A History of Narcissism and its Treatment: An Effective Clinical Approach

In this talk Professor Jeremy Holmes surveys the great analytic and literary thinkers on narcissism, providing a sense of the condition’s unconscious origins, it’s pathological development in childhood and giving examples of its appearance in life, the therapy room and in stories from Eastern and Western Culture. Following Kohut’s notion of the parental task being to offer ‘optimal frustration’ to the child, Professor Holmes concludes that the therapeutic challenge in repairing narcissistic wounding is to ‘walk the line’ offering a deep empathy that is nevertheless tempered by challenging the patient’s isolating self-centredness and illusion of self-sufficiency.

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THE SPEAKER

Professor Jeremy Holmes

Jeremy Holmes worked for 35 years as Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist in the NHS. He was Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1998-2002. Now partially retired, he has a part-time private practice; set up and now teaches on the Masters/Doctoral psychoanalytic psychotherapy training and research programme at Exeter University, where he is visiting Professor; and lectures nationally and internationally.

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This video presentation is from Psychopathology: Theory and Practice. To find out more about this module click here.