Somewhat simplified, you could say that mentalization is a person's ability to see themselves from the outside and others from the inside. It's both a cognitive and affective process. Cognitive since we have to interpret and draw conclusions from what we see, and affective since we have to understand what different feelings feel like.

 

It's stated that the mentalization ability is developed from attachment into adulthood. The ability to mentalize is developed through interaction with a more mature reflective ability (an adult). The child learns to understand and regulate their feelings of frustration through this process. When the child understands his or her own feelings, it's then more inclined to understand other humans’ inner states as well. The ability to mentalize demands imagination, since we can never be totally sure about other people's feelings. It's therefore fruitful to be able to generate as many hypotheses as possible.   

 

The ability to reflect on your own as well as others’ mental states is strictly human. The ability has been developed so that we can interpret, understand and predict other people's intentions and behavior. It's a fundamental ability in order to be able to function in a group. With this ability, it's more easy to cooperate. Studies have shown that children with conduct disorders are less skilled at reflecting on people's inner states.

 

Kamratkompassen is built around the recorded scenarios upon which the therapist and the child reflect. The scenarios create a foundation for the mentalizing discussion and make it possible for the child to enhance their mentalizing capacity. As a therapist, it's essential to be curious, open and appreciative. In the sessions, it's also important to be able to see things from different perspectives to stimulate the child's reflectiveness. In mentalization-based interventions, the process is more important than the content, so it's important to let the child elaborate on their answers regardless of how accurate they are.  

Mentalization