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From The CriticsReviewer: Brett C. Plyler, M.D. (Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
Description: This is the latest book intended to establish "mentalizing as a developmental and clinical concept." It is both an introduction to mentalizing and a primer on how to use it in clinical practice.
Purpose: The purpose is to continue the process of establishing mentalizing as a developmental and clinical concept, and to instruct clinicians in its use with patients.
Audience: It is intended for any mental health practitioner seeking to learn more about mentalizing and its use.
Features: A thorough introduction to the concept of mentalizing begins the book. A review of the ways that mentalizing can be used in different psychotherapeutic arenas, from group and family-based techniques to individual adult/child interventions, follows. The second part of the book is more patient-centered and discusses specific mentalization treatments for a variety of groups, including those with borderline/antisocial personality disorders, eating disorders, and at-risk mothers/infants. There are good clinical examples and useful tables throughout. Chapters are laid out in an orderly fashion with a conclusion and suggested readings at the end.
Assessment: Though I was familiar with the concept, this book expanded my knowledge and understanding of how and where mentalizing could be used. The chapter on the assessment of mentalizing in the first section is particularly good. The second half on treatment discussed a number of patient populations (at-risk mothers, patients with eating disorders and drug addictions) that I would not have thought of as good candidates for mentalizing, but I am intrigued by the results. The writing is clear and not overly technical or verbose, and the instructions for the application of mentalizing are direct and practical. I would highly recommend this book for clinicians interested in learning about and/or using mentalizing in their practice.