May 1973

Psychotherapy of Narcissistic Injuries

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(5):722-726. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750350090016

A separate diagnostic category of acute narcissistic injuries is proposed. These disorders are defined as injuries of a psychologic nature to one's self or self-esteem. The category is differentiated from that of acute depressive reactions although the clinical phenomena are similar and the distinction is mainly in order to propose a psychotherapeutic approach. This in turn is based on the psychotherapist being used as a narcissistic object or a functional unit of the self to facilitate the healing of the injury. Case reports are included to illustrate the process. Some relevant literature is reviewed and suggestions for a continued utilization of new insights into the psychology of the self obtained from psychoanalytic investigations is urged.