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Humanizing the Narcissistic Style (Stephen M. Johnson, Ph.D.)
Johnson's carefully conceived integrative psychoanalytic developmental theory will enable therapists to make sense of the array of symptoms seen in character disorders and character styles. His theory is a synthesis of ego psychology, object relations, and self psychology, which also incorporates the insights of character and defense analysis. It provides the underpinning for a synthesis of various therapeutic techniques, so that an eclectic treatment approach may be pursued with the guidance of a unified theory.
Johnson contrasts the narcissistic character disorder with the narcissistic style, focusing on the similarities and differences along a continuum of ego functioning and describing the essential elements of appropriate treatment for each. Special therapeutic issues are dealt with as they arise in the treatment of the symptomatic self and the false self and in the development of the real self.
Two chapters demonstrate the fruitful integration of group and individual therapy in the treatment of the narcissistic character disorder and the narcissistic style. The detailed transcripts in these chapters will be especially useful to clinicians.
All therapists working with narcissistic individuals will be richly rewarded by Johnson's sensitive integrative approach.
Stephen M. Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the faculty at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Menlo Park, California. He divides his time between clinical teaching and the private practice of psychotherapy in Menlo Park and San Francisco.
Humanizing the Narcissistic Style is the second book in a series that began with Characterological Transformation: The Hard Work Miracle (Norton, 1985). Dr. Johnson is also the author of the popular book, First Personal Singular: Living the Good Life Alone.
"Some of my best friends are narcissists." With these words, Stephen Johnson opens his remarkably insightful discussion of the narcissistic style. This style, an endemic result of our culture's material perfectionism, sacrifices fulfillment to driven achievement, self-worth to praise from others, and the joy of human connectedness to superficial, manipulative relationships. However, while our culture reinforces the narcissistic style, its roots go much deeper into the individual's family and early childhood.