The Many Complexities in Treating and Studying Narcissism


  • Kenneth N. Levy Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University



narcissism, Kernberg, Kohut, Mitchell, Transference Focused Psychotherapy, case study, clinical case study


In this commentary I examine conceptual and methodological issues in Dr. Riordan's (2012) presentation of three cases treated using Mitchell’s integrative model that combines aspects of Kernberg and Kohut's technical stances in the treatment of narcissism.  Riordan proposes that Mitchell's integrative model provides a useful blend of Kernberg's focus on defense and Kohut's focus on empathy. He then provides case material to illustrate the benefits of Mitchell’s model.  In discussing Riordan's paper, I focus on approaches to the case study method and present technical advances in Kernberg's approach that I believe address the concerns articulated by Riordan.  These issues are examined in the current context of evidence-based practice. 

Author Biography

Kenneth N. Levy, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University

Kan Fishman, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy Professor of Clinical and Organizational Psychology Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers University Mailing address: 57 Jaffray Court Irvington, NY 10533 914-693-8549 fax: 603-917-2567 email:




How to Cite

Levy, K. N. (2012). The Many Complexities in Treating and Studying Narcissism. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 8(3), 216–235.