An Introduction to Mentalizing Theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter introduces the basic concepts of mentalization. It provides a working definition and discusses the several dimensions involved. The chapter introduces mentalization-based treatment – now used to treat a range of mental health problems. Mentalization can be described as taking place in four dimensions, which have to be balanced in order for people to function well enough in the social world. The experience of the child grows, and from about seven years on, the young person starts to have access to memories of inner states to try and understand self and others. In the theory of mind literature, there is not much discussion about how mentalization develops in adolescence and beyond. Treatment based upon these was developed and evaluated in work with patients with borderline personality disorder. Mentalization-Based Treatment is by now an evidence-based form of treatment, with a protocol and a set of qualitative standards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMentalization-Based Treatment for Adolescents
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Treatment Guide
EditorsTrudie Rossouw, Maria Wiwe, Ionna Vrouva
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429323928
ISBN (Print)9780367341015
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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