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How Couples Counseling can Help Male Narcissists

The general consensus is that Narcissism is untreatable. However, Dr. David B. Hawkins, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of The Marriage Recovery Center has found that with SOME men with limited narcissistic traits, couples counseling combined with individual work, can be effective.

How Couples Counseling can Help Male Narcissists

Narcissism and its impact on relationships have garnered significant attention, with varying opinions on its treatability and potential for change. In this article, we will explore a contrarian perspective and delve into the possibility of using couples counseling to address narcissistic traits in men. While some assert that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is untreatable, we’ll examine the idea that NPD exists on a spectrum and that interventions, particularly couples counseling, can bring about positive change.

Understanding Narcissism on a Spectrum

Narcissism, like many other emotional problems, exists on a spectrum. Rather than a binary label of being a narcissist or not, individuals can exhibit mild, moderate, or severe narcissistic tendencies. For those dealing with partners displaying narcissistic traits, it is crucial to recognize this spectrum to understand the potential for change and growth in the relationship.

Challenging the Notion of Untreatability

The prevailing belief that NPD is untreatable can be disheartening for partners of individuals with narcissistic traits. While it is true that some cases of severe NPD may be challenging to address, it is essential to consider the effectiveness of intervention strategies before making definitive judgments.

The Power of Couples Counseling for Narcissists

Contrary to popular belief, couples counseling can be a powerful tool in dealing with narcissistic traits within a relationship. Dr. David Hawkins, a psychologist with over 30 years of experience, has treated nearly 2,000 couples at the Marriage Recovery Center and witnessed remarkable results with couples counseling for narcissists.

Understanding the Role of Intervention

Any problem, whether medical, dental, spiritual, or emotional, requires intervention for resolution. The same applies to narcissistic traits in relationships. Ignoring the problem or simply hoping for change without taking action will likely lead to persistence of the issues. Thus, intervention becomes crucial in initiating the path towards transformation.

The Essence of Intervention

Effective intervention entails making a firm decision to disrupt destructive patterns in the relationship. It involves a commitment to work together and initiate change in a supportive environment.

Emphasizing Empathy and Emotional Connection

Couples counseling for narcissists can focus on cultivating empathy and emotional connection in the relationship. Addressing issues of entitlement, lack of empathy, grandiosity, and thin-skinned emotions is crucial during the counseling process.

Setting Boundaries as a Transformative Step

Boundaries are a vital aspect of intervention. Partners of narcissists must be willing to set clear boundaries that define what behaviors they will no longer tolerate. These boundaries are an essential tool in driving change.

The Role of Intensive Couples Counseling

Effective couples counseling for narcissists should not be limited to short weekly sessions. Intensive couples counseling, where partners engage in longer and more frequent sessions, provides a more comprehensive and transformative approach.

Cultivating Empathy and Validation

In couples counseling, the focus should be on helping the narcissistic partner cultivate empathy and learn to validate their mate’s thoughts and feelings. This is a crucial step towards emotional growth and healthier communication.

Learning Emotional Regulation

Narcissists often struggle with emotional regulation and may be unable to hold onto their own feelings while attending to their partner’s emotions. Couples counseling can provide the tools to manage emotions effectively and maintain healthier emotional bonds.


The idea of addressing narcissistic traits through couples counseling challenges conventional beliefs surrounding the treatability of narcissism. By recognizing the spectrum of narcissistic tendencies and embracing the power of intervention, couples can embark on a journey of transformation.

ntensive couples counseling, empathy cultivation, boundary-setting, and emotional regulation can lead to positive change and healing within the relationship. Remember, every individual and relationship is unique, but with commitment and professional guidance, the path to growth and healing can become a reality.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: The Importance of Depth Character Change in Narcissism

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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