3 Secrets to Engaging a Narcissist in Therapy

Expert Wendy Behary Shows You How It’s Done

Underneath it all, the narcissist is skeptical and frightened.

That’s the first thing to know, according to Wendy Behary, recognized expert in treating narcissistic men. Second, is to use the consulting room as a microcosm of the wider world. Third, is to stay in the moment.

In this quick video, Wendy demonstrates how to engage the narcissist without enabling him. It’s a brilliant exposition by a leading expert in one of the toughest areas of our work.

Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed. This clip is taken from her session in our challenging cases video course:

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  • Successfully move past impasses with borderline, narcissistic, attachment-disordered, and self-destructive clients
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6 Responses to 3 Secrets to Engaging a Narcissist in Therapy

  1. meggarrido says:

    Beautiful process work! This is a great reminder to me to come back to the feel of the moment in the room before jumping to teaching coping skills. The few minutes of video communicated so much. Thank you.

  2. Karen says:

    I love Wendy Behary’s work. Tough work with an overt narcissist. Problem is with a covert narcissist. They are pretty much untreatable.

  3. Nuria says:

    Wonderful video clip, reminds me of the importance of the therapeutic relationship as the main tool for transformation.

  4. Alex says:

    Wendy Behary suggestion to stay in the moment is key. Mind you, that is essential to good therapy with any client. If a narcissist shows up for help – you actually have a human being showing up for help. The human being called “narcissist” is in a world of hurt … and the wounded heart will do whatever it can to avoid further pain. Taken longitudinally, a therapist’s involvement in the client’s life is only a tiny, tiny sliver of time. It is compassion, not cleverness, that counts.

  5. Susanne says:

    I think Wendy has an interesting way of engaging the client immediately. Even though it seems rather confrontational, she seems to couch her comments in such a way as to be less stinging, but I wonder how many people come back for a second dose of this. I wonder how she feels about trying to understand the situation from the client’s perspective to begin to create some rapport and empathy before attacking his personality style.

    • Maya says:

      I agree… it seems likely that some empathy would need to be shown and some trust established, before a therapist could shine so bright a light on the client’s egocentrism… otherwise, a client might misperceive the therapist’s commentary as an attack on their character.

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