choosing to remain in nursing?
  • Why do some nurses not only survive but even thrive despite a climate of workplace adversity?
  • Self-care and how you can look out for your colleagues


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 is 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 destructive interpersonal and organisational relationships which adversely affect them and their workplace, and to consider strategies to overcome such pathological behaviours.

Your learning outcomes:

Emotional intelligence will be used to identify and respond effectively to pathological behaviours in the workplace

Personal resilience will be enhanced to minimise the impact of highly destructive behaviours of others on self

Clear personal boundaries will be established and maintained to diminish effect of manipulative behaviours

A positive, patient-centred culture that decreases the impact of self-serving behaviours on workplace productivity will be initiated


Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke

Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered General and Mental Health Nurse. She has a Master's degree in Mental Health Nursing and ... Read More

Andrew  Blythe

Andrew Blythe

Andrew Blythe is a writer and editor who has a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of ... Read More

Dean King

Dean King

Dean King is a highly qualified healthcare professional with over 28 years of industry experience. He specialises in communication engagement ... Read More

Veronica Mercer

Veronica Mercer

Veronica Mercer worked as a nurse for 15 years in community and hospital settings, and now works in private practice. ... Read More

Elizabeth Dolan

Elizabeth Dolan

Elizabeth Dolan RN, Grad Cert in Health (Palliative Care). Elizabeth undertook her registered nurse education in Dublin over 30 years ... Read More

Peter O'Connor

Peter O'Connor

Peter O’Connor received his PhD in Organisational Psychology from The University of Queensland in 2007 and is a registered psychologist ... Read More

Chris  Leary

Chris Leary

Chris Leary is Mental Health Nurse Practitioner working In West Morten Area Health Service. He has 25 years' experience working ... Read More

Pathological Behaviours in the Workplace
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
11 hours 45 mins
Start Date
End Date
11 hours 45 mins
Price Details
$561.00 (two days)
Brisbane QLD 4001
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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