The Early Relational Roots of Narcissism and their Resolution, with Marcus West

Event Details

The lecture will elucidate the psyche’s primitive ways of functioning – to avoid distress, to maintain control, and limit and manage contact with a dysregulating other – that are entirely natural and necessary for the infant. It introduces an overview of some of the different ways the psyche protects itself under threat, relating this to primitive mammalian defensive reactions and Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory. This talk concentrates, however, on the correlation between the process of individuation and the process of the natural maturation of the primitive, narcissistic functioning of the psyche, and analyses, in depth and in full, a 16th Century alchemical treatise, ‘The Rosarium of the Philosophers’ which describes a natural ‘resolution’ to these dynamics. The clinical, cultural and socio-political ramifications of this process are explored.


Saturday, December 7th: 9 am – 12 pm
Location: Mandel Center for Humanities, G-3 Auditorium, Brandeis University, 415 South Street Waltham, MA 02453
Cost: $45   3 Psychology, MHC, and SW CEs offered ($10)


Marcus West is a training and supervising analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and UK Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. He is the author of three books: Into the Darkest Places: Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind (2016), Understanding Dreams in Clinical Practice (2011), and Feeling, Being and the Sense of Self (2007). He has taught and lectured widely in the UK and abroad, has contributed chapters to books and written a number of papers, one of which jointly won the Michael Fordham Prize in 2004. He is also a trained EMDR practitioner. He lives and works in Findon Village, Sussex, England.


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“The Early Relational Roots of Narcissism and their Resolution”
Cost: $45

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*CEU (Continuing Education Unit) – Please add the quantity of “1” if you wish to receive CEUs for this program. CEUs are $10 per program.
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CE Information:

Intermediate Level
Sponsoring organization: C.G. Jung Institute-Boston

Learning Objectives:
By completion of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and enumerate narcissistic dynamics in themselves and others
  2. Explain the links between these dynamics and infant forms of functioning and behaviour
  3. Discuss how infants defend against narcissistic wounding
  4. Summarise how this is related to primitive mammalian defences and Porges’ polyvagal theory
  5. Assess and enumerate how this relates to particular clients and recognize some of the likely clinical challenges and ways of addressing them
  6. Describe how this relates to the process of individuation through analysis, whereby the analyst facilitates, for example, the individual’s ability to bear and integrate previously split off parts of the personality and lessens their defensive control and evacuation of unbearable affects
  7. Explain how this allows a lessening of the conscious control by the ego and a greater reliance on the unconscious functioning of the Self
  8. Recognise and describe how this applies in the consulting room with work with clients
  9. Discuss some of the many manifestations of narcissistic behaviour, both culturally and in the socio-political field
  10. Explain and expand their understanding of, and capacity to engage with, individuals who have experienced early relational trauma
  11. Recognise and explain how this has become embodied in the individual’s personality, relating this to psychoanalytic categories such as narcissistic, borderline, schizoid, hysterical and obsessional personality organisations.

Recommended reading:

Jacoby, M. (1992). Individuation and Narcissism: The Psychology of Self in Jung and Kohut. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

Mollon, P. (1993). The Fragile Self-The Structure of Narcissistic Disturbance. London: Whurr.

Britton, R. (2004). Narcissistic disorders in clinical practice. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 49, 4, 477-490.

Stern, A. (1938). Psychoanalytic investigation of and therapy in the borderline group of neuroses. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7: 467-489.  

Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Harmonsworth: Penguin.

West, M. (2016). Into the Darkest Places: Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind. London & New York: Karnac.

West, M. (2017). Self-disclosure, trauma and the pressures on the analyst. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 62, 585-601.

West, M. (2013). Trauma and the transference-countertransference: working with the bad object and the wounded self. The Journal of Analytical Psychology, 58, 73-89.


CE credits awarded upon attendance in its entirety. The C.G. Jung Institute-Boston is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The C.G. Jung Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. For questions and requests for information, please contact psychology CE Chair, Dr. Francine Lorimer at 617 818 5587 or For cancellation policy and registration, please visit the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston website,at  There is no known commercial support for this program.

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