Introducing mentalization and its role in mental health practice
CPD    

Introducing mentalization and its role in mental health practice

Liz Cracknell Joint Programme Lead, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Kantor Centre of Excellence, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn about the concept of mentalization

  • To understand how mentalization occurs in everyday life

  • To be able to use mentalization to support patients in practice

The theory of mentalization describes the ability of individuals to make sense of their own and others’ behaviour in terms of mental states such as feelings, thoughts, beliefs and intentions. Mentalization is fundamental to people’s ability to manage relationships and emotions. Also, the process of mentalizing is core to the establishment of the therapeutic relationship and is a common factor in all therapeutic approaches. As such, mentalization is relevant to nurses and others working in a range of mental healthcare settings with any age group. This article introduces the theory of mentalization, including an explanation of its central principles, how individuals learn to mentalize during childhood, and how the ability to mentalize fluctuates in response to stress.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1520

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

liz.cracknell@annafreud.org

Conflict of interest

Liz Cracknell is involved in the development and dissemination of mentalization-based approaches and is employed by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, a charity which gains financially from training in such approaches

Cracknell L (2020) Introducing mentalization and its role in mental health practice. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1520

Published online: 15 September 2020

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