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Mentalizing, epistemic trust and the phenomenology of psychotherapy

Fonagy, P; Luyten, P; Allison, E; Campbell, C; (2019) Mentalizing, epistemic trust and the phenomenology of psychotherapy. Psychopathology , 52 pp. 94-103. 10.1159/000501526. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper seeks to elucidate the phenomenological experience of psychotherapy in the context of the theory of mentalizing and epistemic trust. We describe two related phenomenological experiences that are the domain of psychotherapeutic work. The first is the patient’s direct experience of their own personal narrative being recognised, marked and reflected back to them by the therapist. Secondly, this intersubjective recognition makes possible the regulation and alignment of the patient’s imaginative capacity in relation to our phenomenological experiences. In describing three aspects of the communication process that unfold in effective psychotherapeutic interventions – 1) the epistemic match, 2) improving mentalizing, and 3) the re-emergence of social learning – the way in which any effective treatment is embedded in metacognitive processes about the self in relation to perceptual social reality is explained. In particular, attention is drawn to wider social determinants of psychopathology. We discuss the possible mechanism for the relationship between the social-economic environment and psychopathology, and the implications of this for psychotherapeutic treatment.

Type: Article
Title: Mentalizing, epistemic trust and the phenomenology of psychotherapy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1159/000501526
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1159/000501526
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, Phenomenology, Mentalizing, Epistemic trust
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076243
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