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The Vulnerable Narcissist: Understanding the Impact of Gender & Attachment: Video Course

The Vulnerable Narcissist: Understanding the Impact of Gender & Attachment: Video Course

A deeper, therapeutically relevant comprehension of narcissism requires us to understand how the narcissistic mind struggles with the concepts of vulnerability and neediness. The challenge can be especially acute for men (and women) who identify with traditional masculine norms that avoid or even denigrate vulnerability and dependence. Yet Attachment Theory, which is grounded in both ethology and psychodynamic thought, argues that vulnerability and need are inevitable human experiences across the lifespan; and that we all develop internal representations of need and dependency which are activated when we feel vulnerable.

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$80.39

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Course Credits

CPD: 3 / CE: 3

Speaker(s)

Dr Gwen Adshead, Dr Michael Beattie

Course length in hours

3 hrs of video content

Full course information

At this thought provoking and therapeutically oriented online seminar, we bring together two luminaries from the fields of Attachment Theory & Gender Studies to explain what makes for a ‘vulnerable narcissist’ and how this phenomenon presents in clinical settings:

  • Despite having outwardly strong personalities for example, why might narcissists be considered ‘fragile’?
  • What makes them suffer from intense alienation, emptiness, powerlessness and existential ennui?
  • Why do they consider fear, shame or sadness as intolerable signs of weakness and why do their actions turn more malicious when they feel most insecure?

We delve into these questions at the seminar not just to quench our intellectual curiosity but to understand how we can help clients with vulnerable narcissism manifestations. Often their defence system protects them but hurts those around them. As psychotherapists and counsellors, our clients may well be on the receiving end of hurt from vulnerable narcissists. With these questions in mind, the speakers will help us understand:

  • What are the different maladaptive ways in which power and control might be transacted between partners in a relationship?
  • What is the role of shame in gender socialisation? How might narcissistic grandiosity and avoidant attachment styles help to defend narcissists from shame?
  • How can we learn to build trust in our relationships and hold our gender roles less rigidly?

Using case vignettes and practical examples, we discuss how:

  • Attachment Theory accounts for narcissism as a defence against vulnerability. We will consider organised and disorganised attachment insecurity; especially avoidant attachment which is denigratory of neediness, and the concept of counterdependency
  • Attachment insecurity manifested as pathological narcissism may impact on relationship boundaries, both professional and personal; especially in the context of being either the partner or the child of a person who uses narcissism as a defence
  • Core gender norms and the ways they influence how boys and men gain acceptance into and maintain their position within the masculine tribe. In particular, we will focus on gender role socialisation and how the dominant ways of demonstrating masculinity and maintaining male privilege in our culture are created, acknowledging that these dynamics are often used as a means of disconnecting from others
  • These stereotypical behaviours can lead to particular kinds of male unhappiness, poor mental and physical health and avoidant ways of coping – we consider the implications of these on narcissists and their interactions with others

Following these discussions, the speakers will open up the seminar to a wider discussion – with questions from the floor exploring and commenting on the themes arising and highlighting concerns for further study and exploration.

© nscience 2022 / 2023

What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

At this thought provoking and therapeutically oriented online seminar, we bring together two luminaries from the fields of Attachment Theory & Gender Studies to explain what makes for a ‘vulnerable narcissist’ and how this phenomenon presents in clinical settings.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss how Attachment Theory accounts for narcissism as a defence against vulnerability. We will consider organised and disorganised attachment insecurity; especially avoidant attachment which is denigratory of neediness, and the concept of counterdependency
  • Explain how attachment insecurity manifested as pathological narcissism may impact on relationship boundaries, both professional and personal; especially in the context of being either the partner or the child of a person who uses narcissism as a defence
  • Discuss the core gender norms and the ways they influence how boys and men gain acceptance into and maintain their position within the masculine tribe. In particular, we will focus on gender role socialisation and how the dominant ways of demonstrating masculinity and maintaining male privilege in our culture are created, acknowledging that these dynamics are often used as a means of disconnecting from others

About the speaker(s)

Dr Gwen Adshead is a Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. She trained at St George’s Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Institute of Group Analysis.  She is trained as a group therapist and a Mindfulness-based cognitive therapist and has also trained in Mentalisation-based therapy. She worked for nearly twenty years as a Consultant Forensic Psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital, running psychotherapeutic groups for offenders and working with staff around relational security and organisational dynamics. Gwen also has a Masters’ Degree in Medical Law and Ethics; and has a research interest in moral reasoning, and how this links with ‘bad’ behaviour.

Gwen has published a number of books and over 100 papers, book chapters and commissioned articles on forensic psychotherapy, ethics in psychiatry, and attachment theory as applied to medicine and forensic psychiatry.  She is the co-editor of Clinical topics in Personality Disorder (with Dr Jay Sarkar) which was awarded first prize in the psychiatry Section of the BMA book awards 2013; and she also co-edited Personality Disorder: the Definitive Collection with Dr Caroline Jacob. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry (2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Medical Psychotherapy (2016). She is also the co-editor of Munchausens’s Syndrome by Proxy: Current issues in Assessment, Treatment and Research. Her latest book, The Deluded Self: Narcissism and its Disorders (2020) is out now with nscience publishing house.

Dr Michael Beattie is a HCPC Registered Chartered Counselling Psychologist with a research interest in the psychology of men and masculinities. In addition, he has worked in the field of sexuality, sexual identity and sexual health as well as with issues of gender identity and gender dysphoria. His book Counselling Skills for Working with Gender Identity & Gender Dysphoria was published with colleagues by Jessica Kingsley in 2018. He currently works as a Counselling Psychologist in private practice. Prior to entering the field of counselling psychology Michael worked in marketing communications, facilitating strategic planning and training sessions for clients across the world.

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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