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Dwyer Hall, H. (2019). Mentalization-based treatment for children: a time-limited approach: by Nick Midgley, Karin Ensink, Karin Lindqvist, Norka Malberg, & Nicole Muller, Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 2017, 268 pp., £49.38 (Hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4338-2732-7; £49.38 (Kindle Edition). Psychoanal. Psychother., 33(2):136-141.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 33(2):136-141

Mentalization-based treatment for children: a time-limited approach: by Nick Midgley, Karin Ensink, Karin Lindqvist, Norka Malberg, & Nicole Muller, Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 2017, 268 pp., £49.38 (Hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4338-2732-7; £49.38 (Kindle Edition)

Holly Dwyer Hall

In this highly readable and informative book, Nick Midgley and an international team of clinician-researchers explore the role of mentalization, ‘the ability to interpret the meaning of others’ behavior by considering underlying mental states and intentions’, in the treatment of childhood disorders. The authors, trained and accomplished psychodynamic practitioners, integrate psychodynamic principals with findings from attachment and affect-regulation theory, systemic family therapy and empirical studies of mentalization to offer the first comprehensive treatment guide to a time-limited mentalizing approach to work with children. Individually their research and clinical accomplishments are impressive, and together they find a singular voice in a text written with much compassion and careful consideration of the complexities involved in working with children.

Although initially developed as a treatment method for adults with personality disorders, Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) has its roots in child analysis. The authors rightly trace these to the early work of Anna Freud (1965) and her recognition of the therapist as not only a ‘transference object’ but also a ‘developmental object’, helping children to foster new capacities. Fonagy and Target (1996, 1998) later outlined a clinical approach, psychodynamic developmental therapy, which highlighted the importance of a capacity for playfulness and enhancing reflective functioning. In Psychoanalysis and Developmental Therapy Anne Hurry (1998) further delineated the shift away from ‘interpretation and insight’ to the restoration of developmental processes and the importance of a facilitating environment (Winnicott, 1965).

[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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