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Working with narcissistically-vulnerable clients through the lens of contemporary Self Psychology with Don Schimmel, PhD

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Working with narcissistically-vulnerable clients through the lens of contemporary Self Psychology with Don Schimmel, PhD

Friday, September 8, 2023 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Friday, September 22, 2023 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Friday, September 29, 2023 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Friday, October 6, 2023 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Via Zoom
Sponsored by: 

This class has filled. To be added to the waitlist, please email

Join me for a four-part course in which we will explore the challenges of working with narcissistically-vulnerable clients. Throughout the seminar, I will present insights from traditional Kohutian and contemporary perspectives on Self Psychology. The course begins by examining Freud's original theory of narcissistic development and proceeds to illuminate how Kohut radically reconceptualized it. We will address questions such as: How can we empathically respond to the psychological needs of clients who, as children, have experienced a deficit of mirroring, mutual idealization, or twinship?

Also covered in this course: How to recover from therapeutic disruptions, impasses, and “empathic failures,” and how, from a self-psychological perspective, one interprets maladaptive defenses in a way that does not induce shame or narcissistic injury. Moreover, we will address why we feel chronically bored or tired with some clients and what strategies can be employed to break the gridlock.
I will also explain how to identify and work with what Heinz Kohut and modern self-psychologists call a "vertical split" vs. a "horizontal split." Additionally, the seminar will provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities by analyzing several brief case vignettes. These practical examples will empower you to apply the concepts directly to your clinical practice. To enrich your learning experience, I will email you approximately 20 pages of optional reading materials before each class. These supplementary resources will serve as valuable references, allowing you to delve deeper into the subject matter and enhance your overall understanding of the course's content.

Instructor: Don Schimmel is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. He has over 50 years of experience working with adults, children, adolescents, families, and couples. Dr. Schimmel is a senior faculty member of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, teaching seminars in Self Psychology, Relational, and Intersubjectivity theory, the history and legacy of Freud, Ego psychology, and Object Relations Theory. He also leads classes on how to treat children, adolescents, and their parents.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify the central tenets of Self Psychology, as initially conceived by Kohut.
  • Participants will be able to differentiate between Freud's and Kohut's theories of narcissism.
  • Participants will be able to distinguish between Freud's and Kohut's views of defense and resistance.
  • Participants will be able to describe Kohut's perspective on the "bipolar self," the "vertical and horizontal split," and three narcissistic or "selfobject" transferences.
  • Participants will be able to describe Kohut's views on empathy, disruption and repair, optimal frustration and responsiveness, and transmuting internalization and vicarious introspection.

Fees: $160 for Members and $200 for non-members.
Class Size: Class is limited to a maximum of 9 participants. (Registration closes on 9/7/23)
Refund Policy: Refunds less a $35 handling fee will be given up until one week before the first class.

This presentation has been approved for a total of 6.0 CE’s for licensed mental health counselors and associates, marriage and family therapists and social workers by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work. 

Contact Person: 
Don Schimmel, PhD
Contact Email:
Contact Phone Number: 
(425) 775-2205
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