Narcissism, Hypersexuality, and Betrayal Trauma in Relationships: Treatment Tools


SKU: LD - 210 Category:


Exploring sexual histories of our clients, and links to current issues impacting sex and intimacy in their lives, is crucial to a robust clinical conceptualization and treatment formulation. But it can be an uncomfortable endeavor for many therapists. Add to that… the toxic shame, self-righteous entitlement, denial, and arrogance of a narcissistic client (or client’s other) with a hypersexual coping mode, and treatment gets even more difficult and complex.

Treating the narcissistic client involves helping them get their early unmet needs met, including the need for unconditional love and acceptance, empathy, and tolerance for frustration and limits. The therapist is often challenged to clinically confront the client’s bullying, critical, and approval-seeking modes, as well as the annihilating shame that follows a partner’s discovery of their discrete sexual activities. Clients with strong narcissistic personality traits can default into hypersexual, detached stimulating-seeking modes where they become involved in excessive sexual preoccupation: use of pornography, cyber-sexual relationships, prostitutes, affairs, underground sadomasochism clubs, or other types of eroticism. Intimacy suffers and the offended partner becomes burdened by the trauma of betrayal, i.e., living with the perpetrator of their pain. Refurbishing trust is a challenging but achievable goal when the leverage is high enough and when both parties are willing to engage in treatment individually (and conjointly, when appropriate).

Informed by Schema Therapy… with integrated interpersonal, emotion- focused, gestalt, and cognitive-behavioral strategies, along with the power of the therapy relationship, therapists are poised to address the narcissist’s maladaptive coping style by correcting the biased messages imbedded in their early emotional experiences, in order to meet early unmet needs. Treating betrayed clients involves stabilization, validation, and adaptive alternatives to the wearying effects of unyielding anger and/or detachment; empathically evacuating the unremitting “inner critic” that carries messages of self-blame and self-doubt; facilitating support and emotion-focused strategies to help them reclaim their rights for safety and respect, examining prospects for trust, and fortifying a healthy voice in the wake of the traumatic discovery.


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This training will provide participants clinical knowledge and tools to:

a). Conceptualize and state the primary mode responsible for seeking hypersexual stimulation, i.e., understanding motivational drivers behind early unmet needs that become sexualized over time.

b). Identify links associated with grandiose fantasies—nothing is “weird” once we understand the underlying story.

c). Learn, understand, and confront compensatory and detached coping modes responsible for rigid rationalizations and defiant denial of the harmful impact on self and partners.

d). Understand and attend to therapist’s own schemas and mode activation – how to remain a sturdy, curious, and empathically attuned caregiver.

e). Apply effective emotion-focused strategies designed to meet the primary unmet needs related to shame, failure, and unconditional love/acceptance.

f). Understand and address the needs of the betrayed client, identify, and differentiate activated early life themes (schemas) that are triggered in the trauma.

g). Learn to install the use of empathic narratives to gradually desensitize and heal betrayal trauma.


Target Audience:

The target audience for this event includes psychologists, social workers, counselors, MFT’s, psychiatrists and other clinical mental health professionals.


Instructional Level: Intermediate

Instructor(s): Wendy Behary, MSW, LCSW

Material Author(s): Wendy Behary, MSW, LCSW

With 25+ years of professional experience and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The Schema Therapy Institutes of NJ-NYC-DC. She has been treating clients, training professionals and supervising psychotherapists for more than 20 years. Wendy was on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York (until the Institutes merged in 2012), where she trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a founding fellow and consulting supervisor for The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Aaron T. Beck’s Institute). Wendy served as the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST) from 2010-2014 and served as the Training and Certification Coordinator for the ISST Executive Board from 2008-2010. She is currently the chair of the Schema Therapy Development Programs Sub-Committee for the ISST. Wendy Behary has co-authored several chapters and articles on Schema Therapy and Cognitive Therapy. She is the author of an international bestselling book, “Disarming the Narcissist…” translated in 15 languages. The Third Edition was recently released. Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and an expert on the subject of narcissism, she is a contributing chapter author of several chapters on schema therapy for narcissism for professional readers. She lectures both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on schema therapy, narcissism, interpersonal relationships, anger, and dealing with difficult people. She receives consistent high praise for her clear and articulate teaching style and her ability to bring the therapy to life through dramatic demonstrations of client interactions in the treatment room. Her work industry business speaking engagements focus on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems.

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