Mentalization Theoretical Considerations, Research Findings, and Clinical Implications
Mentalization is the capacity to perceive and interpret behavior in terms of intentional mental states, to imagine what others are thinking and feeling, and is a concept that has taken the psychological and psychoanalytic worlds by storm. This collection of papers, carefully edited by Fredric Busch, clarifies its import as an essential perspective for understanding the human psyche and interpersonal relationships. The book is divided into theoretical, research and clinical papers, reflecting how the investigators thoughtfully and purposefully pursued each of these goals. Those involved in identifying mentalization have also made consistent efforts to measure and research the concept. Thus, in addition to expanding the theoretical bases and implications of mentalization and identifying clinically useful applications, the authors describe research that scientifically grounds the concept.
Mentalization addresses and expands upon a number of implications of mentalization. These include: What are the broader implications for mentalization with regard to social and evolutionary development? How does mentalization interdigitate with other psychoanalytic models? How is mentalization systematically assessed? What clinical correlates have been found? How do we understand variations in the capacity for mentalization, even within a given individual? What are the applications of mentalization in the clinical arena, including specific disorders? Readers of this volume will find their clinical work to be more productive and their view of the human psyche broadened.
"Mentalization is a relatively new but extremely powerful concept in psychoanalysis. It bridges the neurobiologic substrate of behavior, its evolutionary significance, and its developmental origins and has become central in our understanding of affect regulation and effortful control. It has also catalyzed a fruitful dialogue among philosophy of mind, developmental psychology, and psychoanalysis. Most immediately, it has brought together psychoanalytic theoreticians, researchers and clinicians in mutually enriching interaction, and has generated new models of therapy and new ways of understanding the mechanism of action in familiar models. Fredric Busch has done a masterful job in bringing together the key persons in the field in this collection of theoretical, research and clinical studies, together with overviews by Otto Kernberg, Mary Target and Busch himself. There is no more comprehensive introduction to the contemporary place of mentalization in psychoanalytic thinking, a subject that no contemporary psychoanalyst can ignore." - Robert Michels, Training and Supervising Analyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, USA
"This fascinating and stimulating book focuses on a core aspect human mental capacity, how we perceive and understand ourselves and others, the understanding of which is of central importance to our work with every patient we treat. Dr. Busch has brought together an intellectual powerhouse team of authors, whose work spans the latest thinking about mentalization. The time spent with this work will be repaid over and over for clinicians at any stage of their careers." - Allan Tasman, Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, USA
"Dr. Busch has given us an exceptional and very timely book. The study of mentalization is arguably the most vibrant research area in psychoanalysis. Moreover, the concept of Theory of Mind is also of great interest to developmental psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists. Comprised of chapters addressing the social and evolutionary development of mentalization, its integration with other psychoanalytic models, and the clinical and research efforts currently underway in the study of reflective function, this volume is a broad-based immersion into this exciting topic. Each chapter by internationally recognized authors is erudite and lucid. It is a joy to read. In addition, but not limited to, Peter Fonagy’s engaging treatment of a mentalization-focused approach to social development, the fascinating personal and professional odysseys of Howard and Miriam Steele from the very beginning of the study of attachment, and the outstanding research of Barbara Milrod’s and Frank Yeomans’ groups on psychodynamic treatment of panic disorder and borderline personality disorder respectively, this volume also includes enlightening commentaries from Diana Diamond, Otto Kernberg, and Mary Target. In my opinion, this volume may be the best introduction to mentalization that is available." - Jerald Kay, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University, USA