The Misunderstood Narcissist Personality and the Therapeutic Relationship

A local university student scheduled an appointment with a psychologist in private practice, complaining that his instructors rarely understood his ideas. When asked why he did not present this to the counseling center, he explained that ordinary counselors would be unable to understand his problems. During the first session, he was confident but congenial. By the second session, however, a condescending attitude of superiority had broken through. During the third session, he appeared to regard the psychologist with contempt. When a clarifying question was asked, he responded, "I would think you would have enough information to understand everything that you need to know by now." Arrogant and exploitive interpersonal conduct is often associated with the narcissistic personality.

conduct is concerned with the person's characteristic style of relating to others, including not only the motives that underlie, prompt, and give shape to relational behavior, but also its intended and unintended impacts on others, their counterreactions, and the vicious circles created thereby.

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