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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2007 Sep;15(5):323-39.

Eating one's words: Part III. Mentalisation-based psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa--an outline for a treatment and training manual.

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Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Lillehammer University College, Norway.


This paper presents a new outline for psychotherapy with persons with anorexia nervosa. 'Model on mentalisation' is the intellectual and empirical framework for this contribution. Mentalisation is defined as the ability to understand feelings, cognitions, intentions and meaning in oneself and in others. The capacity to understand oneself and others is a key determinant of self-organisation and affect regulation, and is acquired in early attachment relationships. Impaired mentalisation is documented and described as a central psychopathological feature in anorexia nervosa. Psychotherapeutic enterprise with individuals with compromised mentalising capacity should be an activity that is specifically focused on the rehabilitation of this function, with special emphasis on how the body is representing mental states. The paper describes psychotherapeutic goals, stances and techniques. It is intended that this outline will be further developed into manuals as a basis for therapy, training and research.

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