Elizabeth Lunbeck, Ph.D.
Did Trump Make Narcissism Great?
Saturday May 15, 2021
9:00 am—Zoom Gathering
9:30 am — 12 pm — Presentation
Elizabeth Lunbeck, Ph.D., is a professor of the history of science at Harvard University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of the psychotherapies, of the psychological sciences, and of the fortunes of psychoanalysis in American culture. She is the author of the prize-winning book, The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America (Princeton, 1994); with Bennett Simon, of Family Romance, Family Secrets (Yale, 2003); and of The Americanization of Narcissism (Harvard, 2014), which was awarded the Courage to Dream Prize of the American Psychoanalytic Association. She has also co-edited four books in the history of science, among them, with Lorraine Daston, Histories of Scientific Observation (Chicago 2011). Her research has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and she has been the recipient of a Distinguished Educator Award from the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education. Dr. Lunbeck is an academic program graduate of Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI), and holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
Donald Trump’s presidency has secured narcissism’s standing as an indispensable concept in popular commentary and critique. Narcissism is now serious business: before Trump’s ascendancy, the exemplary narcissist of public discussion was vain, entitled, and self-absorbed but essentially harmless, while now that exemplary figure is the rage-filled, murderously destructive, and overwhelming powerful ex-President. Yet the “narcissism” routinely invoked to explain Trump’s behavior is, from a psychoanalytic perspective, under-conceptualized and underexploited. It cannot explain his success in mobilizing a mass following that is seemingly impervious— in fact at times inversely related—to his widely noted flaws and deficits.
This presentation explores the problem of leader and led as conceptualized, creatively and powerfully, in three episodes drawn from the history and present of psychoanalytic theorizing: accounts of the authoritarian’s allure written by analyst-observers of Hitler’s rise; explorations of the shared inner lives of dangerously charismatic politicians and their followers; and accounts of the intoxications of submission to a tyrant. The psychoanalytic tradition features its share of arrogant, disdainful, and interpersonally impoverished narcissists, but it is also home to their charming and engaging counterparts who attract devotees, rise to positions of authority, and exercise power destructively. Psychoanalysis’s paradoxically appealing malignant narcissist is nowhere to be seen in the public discussion of the former president. This absence represents a missed opportunity for psychoanalysis, and raises the question of why, as a discipline, it has so readily ceded the popular interpretive ground around narcissism to less powerfully conceptualized construal’s of narcissism.
After attending this intermediate-level program, participants will be able:
1. To compare dimensional and categorical construal’s of narcissism and NPD.
2. To identify the role of emotions, positive and negative, in relationships between narcissistic leaders and their followers.
3. To formulate the dynamic of dominance and submission between successful pathological narcissists and their followers.
4. To understand narcissism not only as deficit but also as capacity.
Kernberg, O. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. Jason Aronson.
Langer, W. C. (1972). The mind of Adolf Hitler: The secret wartime report. Basic Books.
Maccoby, M. (2020). Trump’s marketing narcissistic leadership in an age of anxiety. In M. Maccoby and K. Fuchsman (ed.), Psychoanalytic and historical perspectives on the leadership of Donald Trump. Routledge.
Rosenfeld, H. (1971). A clinical approach to the psychoanalytical theory of the life and death instincts: An investigation into the aggressive aspects of narcissism. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 52, 169-178.
Zaleznik, A. (1974-75). Charismatic and consensus leaders: A psychological comparison. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 38(3), 222-238.
CE Credits? Yes
CONFIDENTIALITY AND WMAAPP POLICY
In order to protect the confidentiality of the clinical material, and to adhere to APA ethical guidelines, it is required that those attending the program be either currently licensed mental health professionals, psychoanalysts, or currently matriculated students in mental health programs (psychology, social work, psychiatry, psychoanalysis). Students are required to provide the name of their program. There will be no exceptions.
Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities.
Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities In conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during the discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. For questions, concerns or complaints, please Contact Us.
Contact Phone: 518-461-0281
Contact Email: email@example.com
2.5 CE credits are available to psychologists and psychoanalysts, and 2.5 CE credits will be provided for social workers and LMHCs.
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during the discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns or any complaints to Jyoti Swaminathan, Psy.D. (518) 461-2081.
WMAAPP is the local chapter of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association.
WMAAPP is committed to following APA ethical guidelines.
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