Understanding the Process of Mentalization-Based Therapy for Addressing Low-Level Parental Reflective Functioning Among Parent Survivors of Child Abuse

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Wilson, Derek
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The issue that this capstone project addresses is the lack of understanding of mentalization based therapy (MBT) approaches for addressing the development of parental reflective functioning (PRF) among parent survivors of child abuse. To address this issue, the purpose of this capstone project is to provide an in-depth theoretical analysis that will critically explore the strengths, challenges, and gaps of the literature on MBT approaches for addressing parent survivors' PRF. A traditional-narrative approach was utilized to gather data from a variety of theoretical back-grounds (e.g., attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology), and literature of various research methods (e.g., qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods). This data was critically analyzed through an Affect Regulation Theory lens to consider factors of attachment style, trauma history, and interpersonal neurobiology on the context of how parent survivors relate to their children. This analysis led to the following 6 themes: the therapist's mentalizing stance; addressing epis-temic trust; following parent survivors' lead and pace; regulating parent survivors' emotional arousal; handling parent survivors' non-mentalizing modes; and assessing shifts from non-mentalizing to increased PRF. These themes may be beneficial for understanding effective and appropriate ways for therapists to support increased development of PRF among parent survivors.
parent survivors , parental reflective functioning , parent survivors , mentalization-based therapy