Narcissistic Habits: Couples Therapy Treatment Techniques

Presented by Susan Heitler, PhD on 09-19-2014 at 9 a.m. Pacific to 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern)

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.

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

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by for attending this web conference in its entirety. 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. is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements., provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), 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. is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content., 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.

To receive CE credit hours for an archived event, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 12 or 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events generally are considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

Registration Information

Premium or Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no cost. Not yet a Premium or Pro Member? Mental health professionals can attend this live web conference for $30.95 or access the homestudy recording for $15.50.

If the event is canceled by GoodTherapy, registrants who purchased the event will be notified and the charge for the event will be refunded

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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,, that teaches the skills she writes about in these books.

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

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Logo 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. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo This course has been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  •, LLC 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 #SW-0395.
  •, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

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