Mentalising in attachment contexts

Authored by: Patrick Luyten , Peter Fonagy

The Routledge Handbook of Attachment: Theory

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415538268
eBook ISBN: 9781315762098
Adobe ISBN: 9781317647157

10.4324/9781315762098.ch6

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Abstract

Attachment and mentalising are two notions that are often mentioned in the same breath; and correctly so. Mentalising or reflective functioning is the capacity to envision ourselves and others in terms of intentional mental states such as feelings, desires, wishes, goals, values, and attitudes (Allen et al. 2008; Luyten et al. 2012b). This capacity, which is fundamental in our ability to navigate what is essentially an interpersonal world, has its roots in attachment relationships. It first develops in the context of attachment relationships and remains intimately tied to attachment relationships across the life span. It is therefore most appropriate that this volume includes a discussion of their relationships.

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