A young woman managed narcissistic personality disorder with the help of CBT.

CBT Can Help You Manage Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people develop empathy and compassion for others, which is crucial for those with narcissistic personality disorder.


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How CBT treats narcissistic personality disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy that can be effective in treating narcissistic personality disorder, a mental health condition. A person undergoing CBT for narcissistic personality disorder may work with a therapist to identify and challenge distorted thought patterns and beliefs about themselves and others. They may also learn healthy coping skills and develop empathy and compassion for others. By addressing maladaptive behaviors and thinking patterns, people can work towards changing their behavior and improving their relationships with others. CBT can help people develop a more realistic and balanced view of themselves and the world around them. CBT is an effective treatment for many personality disorders, including schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Skills taught in CBT for narcissistic personality disorder


In CBT for narcissistic personality disorder, people are taught to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This involves learning to recognize when narcissistic traits are influencing their actions and the impact these traits have on their relationships and well-being.

Empathy development

CBT teaches people with narcissistic personality disorder the importance of understanding and empathizing with the experiences and perspectives of others. This skill helps them to improve their social interactions and build more meaningful connections with those around them.

Emotional regulation

People in CBT learn strategies to manage their emotions in healthier ways, reducing the intensity of their reactions and increasing their ability to tolerate discomfort. This skill is crucial in addressing the impulsivity and emotional instability often associated with narcissistic personality disorder.

Cognitive restructuring

Through CBT, people work on challenging and changing the maladaptive thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to narcissistic tendencies. By identifying and reframing distorted thinking, they can develop a more realistic and balanced view of themselves and others they are in a relationship with.

Interpersonal effectiveness

CBT helps people with narcissistic personality disorder to improve their communication and relationship skills. This includes learning how to assert their needs and boundaries while also considering the needs of others and enhancing their ability to navigate social interactions more effectively.


Through CBT, people are encouraged to engage in regular self-reflection and introspection. This involves examining their own behavior, motivations, and impact on others, leading to increased insight and greater self-awareness.

Distress tolerance

CBT teaches people with narcissistic personality disorder to build resilience and cope with difficult emotions or situations without resorting to maladaptive behaviors. This skill is vital in reducing the vulnerability to stress and rejection often experienced by those with narcissistic traits.

By learning and practicing these skills in CBT, people with narcissistic personality disorder can experience improvements in their interpersonal relationships, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Benefits of CBT for narcissistic personality disorder

CBT can have long-term benefits for people with narcissistic personality disorder, as it helps them develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors. Over time, CBT can help people with narcissistic personality disorder improve their self-awareness, empathy, and relationships with others. By challenging their maladaptive beliefs and addressing their core insecurities, people can experience long-term improvements in their overall well-being and functioning.

How quickly does CBT work for narcissistic personality disorder?

CBT can work quickly for people with narcissistic personality disorder. Studies have shown that within a few months of consistent therapy, people may begin to see improvements in their symptoms and behaviors. By addressing underlying cognitive distortions and maladaptive thought patterns, people can learn to regulate their emotions better and develop healthier ways of relating to others. With continued practice and support, people with narcissistic personality disorder can experience long-term benefits from CBT.

How is medication used to treat narcissistic personality disorder?

Medication can be used in conjunction with therapy to treat narcissistic personality disorder. Some commonly used medications include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany narcissistic personality disorder. Mood stabilizers may be used to reduce mood swings and impulsive behavior. Anti-anxiety medications can help manage symptoms of anxiety and agitation. It is important for a person with narcissistic personality disorder to work closely with a healthcare provider to find the most effective combination of medication and therapy for their specific needs.

Other types of treatment for narcissistic personality disorder

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on uncovering underlying unconscious conflicts and unresolved childhood issues that may contribute to narcissistic traits. It aims to help people gain insight into their behavior and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Schema therapy

Schema therapy integrates elements of cognitive-behavioral, attachment, and psychodynamic therapies to address deep-seated patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It aims to identify and change maladaptive schemas or core beliefs that drive narcissistic behavior and improve interpersonal relationships.

Group therapy

Group therapy provides the opportunity for people with narcissistic traits to interact with others who may share similar challenges. It can help increase self-awareness, empathy, and understanding of how their behavior impacts others while receiving peer feedback and support.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness and acceptance strategies to help develop emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance skills. It can assist people in managing intense emotions and impulsive behaviors often associated with narcissistic traits.

IOP for narcissistic personality disorder

Intensive outpatient programming (IOP) is often used to treat people with narcissistic personality disorder when they require more structured and intensive treatment than traditional therapy or counseling can provide. IOP typically involves a combination of group therapy, individual therapy, and skill-building sessions to help the person understand and manage their narcissistic traits and behaviors. This approach allows people to receive ongoing support and guidance while still being able to maintain their daily responsibilities and routines.

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder at Charlie Health 

If a young person in your life is struggling with narcissistic personality disorder, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health offers a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with serious mental health conditions, including narcissistic personality disorder. Our expert clinicians incorporate CBT into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic treatment, managing narcissistic personality disorder is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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