Affect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of the Self
Winner of the 2003 Gradiva Award and the 2003 Goethe Award for Psychoanalytic Scholarship
Arguing for the importance of attachment and emotionality in the developing human consciousness, four prominent analysts explore and refine the concepts of mentalization and affect regulation. Their bold, energetic, and encouraging vision for psychoanalytic treatment combines elements of developmental psychology, attachment theory, and psychoanalytic technique. Drawing extensively on case studies and recent analytic literature to illustrate their ideas, Fonagy, Gergely, Jurist, and Target offer models of psychotherapy practice that can enable the gradual development of mentalization and affect regulation even in patients with long histories of violence or neglect.
Provides an exhaustive review of psychoanalytic and developmental psychological research. Employs a truly impressive array of detailed and engaging case studies. Puts forth a comprehensive theory for the way in which the abilities to mentalize (make and use mental representations of your own and other people's emotional states) and affect regulate (control one's own emotions as is appropriate to environment) can determine a person's successful development. Discusses the ways in which bad or insufficient parenting can leave children unable to modulate and interpret their own feelings, as well as the feelings of those around them. Considers the implications for personality disorders and general psychological problems of self-confidence, etc. Evaluates the role of psychoanalytic therapy in addressing this problem in patients, by teaching them in later life to develop these cognitive/emotional capabilities.
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