Persons with prominent narcissistic personality traits struggle to establish mutually satisfying relationships. This is usually due to underlying poor self-esteem, which can manifest as a reliance upon external sources of self-esteem (e.g. another promotion, a better partner) in order to feel satisfied. Psychotherapy can help individuals with narcissistic personality tendencies to find sources of self-esteem within themselves, enabling a capacity for more authentic and mutually satisfying relationships.
In a world of uncertainty and seemingly endless change, we like to feel that we are in control of our lives and our future. However, for some of us, our outlook and behaviour can become overly restricted. For example, we may have a highly regimented diet or exercise regime, or we might spend an inordinate amount of time on certain tasks in order to get them “just right“, resulting in our working long hours or weekends when this is not necessary. These behavioural styles are often at the expense of the enjoyment of more enriching activities, or of allowing ourselves some free time.
So-called “perfectionistic” personality traits can impose significant limitations both upon ourselves and upon our partners or loved ones. We may experience feelings of irritability or even anger when our high standards are not met by others. These difficulties are often due to underlying anxieties about the world around us, meaning that we have to try to control everything in order to feel a sense of safety.
Psychotherapy can help us to look inside ourselves in order to explore and unpack the anxieties that underpin perfectionism, enhancing our capacity to tolerate uncertainty, and enabling us to live richer and more flexible lives.
Persons with borderline personality traits tend to form intense, highly charged relationships with others, accompanied by a pronounced fear of losing the other person. This can result in ’emotional storms’ which can manifest as anger outbursts, frequent conflicts, or self-destructive behaviours such as the misuse of alcohol and substances or self-harm. Some individuals retreat from the world in order to avoid unpleasant feelings, resulting in feelings of aloneness and isolation. Psychotherapy can help individuals to find a better sense of emotional stability and the learning of more healthy coping behaviours.
Making a diagnosis of a personality disorder, or problematic personality traits, is an important process, which requires a careful and comprehensive assessment. Understanding personality difficulties is also complex, and this complexity can lead to disagreements between clinicians. Having worked with patients with personality disorders in inpatient and specialist outpatient units, and as a specialist in both psychodynamic processes and psychiatric diagnosis, I am able to offer a comprehensive assessment of personality difficulties, followed by a recommendation for treatment. The assessment process may involve a consultation with relatives or other persons who are close to the individual.