Psychoanalytic perspectives on psychopathy

Yakeley, Jessica (2022) Psychoanalytic perspectives on psychopathy. In: The Complexity of Psychopathy. Dangerous Behavior in Clinical and Forensic Psychology Series . Springer, pp. 381-412. ISBN 978-3030831554

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The neuroscientific understanding of the brain of the psychopath is gathering apace. But to guide empirical research, a theory of the psychopath’s mind is also important. One such theory of mind is the psychoanalytic. Contemporary psychoanalytic theorists offer an explanatory model of the psychopath’s personality, which encompasses the dynamic nature of his mind and its developmental origins. Such a model needs to take into account attitudes and behaviours that may appear to be antithetical to human nature – the lack of empathy and emotional attachment, the inversion of moral values, the addiction to violence, cruelty and extreme states of excitement, the triumphant manipulation and deception of others, and the stance of arrogance, grandiosity and omnipotence. It also specifies the motivation and meaning of the psychopath’s behaviour, understand his subjective experience of the world, and informs our realistic perception of the risks he poses to himself and others (Meloy & Yakeley, 2021)

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Criminology > Forensic Psychotherapy
Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Behaviour Disorders
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services

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