A Psychodynamic Model of Psychopathy

Using Gullhaugen et al. (2021) as a Reference

  • Carl B Gacono, Phd, ABAP Maverick Psychology Training and Consultation PLLC
  • Jason M Smith FBOP


Recently in Psychoanalytic Psychology, Gullhaugen et al. (2021) proposed a Dynamic Model of Psychopathy (DMP) to better understand psychopathic traits. Several issues with the authors methodology including the use of the PCL:SV as an independent measure and a small sample size (N = 16) relative to both their conceptual approach and the number of statistical analysis conducted, limit the conclusions that can be drawn from their data. Additionally, the authors discuss their findings as if the data from this study with all males could apply to women.  In this article we use the methodological issues presented in the Gullhaugen study to discuss problems with the broader psychopathy literature. We also provide a psychodynamic model of psychopathy consistent with theory and empirical data.