Maintaining boundaries in psychotherapy: Covert narcissistic personality characteristics and psychotherapists
Abbreviated Journal Title
covert narcissism; psychotherapy; boundaries; narcissism; psychotherapist; TRANSFERENCE INTERPRETATIONS; CONSTRUCT-VALIDITY; INVENTORY; CONTINUUM; ISSUES; Psychology, Clinical
The psychological literature to date has identified more than one form of narcissism: the more well-known grandiose form, and the less familiar and recognized covert form. Although the distinction between these two narcissistic types has been identified with regard to better conceptualizing client dynamics, there has been much less written about how covert narcissistic tendencies and traits may affect psychotherapists and psychotherapy. This paper uses psychodynamic theory to highlight the role that covert narcissistic characteristics may have on the psychotherapists' ability to maintain boundaries, potentially leading to boundary transgressions (existing along a continuum from therapeutically useful to maladaptive and antitherapeutic). Specific therapeutic situations have been delineated to increase therapists' recognition and awareness of themes that may emerge and compromise the boundaries between themselves and their clients. Areas of focus include narcissism and its forms, the possible connection between covert narcissism in psychotherapists and the impact on managing boundaries, the potential therapeutic implications of covert narcissistic tendencies in psychotherapists, and the implications of covert narcissistic personality characteristics on treatment, supervision, and training.
"Maintaining boundaries in psychotherapy: Covert narcissistic personality characteristics and psychotherapists" (2008). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 318.