Names and narcissism: A clinical perspective on how parents choose names for their newborn

Meir Nadav, Michal Ephratt, Stanley Rabin, Asher Shiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents express themselves through the names they give to their children. This article, based on clinical background and practice, looks at the names parents give their children in order to examine the emotional and psychological processes motivating these parents. Specifically, we will look at narcissism, since patients with narcissistic deprivation, in particular, tend to give their children names which often reflect their own deprivations. After a short presentation of healthy and pathological narcissism, and an onomastic-linguistic description of Hebrew given names as the semantic and morphological product of condensation and displacement, we merge the two presentations. We analyze authentic clinical cases to illustrate the interplay within this framework between early self, self-object experiences, and conflicts that emerge in the process of providing names and vice versa. The data for this paper is drawn from psychotherapeutic encounters with Israeli - Jewish patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Displacement
  • Given name
  • Name-formation
  • Narcissistic deprivation
  • Psychoanalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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