Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 79–91 | Cite as

The Culture of Narcissism Revisited: Transformations of Narcissism in Contemporary Psychospirituality

  • Ann Gleig


In this paper, I trace the debate over narcissism in deinstitutionalized and heavily psychologized spiritualities. First, I summarize how Sigmund Freud’s discussion with Romain Rolland about the “oceanic feeling” established the classical psychoanalytic view of mysticism as a regression to primary narcissism. Second, I review how Heinz Kohut’s radical reconceptualization of narcissism has played a seminal role in socio-cultural interpretations of modern psychologized spirituality. Third, I explore how a contemporary psychospiritual tradition, A.H. Almaas’s Diamond Approach, details the relationship between narcissism and mysticism. Finally, I reflect on the benefits of a dialogical approach between psychoanalysis and spirituality arguing that the types of integrative psychospirituality envisioned by Romain and developed more fully by Almaas have the potential to facilitate the mature transformation of narcissism.


Narcissism Psychospirituality Spirituality Mysticism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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