Can Narcissism Be Healthy? Character Formation in a Fragmented World

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Michael DeVries


Some researchers have claimed narcissism has reached “epidemic” proportions in contemporary society. In this presentation, narcissism is discussed as a dimensional trait best considered on a spectrum and not exclusively from the standpoint of pathology. Considered in relation to contemporary culture, narcissistic character traits can form the basis for both a cohesive self and a stable social identity. However, in pathological character types, narcissistic traits serve as the basis for identities permeated by hostility, grandiosity, deception, ideological extremism, and insensitivity to others.

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Author Biography

Michael DeVries, North Park University

Michael DeVries is currently Professor of Psychology and Director of the Masters Program in Counseling Psychology at North Park University in Chicago. A Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Illinois since 1988, he maintains a private psychotherapy practice at Olive Branch Counseling Associates in Tinley Park, Illinois.