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Lunch and Learn: Navigating Narcissism in the Treatment Room with Schema Therapy
Friday, April 21, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST
Category: Clinical Division

Lunch and Learn: Navigating Narcissism in the Treatment Room with Schema Therapy

Friday, April 21, 2023
12:00 pm - 1pm
Presented by: Westchester County Psychological Association Clinical Division
Host: Ilana Rosenberg, WCPA Clinical Division President

WCPA Members - Free
Non-Members - $10
WCPA members should register to receive zoom link
This presentation is not eligible for continuing education credit.
Peeking into the complexities of the narcissistic client can arouse our curiosity. Treating them individually or in the context of couple’s work can arouse our sense of inadequacy and frustration.  
Maintaining a firm and flexible posture, understanding our own personal triggers along with the narcissist’s makeup – helps us to bypass obstacles when dealing with them, promoting a sturdy stance for (empathically) holding the narcissist accountable. In so doing, we can sustain the necessary leverage for healing, and for lasting change. But how can we summon up the courage, maintain an empathically attuned state of mind, and effectively engage these 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 can be a triggering endeavor for many therapists when facing the belligerence, self-righteous entitlement, denial, neurotic victimization, and arrogance, of a narcissistic client.

Treating the narcissistic client – overt and 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 sometimes default into self-soothing, compulsive coping behaviors, such as hypersexuality— addiction to pornography, cyber-sexual relationships, prostitutes, affairs, or other erotic preoccupation.  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 only possible 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 converting the messages of 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 grandiosity and extraordinary performance, confusing messages of over-indulgence alongside inferiority and insecure attachments, devalued emotional experiences, and poor limit setting.

 Bio: 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 an international bestselling book, "Disarming the Narcissist...”  translated in 15 languages. The Third Edition was recently released.  Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. 


This presentation is not eligible for continuing education credit.