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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Edward A. Wolpert, MD, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: The author attempts to expand, delineate, and describe narcissism in both its normal and abnormal development. Drawing upon the work of Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Annie Reich, Kohut, and Kernberg, among others, he uses literary descriptions by Tolstoy and Fowles as well as his own clinical material to make his theoretical points come to life for the reader.
Purpose: His purpose, to clarify the theory of narcissism, is of great importance as we approach the millennium, and he succeeds admirably in presenting his thesis.
Audience: While the author's primary audience is the psychoanalytic practitioner, any therapist attempting to deal psychologically with narcissistic patients would do well to become familiar with the his argument.
Features: Based on his discussion of narcissism, the author suggests the need to consider both a narcissistic personality disorder, in which the predominant investment of narcissism is in self representation, as well as a suppliant personality disorder, in which the predominant mode of narcisstic investment is in object representation. These two types of investments can range from psychotic to neurotic to normal.
Assessment: The author's theoretical position deserves a wide dissemination, and should stand on the clinician's shelf next to the works of Kernberg and Kohut.