The Psychology of Mentalizing


Pia Tohme Khalaf, PhD – Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Psychology Program Lead, Social & Education Sciences (SES) Department, School of Arts & Sciences, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Rudy Abi-Habib, PhD – Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Education and Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY036000; PSY007000; PSY039000

This book aims to bring together recent research in the field of mentalizing. This mental capacity has been defined as the ability to keep the mind in mind, understanding overt behaviors in terms of their underlying emotional basis. The literature converges on the highlighted role of mentalizing in promoting healthy emotional development across the lifespan, emerging within the context of a secure parent-child attachment relationship. In other words, a parent can only understand the emotional world of their child through curiosity and questioning, providing a sense of safety and modeling for the child to be able to experiment and better make sense of their internal world, and thus themselves. This book starts off with a brief history of the development of the construct of mentalizing, from early psychoanalytic writing to its recent endorsement within the neuropsychoanalytic field. The focus then turns to the concept of epistemic trust and its crucial role in the development of mentalizing, whether as part of the parent-child and teacher-student relationships, or through more mature supervisory relationships. The book closes with two chapters focused on mentalizing across cultures, with a special focus on the Arab world and the role played by mentalizing in breaking the intergenerational transmission of war trauma. The authors of the various chapters are mentalizing specialists and have extensive experience working on the clinical applications and research development of this construct.

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Editor’s ORCID iD

Pia Tohme Khalaf0000-0002-6608-832X
Rudy Abi-Habib0000-0002-6387-0228

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