“Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies” is a book written by Otto F. Kernberg, a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, and published in 1984. The book focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of severe personality disorders, including borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.
In the book, Kernberg provides a comprehensive overview of the psychoanalytic theory and practice of treating personality disorders, with a particular emphasis on the narcissistic personality disorder. He discusses the clinical features of the disorder, such as the patient’s grandiosity, lack of empathy, and fragile self-esteem, and explores the underlying psychological dynamics that contribute to these symptoms.
Kernberg also presents his model of psychoanalytic psychotherapy for narcissistic patients, which emphasizes the importance of understanding and interpreting the patient’s defensive structures and early life experiences. He advocates for an active and confrontational approach to therapy, aimed at helping the patient to develop a more realistic and integrated sense of self.
The book has been widely influential in the field of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and Kernberg’s approach to treating narcissistic personality disorder has been adopted by many practitioners. However, his ideas have also been subject to criticism and debate, particularly around the use of confrontation and the potential for therapist abuse of power.