Narcissistic Habits: Couples Therapy Treatment Techniques

Presented by Susan Heitler, PhD on 09-19-2014 at 9 a.m. Pacific

Narcissistic habits rank among the top destroyers of relationships of all types. They undermine secure family bonds, long-term friendships, parent-child relationships, and partnerships, whether romantic or professional.

To estimate how frequently narcissistic habits become a treatment focus, I recently assessed narcissism in cases I worked with this past year. Narcissistic habits played a major causal role in the clients’ presenting problems in over 80% of cases. Yet conventional therapeutic wisdom says that narcissism is untreatable. Fortunately, while individual therapy may have minimal impact, couples therapy can quickly reduce narcissistic patterns.

This web conference begins by redefining narcissism as a listening deficit. Treated as insufficiently skilled communication behaviors, narcissistic habits can be addressed via the following comprehensive set of couples therapy interventions:

(1) Past-focused: Depth dive visualizations for exploration of family-of-origin sources of current patterns.

(2) Present-focused: Therapeutic mediation for present-focused resolution of conflicts.

(3) Future-focused: Coaching in the collaborative dialogue, conflict resolution, anger management, and positivity skills that can enable more harmonious relationships in the years ahead.

The web conference concludes with suggestions on how to start and end sessions to maximize treatment impact and how to include individual therapy within an overall couples format.

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Assess the role that deficits in bilateral listening play in narcissistic habits;
  2. Determine when and how to use the protocol for the depth dive technique, a visualization for rapid access to family-of-origin sources of current difficulties;
  3. Clarify the importance of exploring underlying concerns in order for couples to switch from fighting to finding win-win solutions to their differences;
  4. Recognize narcissistic dismissive listening and learn coaching techniques for improving these listening patterns.

If you have any questions or concerns about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Attendees who register for this event will log in to the web conference center by using a computer and calling in to the teleconference line. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via computer. Live streaming video and/or document sharing will also be available to participants. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

This event will include lecture and question-and-answer periods. A recording of the web conference will be available to members in GoodTherapy.org's Continuing Education Archives within two weeks. After the live event, a written transcript of the event will be available in the Member's Area. Members of GoodTherapy.org can receive continuing education credits for attending this event by logging in to the GoodTherapy.org Member's Area.

388CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content and is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.

Event Reviews from Members

"An excellent presentation! Designed for the experienced therapist as so few are. Brilliant concepts presented that will be useful extensions of what I already do." - Marilyn Miller, MS, LPC

"I loved her positive attitude around working with narcissistic traits. Thank you!" - Gretchen Burkholder, LMHC

Meet the Presenter

Susan Heitler, PhD

Susan Heitler, PhD

Dr. Susan Heitler, clinical psychologist, believes that most emotional distress stems from poorly handled conflicts between people. Her book for therapists, From Conflict To Resolution, focuses on the conflict-resolution patterns that sustain emotional health versus those that invite depression, anger, anxiety, and escape into addictive behaviors. Her explanations of healthy conflict resolution have brought developments from the world of mediation into the world of psychotherapy. On the basis of this contribution, Dr. Heitler was chosen to demonstrate couples therapy for the master therapist with the video series, Assessment & Treatment of Psychological Disorders. Her video from that series, The Angry Couple, is utilized in couples-therapy training programs around the globe.

In recent years, Dr. Heitler has authored multiple books, audios, and a video for the general public, in addition to conducting a clinical practice specializing in couples therapy. Her podcasts on depression, anxiety, and conflict resolution for couples can be downloaded for free from her website. Her book and workbook for couples, The Power of Two, teaches the foundational communication and conflict-resolution skills for marriage success. Three of Dr. Heitler’s adult children have created an interactive, online marriage education program, PowerOfTwoMarriage.com, that teaches the skills she writes about in these books.

For more information on Dr. Heitler, and her work, please visit therapyhelp.com.

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
  • Logo
    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.