The idea of an international personality disorder organization was an initiative of Niels Strandbygaard in Denmark, founder of a study group on the Millon theory of personality disorders.

The International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders was formed at its First International Congress in Copenhagen, in 1988. The initial Executive Board consisted of Theodore Millon as the President and Erik Simonsen as the Treasurer.

The Society emerged from a collaborative exchange between American and European mental health professionals, which evolved into a division of the Society into two regions, an American and a European.

Presently, ISSPD has four Regions, the European, North American, Latin American and the Asian/Australian.

In 1989, the Journal of Personality Disorders, founded by Theodore Millon and Allen Frances in 1986, and published by Guilford Press, became the official publication of the Society. It is a multi-disciplinary publication with six issues per year which presents scholarly papers and research on aspects of personality disorders, their diagnosis, etiology, course, and treatment, as well as discussions of new methods for assessment, epidemiology and outcome research.