Principles of Psychodynamic Treatment for Patients With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a pleomorphic entity that requires the psychodynamically oriented therapist to tailor the approach to the characteristics of the individual patient. Psychodynamic principles encompass a broad range of interventions depending on the patient’s specific characteristics. The therapist’s interventions range from interpretation of the transference to supportive approaches that emphasize empathic validation and direct advice. In the absence of systematic data on these variations, this article attempts to offer clinically based principles. Several themes are emphasized: the experience of shame, the predictable transference-countertransference developments, the role of comorbidity with other personality disorders and traits, and the approach to resistances.

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