Narcissism in Therapy: Strategies For Effectively Navigating Narcissism Issues in the Treatment Room

This webinar led by Wendy Behary, MSW, LCSW, was originally broadcast live on Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9, 2023.

This is a 6-hour On-Demand Webinar. Access information, handouts/resources, and CE credits information will be available immediately after successful registration. All registrants receive unlimited access to the recording for 365 days.

Peeking into the complexities of a client with narcissism can arouse our curiosity as therapists. Treating them individually or in the context of couples work can also arouse our sense of inadequacy and sheer frustration.

Maintaining a firm and flexible posture, understanding our own personal triggers, and understanding the narcissist makeup helps therapists bypass obstacles when dealing with narcissistic clients, thereby promoting a sturdy stance for (empathically) holding the narcissist accountable. In so doing, we can sustain the necessary leverage for healing and meaningful, sustainable change.

But how can we summon up the courage, maintain an empathically attuned state of mind, and effectively engage narcissistic 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 this can be a triggering endeavour for many therapists when facing the belligerence, self-righteous entitlement, denial, neurotic victimization, and arrogance of a narcissistic client.

Treating the narcissistic client—whether overt or 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 can also sometimes default into hypersexual activity, such as pornography, cyber-sexual relationships, prostitutes, affairs, or other erotic preoccupations. 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, however, 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.

  • Integrate the Schema Therapy model into the the therapist’s work and conceptualize Narcissism and NPD in formulating treatment strategies.
  • Apply a highly effective strategy known as empathic confrontation to gain and maintain leverage and avoid power struggles, address entitlement and lack of reciprocity, access reasonable responsibility, and set limits with the narcissist.
  • Observe and utilize specific strategies, such as replacing self-defeating patterns and coping modes with healthy and adaptive modes via the moment-to-moment encounters in the therapy relationship.
  • Develop a sturdy self in the chair by identifying and stabilizing the therapist’s personal challenges—our own schemas—a major obstacle to treatment effectiveness.
  • Create customized dialogues that maintain leverage and enhance opportunities to access client vulnerability and emotion.
  • Receive an overview of how to facilitate treatment with offended partners; the recovery and fortifying of a voice of advocacy; setting limits; cultivating leverage for accountability; identifying the impact of unacceptable behaviours; and enforcing reasonable consequences that act as motivational drivers for the narcissist to seek treatment.

Wendy Behary

With 30 years of professional experience and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The Schema Therapy Institutes of NJ-NYC-DC. 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 the Institutes merged in 2012), 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’s Institute).

Wendy served as the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST) from 2010-2014 and served as the Training and Certification Coordinator for the ISST Executive Board from 2008-2010. She is currently the chair of the Schema Therapy Development Programs Sub-Committee for the ISST.

Wendy Behary has co-authored several chapters and articles on Schema Therapy and Cognitive Therapy. She is the author of the international bestselling book, Disarming the Narcissist…, which was translated in 16 languages. The Third Edition of the book was selected by Oprah Daily as one of the top books on the subject of Narcissism.

Wendy specializes in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and subject matter expert on 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, narcissism, interpersonal relationships, anger, and dealing with difficult people. Wendy receives consistent high praise for her clear, articulate teaching style and her ability to bring the therapy to life through dramatic demonstrations of client interactions in the treatment room.

Wendy Behary’s speaking engagements focus on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems.

PART 1:

Time Topic Covered
First 90 minutes
  • TBD
15 minutes
  • Break
Last 90 Minutes
  • TBD

PART 2:

Time Topic Covered
First 90 minutes
  • TBD
15 minutes
  • Break
Last 90 Minutes
  • TBD

This training offers 6 hours of direct contact (not counting breaks or lunch). It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards/regulatory body to verify CE requirements for their license to practice.

For Attendees of the On-Demand Recorded Version

You will need to complete a Post-Webinar Quiz with a pass of at least 80% in order to verify your attendance.


For US Participants

Instructions on how to obtain your Certificate of Attendance will be distributed after you pass the Post-Webinar Quiz following the On-Demand recorded version of the webinar.

Get details about CE credits for US participants


For Canadian and Non-US International Participants

Upon fulfillment of the above requirements, Canadian and non-US international participants will be issued a Certificate of Participation that includes:

  • Name of participant
  • Title of training
  • Name of presenter plus their credentials
  • Number of hours of training
  • Date of training
  • Confirmation that you have passed a quiz with at least an 80% grade to verify your attendance

Please check carefully with your regulatory body/organization that this certificate is sufficient proof for you to claim CE credits.

Get details about CE credits for Canadian and non-US international participants

Who Should Attend

  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Clinical and Counselling Psychologists
  • Psychiatric Social Workers
  • Pastoral Counsellors
  • Psychotherapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Counsellors
  • Graduate Students in accredited programs in the above fields
  • Case Managers
  • Licensed Professional Counsellors
  • All other professionals who would like to develop, update or expand their skills and knowledge in mental health practices