Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dark Shadow: Examining the Inner Critic and Shame
by Rogers, David, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 169; 27541352
Abstract (Summary)

Many clinicians have referred to narcissists as among those difficult to treat for a variety of complex reasons. Simultaneously, individuals with a harsh inner critic can also have difficulty in treatment as they work to silence or accept the existence of such an inner judgmental voice. Shame affects both narcissists and individuals who experience inner critical wounding. Using a qualitative phenomenological research method, this study examines the intersection of narcissists and their inner critic from a depth psychological perspective focusing on development, previous research, and current treatments. Interviews were conducted with six clinicians who have treated patients who had a harsh inner critic as well as narcissistic traits. Diagnosis and treatment of the narcissist’s inner critic varies across clinical orientations of practice and even amongst depth psychologists or clinicians who practice with a psychodynamic orientation. Key findings concluded that narcissists’ self-criticism is projected externally onto the outer world, with the inner critical voice being a less pronounced echo of the external criticism and not truly realized as harsh standards imposed upon themselves. A further conclusion was that once the internal world of narcissists could begin to develop after years of therapeutic work or treatment, with the fall of the grandiose self, the projected critic becomes internalized, now as an inner critic, providing an opportunity for healing, and transformation.

Keywords: depth psychology, narcissist, inner critic, protector, punisher, trauma

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Corbett, Lionel, Lewis, Christine
Commitee: Earley, Jay
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Developmental psychology, Personality psychology
Keywords: Depth Psychology, Inner Critic, Narcissist, Protector, Punisher, Trauma
Publication Number: 27541352
ISBN: 9781687992406
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