Conceptualizing psychopathy: A psychodynamic approach

Samuel Juni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Drawing from analytic theory and clinical conceptualization, three major types of psychopathy are detailed: Superego deficit, aggression driven, and sadism. The types of psychopathy are discussed in terms of their overlap with personality disorders. The range of sadism is charted from the enjoyment of inflicting pleasure to the borderline manifestations in compulsive reenactments in psychopathic patients. Two categories of antisocial behavior low social intelligence and poor impulse controlare elaborated clinically as inconsistent with the psychodynamic formulation of characterological psychopathy. The divergence between psychodynamic and behavioral approaches to antisocial behavior is discussed, and unresolved enigmas in the formulation of psychopathy are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-800
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • aggression driven
  • antisocial behavior
  • impulse control
  • psychopathy
  • sadism
  • social intelligence
  • superego deficit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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