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Title: Mentalization and psychotherapy : the relationship between mentalizing and treatment outcome
Author: Hammond, Ruth Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6375
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The construct 'mentalization' refers to the ability to understand the meanings of behaviour in terms of mental states (e.g thoughts, desires, beliefs, intentions). Some researchers have hypothesised that mentalizing is the key underlying process in the effectiveness of all psychotherapeutic treatments, regardless of the theoretical approach of the therapist. A review of the empirical evidence for the effectiveness of mentalization-based interventions and other interventions that measured mentalization in relation to treatment outcome was carried out. The review found that although there is some evidence that such interventions are effective, there is little current evidence that mentalization-based interventions are effective because they increase the capacity to mentalize. One reason for this may be that the current measures used to evaluate mentalization are, at present, costly and time-consuming. To address this lack of evidence relating to mentalizing and therapy outcome, an empirical study was carried out. The study aimed to investigate whether the mentalizing capacity of the client at the start of treatment; and the change in mentalizing capacity during the course of treatment, is related to outcome in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and person-centred counselling (PCC}. The current study involved the development of a more efficient observer-rated measure of mentalization. The therapy audiotapes of 50 mothers with anxiety disorders who had received 8 sessions of either CBT or PCC were coded for mentalization at the beginning and at the end of their treatment. Regression analyses showed that the client's capacity for mentalization at the start of treatment significantly predicted treatment outcome but change in mentalization capacity did not. If mentalization predicts treatment outcome, then it may be important to tailor therapeutic interventions to an individual's mentalizing ability. Limitations of the study and further implications are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available