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Duncan, A. (2019). Mentalization-Based Treatment for Children: A Time-Limited Approach. J. Child Psychother., 45(1):96-99.

(2019). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 45(1):96-99

Book Reviews

Mentalization-Based Treatment for Children: A Time-Limited Approach

Adam Duncan

How much do we want to know?

In Mentalization-Based Treatment for Children: A Time-Limited Approach Nick Midgley and his co-authors have produced a coherent and accessible guide for child clinicians who are interested in learning about a new time-limited approach to working with a particular treatment group of children and their families. Mentalization-Based Treatment for Children (MBT-C) has grown out of MBT, which was originally designed and implemented for the treatment of personality disorder in adults (Bateman & Fonagy, 2016). Child psychotherapy readers may recognise the kinds of children described in this text as those who might be expected to experience serious personality problems later in life. These are children who have difficulties in ‘identifying and regulating affects’ and in forming a mental image of themselves from an ‘outside perspective’.

An important piece of the theory which underpins MBT-C is that which mentalization-orientated researchers call ‘epistemic trust’. The authors argue that this is an important ‘stance’, which human beings need to be able to develop in relation to the world, in order to learn about their own feelings and relationships. The authors cite Beebe and Stern (1977) and Fonagy and Target (1996), who have described a steady building up of an autobiography about oneself in relation to others. This is achieved by ‘pre-symbolic, procedural ... nonverbal memories of sensory and affective experiences’ (Midgley et al.

[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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