Narcissistic Psychotherapists-Identify Them and Keep Your Distance

There are many excellent psychotherapists who help individuals, couples and families to identify, work through and resolve psychological and emotional issues in an ethical and competent manner.

In this post I am speaking about narcissistic psychotherapists—including psychiatrists, psychologists and various counselors who have narcissistic personalities and can cause psychological and emotional harm to their clients. This is particularly the case if the client is in a chronic state of crisis, emotionally dependent, lives in continual fear of abandonment and has severe symptoms of clinical depression and/or anxiety. Some clients live in a state of mental confusion and are delusional in their thinking. These people are particularly vulnerable in the outside world. There are narcissistic therapists whose major goal is to create and expand their business empire. For them only the bottom line that matters—how many patients will pay them at the highest fees possible for their services. Some therapists keep clients for monetary gain over periods of years rather than referring them to a professional or group that can be helpful. .

To protect yourself from narcissistic psychotherapist, watch for these character traits and behaviors in your psychotherapist:
Poor eye contact. The therapist is distracted and restless.
Taking telephone calls or initiating them during a session.
Constant self reference–therapist talks about himself and his family rather than focusing on his patients
Pattern of changing appointment times
Therapist displays behaviors of grandiosity and extreme self entitlement
Therapist does not listen and is not attuned to the client’s feelings, thoughts, fantasies, fears, worries.
Therapist does not make himself/herself available during times of crisis
Argumentativeness and defensiveness–The therapist is always right; the patient is always wrong.
Therapist’s lack of empathy.

It doesn’t matter how many degrees, clinical internships, books authored or prestigious universities a psychotherapist has attended. With all of the perfect credentials a psychotherapist can still be a narcissist especially if this is a smooth well rehearsed convincing role.

To protect yourself from narcissistic psychotherapists, do your homework. Referrals from professional people whom you trust is important. This does not guarantee that this is the right therapist for you. Pay very close attention to your intuition. If you are getting the impression that this therapist has narcissistic issues, regardless of his/her educational and clinical experience, listen carefully to this message. Don’t respond to any pressure a psychotherapist places on you to enter treatment. Interview several therapists. You are hiring someone to work with and help you. You are in charge of this decision. There are many excellent psychotherapists who are highly competent, knowledgeable, clinically and personally fit and highly empathic. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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