A New Shift? Explicit and Implicit Mentalizing in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy: A Mixed Methods Design.

Prof Doc Thesis


Spencer, R. 2017. A New Shift? Explicit and Implicit Mentalizing in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy: A Mixed Methods Design. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsSpencer, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Mentalizing refers to a capacity to think about others or oneself in terms of
intentional mental states (e.g. beliefs, desires, feelings). Mentalizing is particularly important in the early parent- infant relationship as it is thought to be the process underlying sensitive parenting and the foundation for healthy Mentalizing refers to a capacity to think about others or oneself in terms of intentional mental states (e.g. beliefs, desires, feelings). Mentalizing is particularly important in the early parent- infant relationship as it is thought to be the process underlying sensitive parenting and the foundation for healthy sychotherapy at enhancing PEM; 2) examine PEM and its associations with parental representations, infant attachment, maternal mental health, infant development and parent-infant interactions; and 3) conduct Thematic Analysis (TA) to investigate the elements of change in implicit and explicit parental mentalizing during early caregiving. This research intended to produce findings that could contribute to advancing clinical interventions aimed at fostering positive relationships with parents and their infants.
In the current study, PEM was coded on data from a study in which mothers with mental health problems and their young infants (<12 months) had been randomly allocated to parent-infant psychotherapy (n = 34) or treatment as usual (n = 31 ). The current project's quantitative findings revealed that PEM ignificantly improved over a 12-month period in both conditions (parent-infant psychotherapy and treatment as usual). PEM was significantly associated with maternal mental health, and parent-infant interactions, but was not associated with parental representations, infant attachment or infant development. TA investigated the processes of change in implicit and explicit mentalizing over the course of a year and produced two main themes: "From Turbulence to Synchronicity" and "The Outside World and Transformations". Analysis revealed that when change occurred, the relationship between parent and infant was transformed towards synchronicity within the dyad and towards resolution and re-engaging with the world outside the dyad.
Findings suggest that clinical interventions could benefit from integrating embodied and reflective processes into the therapeutic process to increase parental mentalizing and enhance the wellbeing of infants and their families.

Year2017
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/PUB.7309
Publication dates
PrintAug 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2018
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/84qz0

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