Experiential techniques and therapeutic relationship in the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder: The case of Laura

Antonella Centonze*, Raffaele Popolo, Angus MacBeth, Giancarlo Dimaggio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Experiential techniques can be used to address maladaptive interpersonal patterns in patients with personality disorders (PDs) as long as they are delivered minding about the therapeutic relationship. We present the case study of Laura, a 38-year-old woman presenting with covert narcissism, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and complicated grief treated with metacognitive interpersonal therapy. Laura initially refused to engage in any experiential work out of fear of being judged and abandoned by her therapist. To navigate this therapeutic obstacle, the therapist focused on exploring and eventually repairing early alliance ruptures. Thereafter, Laura engaged in experiential work, which helped her address her narcissistic interpersonal patterns. After 2 years, Laura's symptoms and narcissistic problematic behaviors decreased. This case study can help us understand how experiential techniques can be successfully used in PD psychotherapy as long as attention to the therapy relationship is paid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1669
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume79
Issue number7
Early online date27 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • alliance/therapeutic alliance
  • grief
  • mental imagery
  • narcissistic personality disorder
  • personality disorders

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