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(p. 3) What is mentalizing? 

(p. 3) What is mentalizing?
(p. 3) What is mentalizing?

Anthony Bateman

and Peter Fonagy

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date: 23 September 2021

This chapter constitutes a basic layout of the theoretical framework of mentalizing. Mentalizing is defined and the four different mentalizing dimensions are explained: automatic/controlled, self/other, internal/external, and cognitive/affective. The context-driven and relationship-specific nature of mentalizing is also set out. The chapter also explains the three nonmentalizing modes—the teleological, psychic equivalence, and pretend modes, which come to the fore when mentalizing breaks down. In addition, the chapter explains the concept of the alien self and its significance during moments of mentalizing collapse, and the possible serious behavioral implications of this. The chapter finishes with an introduction to the concept of epistemic trust—that is, trust in social communication from others. The clinical implications of recent developments in the field of epistemic trust are laid out in the three communication systems that underpin effective treatment.

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