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Navigating Narcissism in the Treatment Room with Schema Therapy

Giuseppe Sanna
5.0 /5

About This Course

Peeking into the complexities of the narcissistic client can arouse our curiosity. Treating them individually or in the context of couple’s work can arouse our sense of inadequacy and frustration.

Maintaining a firm and flexible posture, understanding our own personal triggers along with the narcissist’s makeup – helps us to bypass obstacles when dealing with them, promoting a sturdy stance for (empathically) holding the narcissist accountable. In so doing, we can sustain the necessary leverage for healing, and for lasting change. But how can we summon up the courage, maintain an empathically attuned state of mind, and effectively engage these clients when they’re more likely to defend, deny, demean, devalue, attack, distract, and charm us rather than cooperate with us and comply with treatment?

Exploring the critical content related to early life experience and unmet needs is essential to the formulation of a robust conceptualization and the implementation of treatment but can be a triggering endeavor for many therapists when facing the belligerence, self-righteous entitlement, denial, neurotic victimization, and arrogance, of a narcissistic client.

Treating the narcissistic client – overt and covert – involves meeting early unmet needs such as, unconditional love and acceptance, empathy, and tolerance for frustration and limits. This comes with the challenge of confronting bullying, critical, passive-aggressive, detached, martyrish, and approval-seeking modes.

These clients sometimes default into hypersexual activity such as pornography, cyber-sexual relationships, prostitutes, affairs, or other erotic preoccupation.  Intimacy is fractured and the refurbishing of trust is challenging due to the “betrayal trauma” of offended partners and the entitled stance of the narcissist. Healing is possible when leverage is high enough and partners are willing to engage in the treatment process individually and together.


At the heart of schema therapy, we have an approach capable of weakening narcissistic coping modes, and internal demanding critic modes. Adaptive responses replace unhelpful ones as schemas heal. Using effective strategies grounded in emotional engagement and the therapy relationship, therapists are poised to correct the biased early emotional experiences typically linked with high demands for extraordinary performance, confusing messages of over-indulgence alongside inferiority and insecure attachments, devalued emotional experiences, and poor limit setting.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will learn how to:

  • Conceptualize the evolution and construction of narcissistic modes.
  • Apply strategies, including elaborations on Schema Therapy’s Empathic Confrontation Strategies
  • Fortify the bond in the therapy relationship
  • Confront compensatory and detached modes responsible for rigid rationalizations and dismissive denial of self-defeating and other-defeating patterns
  • Create customized dialogues that embolden leverage, and enhance opportunities to access client vulnerability and emotion
  • Attend to therapist’s own schemas and mode activation – how to remain a sturdy, curious, and empathically attuned caregiver.
  • Integrate effective experiential strategies designed to meet the primary unmet needs related to shame, mistrust, injustice, and unconditional love/acceptance.
  • Address partner needs in relationships burdened by the challenges of narcissism.


BEHARY_FotoWendy Behary. With over 25 years post-graduate training and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and co-director (with Dr. Jeffrey Young) of The New Jersey-New York City Schema Therapy Institutes. She has been treating clients, training professionals and supervising psychotherapists for more than 20 years. Wendy was on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York (until merging in 2012 with the NJ Institute), where she trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a Founding Fellow and consulting supervisor for The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Aaron T. Beck Institute). Wendy served as the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST) from 2010-2014, and is currently the chairperson for the Schema Therapy Development Programs Committee of the ISST.

Wendy Behary has co-authored several chapters and articles on Schema Therapy and Cognitive Therapy. She is the author of “Disarming the Narcissist…” (New Harbinger, 2013) translated in 10 languages, whose third edition was released on October 1st, 2021. Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and an expert on the subject of narcissism, she is a contributing chapter author of several chapters on schema therapy for narcissism for professional readers. She lectures both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on schema therapy, and the subject of narcissism, relationships, anger, and dealing with difficult people. Her work with industry has included speaking engagements focused on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, parenting issues, and couples experiencing relationship problems. She is also an expert in coaching individuals in interviewing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills enhancement.


1 Lesson2h 44m 31s


Wendy Behary02:44:31

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Really comprehensive and helpful course. Highly recommended.

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Duration 2.7 hours
1 lecture

Course categories


Evento dal vivo a Roma

Da Ven 30 Settembre a Dom 2 Ottobre 2022

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