Mentalization and Motherhood

Posted on May 26, 2013 in Happenings

Mentalization and Motherhood

Margie Stuchbery was invited to speak to perinatal Psychologists in Brisbane on ‘Mentalization and Motherhood’.

Mentalization is:
Implicitly and explicitly interpreting the actions of oneself and other as meaningful on the basis of intentional mental states (e.g., desires, needs, feelings, beliefs, & reasons) (Fonagy & Bateman)

Mentalizing is an imaginative skill that can be present to a greater or lesser degree, and involves the flexibility to be able to generate multiple perspectives on the fly. We mentalize in order to adaptively predict and justify our own and others actions. We mentalize to regulate our emotions and impulses. We mentalize in order to have successful social relationships. Life without mentalizing is fraught and unpredictable.

Mentalizing capacity develops during childhood within the context of a secure attachment relationship with a parent who can mentalize the child’s experience and in doing so, foster mentalizing capacity in the developing mind of the child.