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Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Louis R. Franzini, PhD

CE Credit: 2 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Social Work CE | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE

Learning Level: Intermediate

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that distinguishes between the informal labeling of narcissistic behaviors and attitudes, and the applications of the DSM criteria for a formal clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a psychological disorder characterized by persistent patterns of grandiosity, fantasies of unlimited power or importance, and the psychic need for admiration or special treatment. Core cognitive, affective, interpersonal, and behavioral features appear in a pervasive pattern of interpersonal difficulties, occupational problems, and significant psychosocial distress, such as impulsivity, volatility, attention-seeking, low self-esteem, and unstable relationships.

We will examine therapeutic approaches, such as the MOTHER technique, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in light of the case studies presented. We will discuss how to cope with close relationships in which one partner frequently acts narcissistically or qualifies for a formal personality disorder diagnosis. Having to cope with the narcissistic behaviors shown by someone close can itself be psychologically distressing.

Suicidality and comorbidities in NPD will also be considered.

Course #21-57 | 2023 | 38 pages | 15 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. Distinguish between primary and secondary narcissism
2. Differentiate between grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, noting the role of the oscillation hypothesis
3. List the nine characteristics in DSM-5 of which at least five must be met to qualify for a diagnosis of NPD
4. Name and describe the three additional diagnoses of personality disorders in the DSM-5
5. Explain the cognitive behavior therapy approach to treating NPD
6. Summarize the main distinguishing elements of dialectical behavior therapy

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists (#PSY-0145), the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135), licensed marriage and family therapists (#MFT-0100 - Note: New York MFTs will receive 2 continuing education credit(s) for completing this self-study course), and licensed social workers (#SW-0664); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio MFTs completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credit(s)); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Louis R. Franzini, PhD, received his B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, his M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toledo, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavior Modification at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (now Stony Brook University). Following the postdoctoral program Dr. Franzini joined the Psychology Department at San Diego State University, where he spent his entire academic career. He retired as Emeritus Professor of Psychology. His international academic experience included appointments as Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Universite Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-le-Neuve, Belgium and Senior Fellow in the School of Accountancy and Business, Human Resource and Quality Management Division at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Dr. Franzini is licensed as a psychologist in Florida and in California.

Financial: Dr. Franzini receives royalties on his books from John Wiley & Sons, Rowman and Littlefield, Square One Publishers, Sage Publications and from Professional Development Resources on sales of his courses.
: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists. 

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