The Narcissistic Group Self and Its Role in Group Psychotherapy

  • Raymond Battegay


The examination on the Narcissistic Group-Self and its role in group psychotherapy uses mainly a depth psychological vertical-motivational view. We could naturally also understand the (therapeutic) group from an interactional-horizontal-sociological aspect. Also it would be possible to see the group from a comprehensive system approach since with the General System Theory (von Bertalanffy,1974), we can of course also explain the psychological processes in each individual himself forming a system. But what I shall try to formulate in this context is only the involvement of each individual’s narcissism at the beginning and during the group process. I call by the term narcissism the real Self or self-representation with its capacity for self-love and -estimation, which gives to the instances Id, Ego and Super-Ego as well as to the body the information of belonging together to a specific entity experiencing and being in the past, today and in the future always the same. I do not want to discuss narcissistic personality disorders (Kohut,1971, 1977) or borderline conditions (Kernberg,1975) in a group, although different modalities of group psychotherapy with both kinds of patients could be described (Ganzarain,1982), but to try to describe the role of normal or perhaps pathological narcissism in group formation and cohesion.


Group Psychotherapy Personality Disorder General System Theory Social Learning Process Borderline Condition 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Battegay,R., 1976, The Concept of Narcissistic Group-Self, Group Analysis, IX/3 december.Google Scholar
  2. Bertalanffy, von,L., 1974, General System Theory and Psychiatry, in: American Handbook of Psychiatry, 2nd ed., vol. I, 1095, S. Arieti ed., Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Bion,W.R., 1960, Experiences in Groups, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Ezriel, H., 1950, A Psychoanalytic Approach to Group Treatment, Brit. J. Med. Psychol.. 23: 59.Google Scholar
  5. Ganzarain,R., 1982, Introduction to Symposium: Some Key Issues in the Group Psychotherapy of Narcissistic and Borderline Patients, Int. J. of Group Psychother. 32 (1) Jan.Google Scholar
  6. Hartmann,H., 1964, Essays on Ego-Psychology. Selected Problems in Psychoanalytic Theory, Int. Univ.Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Horney,Karen, 1939, New Ways in Psychoanalysis, W.W. Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Kernberg,O., 1975, Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism, Jason Aronson, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Kohut,H., 1971, The Analysis of the Self, Int. Univ. Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Kohut,H., 1977, The Restoration of the Self, Int. Univ. Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Stierlin,H., 1966, Uebertragung und Widerstand, in: Analytische Gruppenpsychotherapie 22, H.G. Preuss, ed., Urban & Schwarzenberg, München, Berlin/Vienna.Google Scholar
  12. Winnicott,D.W., 1965, Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self (1960), in: The Maturational Processes and Facilitating Environment. Studies in Theory of Emotional Development, The Hogarth Press, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Battegay
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Basle University Psychiatric Out-Patient DepartmentBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BasleBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations