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Demos, E.V. (2009). Mind to Mind: Infant Research, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis edited by E.L. Jurist, A. Slade, S. Bergner Other Press, New York, NY, 2008; 454 pp; US $28.00. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(6):1449-1455.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(6):1449-1455

Book Reviews

Mind to Mind: Infant Research, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis edited by E.L. Jurist, A. Slade, S. Bergner Other Press, New York, NY, 2008; 454 pp; US $28.00

Review by:
E. Virginia Demos

This edited volume explores the concepts of mentalization and reflective functioning, as articulated by Peter Fonagy and Mary Target and the way that these concepts are related to, or have informed or changed psychoanalytic theory and constructs such as internalization and representation, and technique. The book is organized in three major sections: ‘Mentalization and Attachment’, ‘Mentalization in Clinical and Neuroscience Research’, and ‘Mentalization in Practice’. There is considerable interrelatedness between these sections, treating the reader to a rich discourse on the usefulness, lack of clarity, or limitations of these concepts themselves, as well as many other questions relating to them. Is the capacity for mentalizing innate, or does it depend on attachment? What is the role of affect and affect regulation in mentalizing? Does the concept of mentalization inform our understanding of trauma and borderline personality dynamics? What is the relevance of neuroscience to the understanding of mentalization? What are the early precursors and the specific processes of infant-caregiver transactions related to the development of the capacity for mentalization? Has the concept of mentalization changed the way we work with patients?

One of the major issues raised in this volume is the unarticulated role of affect in the Fonagy and Target formulation of mentalization, which focuses less on the precursors and more on the developed forms of thinking about the minds of oneself and others, and so appears to emphasize cognition over affect.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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