What is the self-psychology theory of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Sheenie Ambardar, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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By contrast, Heinz Kohut felt that NPD was the result of a developmental arrest in normal psychological growth. [3] He maintained that narcissism is a natural feature of the young child, who is bound to think of himself or herself as the center of the universe.

According to Kohut, through the twin processes of mirroring (whereby the parent provides appropriate praise) and idealization (whereby the child effectively internalizes positive parental images), a child without narcissism can temper his or her former sense of being the center of the universe. However, if the parents do not offer effective mirroring or do not provide a basis for idealization, the child will be stuck with his or her initial grandiose, wholly unrealistic sense of self, and this developmental arrest will eventually lead to NPD. [3]

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