Donatella Fiore, Daniela Petrilli, Antonello Colli, Serena Mancioppi, Antonio Semerari & Giancarlo Dimaggio
Centro di Psicoterapia Cognitiva, Rome, Italy

E-mail:terzocentro@iol.it

 

INTERPERSONAL PROCESSES IN THE THERAPY OF NARCISSISTIC PATIENTS

 

Therapeutic relationship assumes dysfunctional characteristics in patients with personality disorder (PD). In patients with PD these features are often connected to the type of disorder, and the cast of characters appearing in the therapeutic 'scenery' often refers to the type of pathology of the observed personality. For example, in narcissistic disorder we can observe a lavish character that looks for the admiration of a subjugated and dependent character. Based on this viewpoint, it is remarkably important for clinical practice to recognize the typical dysfunctional processes of all personality disorders in order to make the therapist timely recognize them. The therapist has to monitor and master his own emotional reactions, in order to avoid that the therapy reproduces dysfunctional patterns of the patient's life. The therapy has the following aims: helping the patient to take consciousness to become aware of his/her own relationship proceeding, comprehending in a decentralized way the mind of the other and recognizing the impact that his/her own behavior has on the others (e.g. to understand that the other doesn't give the required admiration because s/he is defensive toward the patient's criticism). We will show what we hypothesize to be the main dysfunctional interpersonal cycles of narcissistic personality disorder, how these are manifest in patient's narratives and reactivate during the therapy. We will analyze a session's transcript and show the way in which the therapist worked in order to overcome these cycles.