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Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: The Mirror and the Mask. On Narcissism and Psychoanalytic Growth. Philip M. Bromberg. Pp. 359-387.. Psychoanal Q., 55:549.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: The Mirror and the Mask. On Narcissism and Psychoanalytic Growth. Philip M. Bromberg. Pp. 359-387.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:549

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: The Mirror and the Mask. On Narcissism and Psychoanalytic Growth. Philip M. Bromberg. Pp. 359-387.

Ronald F. Krasner

Individuals who experience others as means to an end, rather than as an end in themselves, those who exhibit the triad of vanity, exhibitionism, and arrogant ingratitude, according to Bromberg, suffer from a "narcissistic personality disorder." Their development is arrested between their seeking others to affirm their own significance (the mirror) and their controlling their environment in a disguised way (the mask). Bromberg states: "… all narcissistic pathology is, fundamentally, mental activity designed by a grandiose interpersonal self-representation to preserve its structural stability, and to maintain, protect, or restore its experience of well-being." Some problems in the psychoanalytic treatment of such people are explored. Narcissistic transference configurations and their resolution are central to successful treatment. The analyst's approach should be flexible and should range between interpretation, which can be mutative for neuroses, and mirroring, which can be reparative for narcissistic personality disorders. Bromberg further suggests that a gradient between anxiety and empathy must be carefully negotiated by the analyst. For example, at the beginning of treatment of individuals with marked ego impairment, the need for empathic contact is greater while confrontation is minimized. Later, the more normal transference-resistance configurations can be analyzed. Though Bromberg believes that not all individuals are analyzable, he does conclude that many different narcissistic disorders might be analyzable without the classical interpretation.


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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:549

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.