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Self-absorption: Narcissistic trait or Protective Shield? Video Course

Self-absorption: Narcissistic trait or Protective Shield? Video Course

While self-absorption is a primary clinical feature of clients who fall under the Narcissism Spectrum Disorder (NSM), latest research indicates that self-absorption as a trait is not restricted to only those on the narcissism spectrum. In fact, this particular characteristic can be a key clinical marker in people who have experienced attachment deficits in childhood, those who are paralysed by chronic shame, those who have been severely traumatised or even adults with undiagnosed neurodivergence.

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

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$180.50

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Course Credits

CPD: 6 / CE: 6

Speaker(s)

Christiane Sanderson

Course length in hours

6 hrs of video content

Full course information

For such self-absorbed clients, we can observe multiple manifestations:

  • These individuals can struggle to regulate their emotions, are often overwhelmed by trauma reactions, and have difficulty connecting to others – as all of their psychological energy is used up to maintain a degree of equilibrium and remain present
  • Alongside this, self-absorption underpins anxiety and anxiety disorders as well as depression. Clients with anxiety, in trying to make sense of their distress, feelings and thoughts, become so preoccupied with self-critical ruminations that they are often not able to see or relate to others.
  • Similarly, those with depression and chronic shame appear self-involved and self-absorbed as they are drenched in self-recriminations about how worthless they are, imprisoned by incessant, negative internal dialogues, and constantly questioning every thought, feeling or behaviour and second guessing every decision.
  • At the same time, the sensory processing difference characteristics of neurodivergence can also often be construed as self-absorption rather than being understood as part of how information is processed by such individuals and how that impacts on their social interaction and social anxiety

This seminar, designed for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists, explores the nature of self-absorption, its origins in early Attachment experiences, such as abandonment, rejection, narcissistic injuries to the self, shame and / or trauma and how these impact on the developing self and psycho-biological and psycho-social functioning. Using clinical examples, we will look at:

  • How such early experiences can lead to self-absorption as a key survival strategy that enables the individuals who have been harmed to protect themselves from immediate mental and emotional threats, to manage emotional dysregulation, or manage their fears of feeling flawed, powerless, unworthy, or out of control
  • How this constant feeling of being threatened, vulnerable or insecure about themselves can impair our clients’ everyday functioning and their ability to see others or respond to them
  • We will explore how this apparent self-absorption does not mean they are selfish or insensitive to others but is rather a testament to them being locked into an unbearable internal state of high arousal, being shut down, or held captive in repetitive thought processes

Specifically, we will identify how to work with self-absorption, and help our clients focus on the importance of mastering emotional regulation skills so that they do not feel so overwhelmed, feel safer so that they are not constantly hypervigilant and can develop distress tolerance, mentalisation skills, perspective taking and reflective functioning to improve their interpersonal relationships.

The seminar will focus on identifying unmet needs in childhood such as lack of mirroring, attunement, and acceptance, and how these can be addressed in therapy to create a restorative space, to come out of the protection of self-absorption and build relational worth allowing the client to reclaim their sense of self, connect to others and the world. We will also explore ways of offering an affirmative practice to clients with neurotypical presentations.

Equipped with a broader understanding of how self-absorption humanises those who need to protect themselves, practitioners will be able to work with a range of clinical presentations rather than defining self-absorbed clients as primarily grandiose narcissists.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Identify the nature of self-absorption and its function
  • Discuss a range of mental health presentations that are predicated on self-absorption including emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, dissociation
  • Examine the cause of self-absorption in relation to early attachment experiences, attachment deficits, trauma, lack of mentalisation, and neurodivergence
  • Explore the cost of self-absorption and its impact on interpersonal relationships, and the stigma of being labelled as narcissistic
  • Identify ways of working with clients who present as self-absorbed to create safety, master emotional regulation skills and develop mentalisation by meeting unmet needs and reducing the need to rely on self-absorption as a protective survival strategy
  • Discuss how to provide a neurodivergent affirmative practice

© nscience 2023 / 2024

What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

This seminar, designed for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists, explores the nature of self-absorption, its origins in early Attachment experiences, such as abandonment, rejection, narcissistic injuries to the self, shame and / or trauma and how these impact on the developing self and psycho-biological and psycho-social functioning.

Learning objectives

  • Identify the nature of self-absorption and its function
  • Discuss a range of mental health presentations that are predicated on self-absorption including emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, dissociation
  • Examine the cause of self-absorption in relation to early attachment experiences, attachment deficits, trauma, lack of mentalisation, and neurodivergence
  • Explore the cost of self-absorption and its impact on interpersonal relationships, and the stigma of being labelled as narcissistic
  • Identify ways of working with clients who present as self-absorbed to create safety, master emotional regulation skills and develop mentalisation by meeting unmet needs and reducing the need to rely on self-absorption as a protective survival strategy
  • Discuss how to provide a neurodivergent affirmative practice

About the speaker(s)

Christiane Sanderson BSc, MSc. is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton, of London with 35years of experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence. She has delivered consultancy, continuous professional development and professional training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the NSPCC, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, SOLACE, the Refugee Council, Birmingham City Council Youth Offending Team, and HMP Bronzefield.

She is the author of Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd edition, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, and Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths and Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends for the charity One in Four for whom she is a trustee.

nscience UK is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. nscience UK maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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