Working with Antagonistic Clients Without Losing Yourself

Keynote Speaker: Ramani S. Durvasula, PhD

This program will address narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, and antagonistic personality styles First, we will focus on narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, the key diagnostic elements, etiological factors in the development of a narcissistic personality style, and also remain focused on how the issue of narcissism has pervaded the popular consciousness, and our responsibility as clinicians to understand the facets and nuances of this pattern and its impact on relationships. We will also consider the diagnosis of “narcissistic personality disorder” as postulated by the DSM-5 as well as the new trait formulations of NPD. The role of narcissistic patterns in other psychiatric disorders will also be discussed. Treatment considerations for NPD, narcissism, and comorbid patterns (e.g. narcissism in mood disorders, substance use, and the contiguity with other antagonistic personality styles will also be explored. We will also explore how clinicians can manage themselves, and the discomfort clients with these personality styles may activate. Systemically, narcissism raises numerous issues including societal incentivization of these patterns, patriarchy and authoritarian systems and the maintenance of antagonistic styles, and larger systems of oppression and invalidation and gaslighting. Understanding narcissism through a larger cultural lens is essential to inform treatment.


Ramani S. Durvasula, PhD, is the founder and CEO of LUNA Education, Training and Consulting, LLC. She is also a clinical psychologist in private practice and Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. The focus of Dr. Durvasula’s clinical, academic and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She is the author of two books on narcissistic relationships, with her third book to be released in February 2024 by Penguin. She has spoken on narcissism and narcissistic relationships with clinicians, educators and researchers around the world. Her work has been featured at TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, Bravo, numerous documentaries, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. She also produces and hosts a critically acclaimed Ambie nominated podcast - Navigating Narcissism, as well as a successful YouTube channel. Dr. Durvasula has also been active in APA Governance, serving as past-chairof the APA Committee on HIV and AIDS, past-co-chair of the Committee on Women and Psychology, past-chair of the Committee on Socioeconomic Status, and Chair of the MHSAS- STAY Training Advisory Committee of the Minority Fellowship Program. She is also a faculty member in the APA Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology.

Our Keynote presentation will be held on Saturday, April 22nd, 2023. 

Ready to register? Go to our events page here and select the conference option that best fits your needs (Friday only, Saturday only, or Full Conference)