The definition of narcissism can be a moving target. Is it an excess of self-love? Profound insecurity? Low self-esteem? Too much self-esteem? Because of the multifaceted nature of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), treating this disorder presents clinicians with a range of wholly unique challenges.
Narcissism and Its Discontents recognizes the variable nature of NPD and provides a template for adjusting treatment to the patient rather than shoehorning the patient into a manualized treatment that may prove to be less effectual.
This guide offers clinicians strategies, including transference and countertransference, to deal with the complex situations that often arise when treating narcissistic patients, among them, patient entitlement, disengagement, and envy. The authors provide a skillful integration of research and psychoanalytic theory while also addressing psychotherapeutic strategies that are less intensive but also useful—being cognizant of the fact that a majority of patients do not have access to psychoanalysis proper.
A chapter on the cultural aspects of narcissism addresses the recent societal fascination with NPD in the discourse on politics and celebrity, particularly in the age of social media. Regardless of the treatment setting—psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, partial hospital, or inpatient—clinicians will find a wealth of approaches to treating a diverse and challenging patient population in Narcissism and Its Discontents.
This is an excellent, comprehensive and timely contribution that can help clinicians integrate the accumulated scholarly, clinical and empirical accounts on narcissism and its pathology. Masterfully organized and written, the authors Drs. Gabbard and Crisp present a balanced summary of intersubjective psychodynamic and psychoanalytic treatment of narcissistic patients, with uniquely thoughtful and guiding descriptions and clinical illustrations of numerous specific challenges that psychotherapists can face. Informative and educational, it is a remarkably engaging resource for clinicians and psychotherapists in all stages of their career.—Elsa Ronningstam, Ph.D., Associate Professor (PT), Harvard Medical School, Clinical Psychologist, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA
In this marvelous new book, Narcissism and its Discontents, Gabbard and Crisp help us understand the many faces of narcissism in the context of an upheaval of social change. Then they invite us to sit at their sides while they, master clinicians, show us how to reach and help those whose narcissism has led them from success to great peril. And how to do so with compassion, even when the going gets rough. Take a seat. You won’t regret it.—John M. Oldham, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Barbara and Corbin Robertson Jr. Endowed Chair for Personality Disorders, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
Compassionate, clear and wise, this book reflects perspectives that can only come from extensive clinical experience. Combined with both illustrative vignettes and elegant prose, clinicians will find this as absorbing to read as it is instructive to their practices.—John G. Gunderson, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Director, BPD Center for Treatment, Research and Training, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts.
About the Authors
Part I: Diagnostic Dilemmas
Chapter 1. Narcissism and Its Discontents
Chapter 2. The Cultural Context of Narcissism
Chapter 3. Modes of Relatedness
Part II: Treatment Strategies
Chapter 4. Beginning the Treatment
Chapter 5. Transference and Countertransference
Chapter 6. Tailoring the Treatment to the Patient
Chapter 7. Specific Treatment Strategies
Chapter 8. Termination
About the Authors:
Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is also Training and Supervising Analyst at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston. He is in the full-time private practice of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy.
Holly Crisp, M.D., is Clinical Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She is on the faculty at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston. She is in the full-time private practice of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy.