Mentalization is the ability to understand human behaviour (one’s own as well as others) in terms of inner mental states such as thoughts, feelings, wishes, and intentions (1). In other words, it is the capacity to see ourselves from the outside and others from the inside (2). There is now increasing acceptance that parental mentalization i.e. sensitivity to, and understanding of, the infant’s mental world creates the infant’s attachment security (3).
This training will explore the development of children and young people’s ability to mentalize and the impact of poor parental mentalization. It will introduce the role of language in developing mentalization skills and the implications for children and young people with language and communication difficulties.
1. Bateman A, Fonagy P. Mentalization-based treatment for personality disorders: a practical guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2016 (p3).
2. Bateman A, Fonagy P. Mentalization-based treatment for personality disorders: a practical guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2016 (p5).
3. Fonagy P, Steele M, Steele H, Moran G, Higgitt A. The capacity for understanding mental states: the reflective self in parent and child and its significance for security of attachment. Infant Mental Health Journal. 1991; 12(3): 201–218.