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Psychopathology I: Neurotic-Level Character and Symptom Disorders
June 2 @ 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm, Wyman Classroom
Second Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2022-23, 3rd Trimester — Fridays, 1:45-3:15pm
Michael Pauly, MD
Kelly Lippman, LMHC
June 2, 2023 — Narcissism
This week is likely the heaviest in terms of reading. Please invest the time deserved to these relational / interpersonal theory-oriented papers, which I believe are extremely helpful in capturing the dynamics of narcissism and their treatment implications.
Mitchell, in addition to giving the reader a grounding in the history of thought surrounding narcissism, proposes that “narcissistic illusions are usefully understood neither solely as a defensive solution for an internal psychic economy, nor solely as a pure efflorescence of infantile mental life, but most fundamentally as a form of participation with others.” He sees narcissistic phenomena as an invitation to a particular form of interaction with the analyst.
Bromberg says that the heart of the pathology for predominantly narcissistic individuals is connected with their struggle to be both “in the world” and “separate from it” (remember Britton and the third position) without endangering the grandiose self (i.e. the internal structure they depend upon for a sense of identity). He thus proposes that treatment requires the integration of mirroring and the dissolution of the mask.
Mitchell, S.A. (1986). The Wings of Icarus: Illusion and the Problem of Narcissism. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 22:107-132.
Bromberg, P.M. (1983). The Mirror and the Mask – On Narcissism and Psychoanalytic Growth. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 19:359-387.