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What Are the Different Types of Therapy for Narcissism?

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  • Written By: Nya Bruce
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2018
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Encouraging someone with a narcissistic personality to seek therapy is often difficult, however there are certain complications associated with ignoring this type of behavior. Complications can range from difficulties at work and in relationships to depression and substance abuse. While there is no cure for the disorder, psychological based counseling, or psychotherapy, may help lessen some of the negative aspects associated with it. There are different types of therapy for narcissism that fall under psychotherapy. These therapies include group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family and individual therapy.

Group therapy sessions are a gathering of narcissistic patients who meet in small groups with a therapist. This type of therapy is meant to help patients learn to interact with, support and acknowledge one another as individuals. Discussions are often focused on common behavior, emotions and thoughts. During these sessions, narcissistic patients can learn to empathize with others through group discussions on experiences, behaviors and even from confrontations that may occur in the group. It is important the therapist maintain some form of control during these sessions, to keep individual talk times at a minimum and participation respectful.

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Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is commonly used in the treatment of narcissism. It is a type of therapy for narcissism that targets both the patients thoughts and his behavior. This is done by helping the patient to recognize narcissistic behavior, emotions and thoughts. The therapist also teaches the patient how he can react in a more positive manner. Although this will not completely eliminate narcissistic tendencies, it may help the patient to interact better with others in his private and social life.

Another type of therapy for narcissism involves interaction between family members and the narcissistic patient. It is called family therapy and may involve spouses, partners, adult children, or parents. This type of therapy allows the people who are closest to the patient to express their feelings and communicate how the narcissistic behavior effects them. With the help of the therapist, the narcissistic patient can learn to see how certain behaviors harm important relationships.

Individual therapy is a more traditional form of psychotherapy. It involves one-on-one discussions in which the therapist examines the reason behind the narcissism, such as insecurities or fears the patient may have. With this understanding, he can then proceed to help the patient to recognize and cope with potentially defensive, narcissistic behavior. During individual therapy for narcissism, the therapist will typically refrain from any direct, negative comments regarding the patient's narcissistic tendencies, which can lead to resistance to therapy in general.

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discographer
Post 5

@Ocelot60-- Narcissism is a normal personality trait that some people have. If narcissism is excessive and negatively affects an individual's relationships, that's narcissistic personality disorder. So firstly, we need to differentiate between the personality trait and the personality disorder. The trait is not something that requires treatment. The disorder is what requires treatment. And I disagree that it is permanent. Would we say that borderline personality disorder is permanent and untreatable? No. So why would we say that about narcissistic personality disorder?

Perhaps the first step to therapy for narcissism is to accept that it can indeed be treatable. Why is the world so convinced that nothing can be done about this? Anything is possible with patience and perseverance. I think that spirituality and faith is also immensely helpful because it encourages self-love and self-acceptance. Although narcissists put up a front of self-love, they are actually lacking in it.

bluedolphin
Post 4

@SteamLouis-- I personally don't believe that anything is "incurable." I don't deny that trying to overcome narcissism is a life long journey for many. But with therapy, self-awareness and exercises to build empathy, a lot can be achieved. Narcissists can improve their relationships with others, understand themselves and work on their shortcomings.

The biggest issue in treating narcissism is for the narcissist to accept that he or she is one. This can cause a lot of anger for a narcissist but if that feeling can be overcome, than the individual can start thinking about how to better themselves. It starts with acceptance and the most important step has to be building empathy.

SteamLouis
Post 3

Some people claim that it's not possible to treat narcissism or that it's one of the most difficult to treat conditions. Is this true? Or can this disorder be treated successfully?

Are there any former narcissists here who won the battle against narcissism? How did you do it?

Ocelot60
Post 2

Therapy is a good idea for people who are motivated to deal with their narcissism, but it's not an easy thing to change. From my experience, narcissism is just part of a person's personality that is permanent.

Talentryto
Post 1

This article gives a lot of good information about the best places to look for therapy for narcissism. I think that group therapy is the best type for this problem, because it gives the clients opportunities to share their issues with others who understand what they are experiencing.

Another good way to find a therapy group is to check with your local hospital. Most of these facilities have listings to help clients find what they need.

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