An overview of the treatment of severe narcissistic pathology

Int J Psychoanal. 2014 Oct;95(5):865-88. doi: 10.1111/1745-8315.12204. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


This paper provides an overview of narcissistic personality disorders as they present clinically along a spectrum of severity ranging from the best functioning forms of pathological narcissism to the most threatening to the patient's psychosocial and physical survival. It proposes a general interpretive psychoanalytic stance with all these clinical syndromes that range from standard psychoanalysis to a specific psychoanalytical psychotherapy for the most repressive and life threatening conditions that may not respond to standard psychoanalysis proper. This general psychoanalytic approach is placed into the context of related developments in contemporary psychoanalytic understanding of pathological narcissism and its treatment.

Keywords: countertransference; identity; masochism; narcissism; psychic structures.

MeSH terms

  • Countertransference
  • Humans
  • Narcissism*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy*