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Beyond sensorimotor imitation in the neonate: Mentalization psychotherapy in adulthood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2017

Martin Desseilles*
Department of Psychology, University of Namur, Namur B-5000, Belgium. martin.desseilles@unamur.be Clinique Psychiatrique des Frères Alexiens, Henri-Chapelle, B4841, Belgium.


Despite the persuasiveness of Keven & Akins' (K&A) review, we argue that mentalization, or the ability to interpret the mental states of oneself and others, is required to construct the neonate mind, going far beyond sensorimotor imitation. This concept, informed by certain psychoanalytic and attachment theories, has produced a form of therapy called mentalization-based psychotherapy, which aims to improve emotional regulation. Our aim here is to shed light on a form of neonatal imitation that goes beyond sensorimotor imitation.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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