Mentalizing in Clinical Practice
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Mentalizing in Clinical Practice

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Mentalizing, the fundamental human capacity to understand behavior in relation to mental states such as thoughts and feelings, is the basis of healthy relationships and self-awareness. A growing evidence base supports the effectiveness of mentalizing-focused interventions in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. This volume explores wider applications, construing mentalizing as a core common factor in the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions that cuts across treatment modalities and theoretical approaches ranging from psychodynamic to interpersonal and cognitive therapies.This book distills the burgeoning literature on mentalizing for clinicians of diverse professional backgrounds. The book is divided into two parts: Understanding Mentalizing fully explicates the concept of mentalizing and its foundations in developmental research and social-cognitive neuroscience; Practicing Mentalizing presents the general principles of psychotherapeutic interventions that promote mentalizing as well as a range of current clinical applications.  Mentalizing is multifaceted -- for example, pertaining to self and others as well as explicit and implicit processes -- and links to myriad overlapping concepts including empathy, metacognition, theory of mind, mindfulness, and psychological mindedness. Two sides of research on the development of mentalizing in attachment relationships have significant clinical implications: interactions in secure attachment relationships enhance mentalizing and illuminate the conditions of optimal psychotherapeutic relationships; conversely, trauma in attachment relationships undermines the development of mentalizing and eventuates in developmental psychopathology that poses special challenges for psychotherapy. Neuroimaging is illuminating diverse brain regions that contribute to mentalizing capacity, including a "mentalizing region" in the medial prefrontal cortex that is consistently activated in mentalizing tasks; concomitantly, research on autism and psychopathy attests to the neurobiological basis of psychopathologies in which stable impairments of mentalizing are most conspicuous. In development and in psychotherapy, mentalizing begets mentalizing, as exemplified by a mentalizing stance that fosters inquisitiveness and curiosity about mental states in oneself and others; basic principles and clinical examples, including the use of transference, demonstrate the spirit and technique of mentalizing, capped off by a patient's first-hand account of mentalization-based treatment for borderline personality disorder. Attachment trauma is the wellspring of disrupted mentalizing capacity, and a focus on mentalizing provides an integrative framework for psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral treatment of trauma as well as for parenting, family, and social-systems interventions directed toward interrupting the perpetuation of trauma in relationships. Psychoeducational interventions, including patient education and structured exercises, are employed to cultivate a therapeutic alliance around mentalizing; the book includes a straightforward explanation clinicians can use with patients, "What is Mentalizing and Why Do It?" In the chapter on mentalizing interventions, the authors propose to clinicians, "You are already doing it." If the effectiveness of treatment depends on therapists mentalizing and helping their patients do so more consistently and skillfully, clinicians of all persuasions can benefit from the extensive knowledge now available to hone further their attention to this vital therapeutic process.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 433 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 498.95g
  • American Psychiatric Association Publishing
  • VA, United States
  • English
  • 4 Line drawings, unspecified; 33 Tables, unspecified
  • 1585623067
  • 9781585623068
  • 134,008

Review quote

This is an excellent book: well written, theoretically sophisticated but practical, clear, and provocative in its implications for reframing and enhancing treatment for a broad spectrum of disorders.This book is especially useful for those interested in the leading edge in psychotherapy integration; the common-factors approach to understanding psychotherapeutic effectiveness; and the integration of mind, brain, and interpersonal relations. I highly recommend it. * PsycCRITIQUES * The authors are superb teachers. It is refreshing to read this book that can heighten awareness of nuances in listening to and helping clients grow in recognizing and adapting the formulations of experience that shape their emotional responses. * Doody Enterprises *show more

About Jon G. Allen

Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., is the Helen Malsin Palley Chair in Mental Health Research; Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine; and Senior Staff Psychologist in The Menninger Clinic, Houston, Texas.Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., F.B.A., is Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis and Director of the Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology at University College London; Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, London; and Consultant to the Child and Family Program at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine.Anthony W. Bateman, M.D., F.R.C.Psych., is Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy, Halliwick Unit, St. Ann's Hospital, Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey Mental Health Trust; Visiting Professor, University College London; and Visiting Consultant, The Menninger Clinic and the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine.show more

Flap copy

Mentalizing -- the fundamental human capacity to understand behavior in relation to mental states such as thoughts and feelings -- is the basis of healthy relationships and self-awareness. Mentalizing in Clinical Practice distills the burgeoning literature on mentalizing for clinicians of diverse professional backgrounds. As growing evidence supports the effectiveness of mentalizing-focused interventions in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. This volume seeks to explore wider applications in trauma treatment, parent-child therapy, psychoeducation, and violence prevention in social systems. Part I, "Understanding Mentalizing," fully explicates the concept of mentalizing and its foundations in developmental research and social-cognitive neuroscience; Part II, "Practicing Mentalizing," presents the general principles of psychotherapeutic interventions that promote mentalizing as well as a range of current clinical applications. The book includes a straightforward explanation clinicians can use with patients, "What is Mentalizing and Why Do It?" -- and also demonstrates the ways in which clinicians are already doing it. The authors reason that if the effectiveness of treatment depends on therapists mentalizing and helping their patients do so more consistently and skillfully, clinicians of all persuasions can benefit from the extensive knowledge now available to hone further their attention to this vital therapeutic process.show more

Table of contents

About the AuthorsForeword PrefaceChapter 1. IntroductionPART I: Understanding MentalizingChapter 2. MentalizingChapter 3. DevelopmentChapter 4. NeurobiologyPART II: Practicing MentalizingChapter 5. The Art of MentalizingChapter 6. Mentalizing InterventionsChapter 7. Treating Attachment TraumaChapter 8. Parenting and Family TherapyChapter 9. Borderline Personality DisorderChapter 10. PsychoeducationAppendix: What Is Mentalizing and Why Do It?Chapter 11. Social SystemsEpilogueGlossaryReferencesRecommended ReadingIndexshow more

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