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Terradas, M.M. Domon-Archambault, V. Senécal, I. Drieu, D. Mikic, N. (2020). Mentalization-Based Interventions in Child Psychiatry and Youth Protection Services I: Objectives, Setting, General Principles and Strategies. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 19(3):303-320.

(2020). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 19(3):303-320

Mentalization-Based Interventions in Child Psychiatry and Youth Protection Services I: Objectives, Setting, General Principles and Strategies

Miguel M. Terradas, Ph.D., Vincent Domon-Archambault, Psy.D., Isabelle Senécal, Ph.D., Didier Drieu, Ph.D. and Natalie Mikic, Psy.D.

Many of the children who receive services in child psychiatry or are in the care of Youth Protection Services present with complex, multiple and often severe problems. Classic psychodynamic psychotherapy seems to be of little benefit to them. The majority of these children tend to not use symbolic play as a means of expressing their intrapsychic conflicts or relational difficulties and they do not verbally communicate much with clinicians. They are more likely to display an imaginative poverty that translates into boredom, motor discharge, and an inability to use the material put at their disposal for therapeutic purposes. The systematic and rigorous observations of these children in Quebec revealed that the majority of them present with severe mentalizing difficulties. They often show attitudes and behaviors linked to the prementalizing modes of psychic functioning. This article presents a mentalization-based intervention adapted to these children’s difficulties. The objectives, adaptation of the work setting, and general principles underlying this intervention are discussed. In addition, general intervention strategies are also covered. These interventions are considered as preparatory work whose principal purpose is to enable children to benefit later on from psychodynamic psychotherapy. The authors also recommend specific intervention strategies adapted to children’s predominant mode of psychic functioning. The details of these strategies will be shared in a separate article.

[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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