Conceptualizing and Working with Shame in Transference-Focused Psychotherapy for Narcissistic Personalities

January 6, 2015
Lecturer: Barry Stern, PhD
Discussant: Eve Caligor, MD

Our patients’ experience of shame, and the management of shame in the clinical situation, is the subject of extensive discussion in the analytic literature. The conceptualization of shame across various psychoanalytic orientations, however, is varied, with a particular under-theorization of the concept in the object relations literature. Dr. Stern will review of some of the analytic discussions of shame, with particular reference to the relationship between shame and pathological narcissism. Dr. Stern will discuss some of the obstacles to our attending to shame dynamics, and how aspects of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) can help successfully manage these dynamics with our more challenging narcissistic patients.

Barry Stern, PhD is Associate Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is course chair and instructor for the Transference Focused Psychotherapy for Personality Disorders course at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He has published and presented nationally and internationally on the subject of personality evaluation and the treatment of personality disorders. Eve Caligor, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and Director of Psychotherapy Division of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She has published widely on the evaluation and treatment of personality pathology and psychoanalytic and psychotherapy outcome.

Objective: After the lecture, participants should be able to

  • Describe theories of shame and pathological narcissism in the major psychoanalytic frames
  • Describe techniques in Transference-Focused Psychotherapy that facilitate understanding and managing shame in patients with pathological narcissism