Book reviews

“Handbook of Mentalizing in Mental Health Practice” – Second edition

by Anthony W. Bateman og Peter Fonagy

“Handbook of Mentalizing in Mental Health Practice” first published in 2012, has been reworked into a new and improved 2. edition with an update on the Mentalization Theory. The book is divided into; Principles (basic theory), Clinical practice (groups, youth, couples etc.) and specific applications (Diagnosis). As an indication of the development of the Mentalization theory a number of experts have contributed with new chapters on specialized approaches and more diagnoses. Key concepts such as P-factor and Epistemic trust are described in depth. All chapters are well written and a specific add-on is the good examples and cases.

“Handbook of Mentalizing in Mental Health Practice” is maybe the most important book for professionals with an interest for and a desire to learn more about the implementation of the Mentalization theory.

“Reflective Parenting: A guide to understanding what’s going on in your child’s mind.”

by Alistar Cooper and Sheila Redfern

Alistar Cooper and Sheila Redfern are the authors of this wonderful book about raising children in a mentalizing manner. The psychological theory is written in an easygoing way, which makes this book easy to understand and a pleasure to read. The main theme concerns why Mentalization and Reflective Functioning is momentous to the development of secure, socially well-balanced and mentalizing children. The book emphasizes how being able to look at oneself as a parent is essential for good parenting skills. Good parenting skills relates to the ability to reflect on your own feelings and balance these feelings in a reflective interaction with the child.

The authors stress the importance of having a family culture where parents act as role models in managing conflicts. A central point is, that conflicts are a natural phenomenon in a parent-child relation and conflicts can be helpful if parents are able to re-connect and maintain a secure relation in the situation so the child feels loved and respected.

The book also focuses on the mentalizing work with sensitive children, who in this context are neglected and traumatized children, or children with Asperger’s syndrome. This is an interesting perspective, and the book is generally characterized by the use of many everyday examples, which makes the book both relevant and meaningful to the reader.

Finally the book addresses relations within family, between siblings, friends and how to mentalize all the positive and stimulating moments in the parent-child interactions.