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Goldberg, A.I. (1974). On the Prognosis and Treatment of Narcissism. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:243-254.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:243-254

On the Prognosis and Treatment of Narcissism

Arnold I. Goldberg, M.D.

IVERY MUCH APPRECIATE the opportunity afforded me to participate in the panel on the prognosis and treatment of narcissistic disorders. I hope to illustrate how the work of Heinz Kohut directly follows from and expands upon the basic knowledge given to us by Freud in his work on narcissism. The title of this panel is somewhat slanted, insofar as it seems to regard narcissism as a disorder in need of treatment. Kohut's position is that narcissism per se is a part of normal development and has not only pathological and primitive forms, but mature ones as well.

The analytic investigation of disorders of narcissism reverberates in our daily activity in all psychoanalytic work. One cannot hope to cover all the relevant issues in this enormous field. At the outset, however, I would like to review some basic definitions and perhaps offer a reorientation. The first definition to be discussed is that of the narcissistic object. In Freud's 1914 paper, that definition was offered as descriptive of an object choice modeled upon an aspect of the self (what it was or is or would like to be) or upon someone who was considered a part of oneself; i.e., the narcissistic object is seen or experienced as part of the self and, more specifically, as an object that performs a function for the self. The position of an observer who notes an interpersonal activity is always that of seeing objects interacting.

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