Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality

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Narcissists have been much maligned, but according to clinicians who study personality, there are many productive narcissists who succeed spectacularly well in life because they can articulate a vision and make others follow. Elsa Ronningstam, who has been studying and treating narcissists for 20 years, presents a balanced, comprehensive, and up-to-date review of our understanding of narcissistic personality disorder, explaining the range from personality trait, which can be productive, to full-blown disorder, which can be highly destructive. Through fascinating case histories, Ronningstam shows us the inner life of narcissists, the tug of war that exists within them between self-confidence and arrogance on the one hand and painful shame and insecurity on the other. It is the first integrated clinical and empirical guide to assist clinicians in their work with narcissistic patients.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nicholas Greco IV, MS, BCETS, CATSM (Columbia College of Missouri)
Description: This book provides a needed exploration into a personality disorder where there has been a paucity of research as well as misinterpretations. The author separates pathology from functionality — in other words, from what is a productive personality trait to a full-blown disorder. This delineation is fascinating and highly informative.
Purpose: The purpose is to bridge the gaps between the psychoanalytic, psychological, and psychiatric studies and present a cohesive and integrated clinical and empirical guideline to assist clinicians in their work with narcissistic patients. The breakdown of healthy and pathological narcissism allows clinicians to have the needed differentiation to implement in their practice. The book exceeds objectives and is much needed.
Audience: Clearly, seasoned and young clinicians will benefit as well as academics and researchers. This would make for a good seminar course or as an add-on to graduate training. The author is well-versed and a leading authority in narcissism.
Features: As expected, a historical perspective of the disorder is introduced and supported by appropriate references. The discussion of "normal" narcissism in chapter 2 is intriguing and focuses on empathy, self-reference, control, power, etc. The chapter on differentiating pathological narcissism is a must-read for every clinician. I liked how the case vignettes help elaborate and provide a unique perspective on the material. The book is well written and solidly examines the material.
Assessment: Personality disorders, while always discussed and sometimes deferred on Axis II, do exist. Narcissistic personality finally is receiving the attention it deserves with this book. Readers should always be ready to expand their knowledge base with worthwhile information and this book will quite comfortably satisfy that need.
From the Publisher
"This book provides a needed exploration into a personality disorder where there has been a paucity of research as well as misinterpretations...fascinating and highly informative."—Doody's Book review

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195148732
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,244,384
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. From myth to personality disorder
Chapter 2. A normal asset with cultural differences
Chapter 3. The origins and scope
Chapter 4. Identifying pathological narcissism
Chapter 5. Differentiating pathological narcissism
Chapter 6. Asset or disruption — Narcissism in the workplace
Chapter 7. My way or no way — Narcissism and suicide
Chapter 8. Correction or corrosion — Changes in pathological narcissism

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