Narcissists Do Not Like Therapy
- NPD’s, in or out of therapy, frequently deny personal responsibility when blamed for a problem.
- A person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) resists seeking psychotherapy.
- The NPD’s tendency to blame others and deny responsibility for their mistakes, misdeeds and/or problems, inhibits the experience of cognitive dissonance or the affective experience of guilt, shame, or self-anger. Cognitive dissonance is often the antecedent or motivating factor for one’s decision to seek psychotherapy.
- As a result of the NPD’s lack of insight into their role in personal and interpersonal problems, their participation in psychotherapy is limited to the cessation of discomfort others are causing them.
- The potential for positive outcomes in insight-based psychotherapy with an NPD client is low.
- The NPD’s lack of empathy inhibits the collaborative problem-solving process necessary for most couples-based psychotherapy to succeed.
- If and when a psychotherapist directly attributes a problem to the NPD client or challenges their lack of empathy and/or denial systems, the likelihood of an eruption of anger, resentment and paranoia (narcissistic injury) is high.
- Psychotherapy terminations are likely if and when the NPD client perceives the psychotherapist agreeing with or supporting (taking sides) another party in the psychotherapy process.
- Narcissistic injuries are the most common reason for psychotherapy termination.
- NPD’s temporarily participate in psychotherapy to seek forgiveness or to alleviate a consequence. When the threat of the consequence has been lifted or neutralized, the NPD often terminates psychotherapy.
- NPD’s may leverage their participation in psychotherapy as a “bargaining chip” to manipulate another person.
NOTE: I use the term “Narcissist” to represent Pathological Narcissists, which included those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder / Sociaopaths (ASPD) and, of course, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It also inlcudes a person active in an addiction. They all share the following characteristics.
- Impaired thinking, mood & control of impulses
- Impaired relationships
- Trouble perceiving & relating to situations & people
- Rigid & inflexible thought & behavior patterns
- Resist change despite consequences
- Unaware of the harm they cause others
- Commonly project blame on others
(c) ©Rosenberg, 2016
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
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Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us