General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Mentalization from a Clinical Perspective: Research and Practice
Language EN
Module lecturer dr Monika Jańczak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2022/2023 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 000


This course takes 7 meetings, 3 hours each meeting (4 teaching hours).

Class attendance is not mandatory, but highly recommended. 

When: usually Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. Exact dates: 24.03., 5.04.(Wednesday, 9-12:00 a.m), 28.04., 12.05., 19.05., 2.06., 14.06. (Wednesday, 9-12:00 a.m)

First introduction meeting: Wednesday, 8 March, 10-11:30 a.m. room 70, building AB, Ogrody Campus, Szamarzewskiego 89 St.

Where: Ogrody Campus, Szamarzewskiego 89 St. 

Module aim (aims)

The course aims to introduce students to the contemporary theory of mentalization and its applications in the context of individual psychotherapy. Mentalization will be discussed as a regulatory process crucial for an individual’s adaptive and maladaptive functioning. Detailed knowledge will be provided on the complex nature of mentalizing and its relation to psychopathology. Students will become aware of the significance of addressing mentalization in the context of professional help. They will develop basic skills in diagnosing and promoting mentalizing in clinical practice.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Basic course of clinical psychology/counselling/psychotherapy.

Assesment methods: written exam.


On successful completion of this course, a student will be able to:

Define mentalization as a multidimensional concept and demonstrate its diverse theoretical background.

Understand mentalizing as a regulatory process crucial for self-regulation and interpersonal functioning and recognize mentalizing in relation to other psychological mechanisms.

Describe the psychosocial determinants of reduced level of mentalization in light of the latest research findings.

Understand the role of mentalization deficits in psychopathology and is familiar with various types of mentalization deficits.

Indicate manifestations of optimal or reduced level of mentalization in the context of individual psychotherapy and develop basic skill in diagnosing and promoting mentalization in clinical practice.



The definition of mentalizing. Different theoretical backgrounds of mentalizing: cognitive, psychoanalytic, and integrative perspective.


Mentalization as a regulatory process in relation to other psychological mechanisms. Self-regulative and interpersonal functions of mentalizing.


Development of mentalization in the attachment context.


Detailed insight into the mentalizing process: online and offline mentalization, mentalizing in close relationships, four dimensions of mentalizing, the two faces of mentalization disorders: hypomentalization and hipermentalization.


Research on mentalizing in psychopathology. Mentalization deficits in personality disorders and other clinical diagnosis.


Application of the mentalization theory in individual psychotherapy. An introduction to Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT).


Extended psychodynamic model of mentalization disorders: mentalizing at different levels of personality organization.


Disturbed mentalizing in the context of the patient-therapist relationship.

Reading list

Compulsory reading

1.Fonagy P, Luyten P. A developmental, mentalization-based approach to the understanding and treatment of borderline personality disorder. Dev Psychopathol. 2009 Fall;21(4):1355-81. doi: 10.1017/S0954579409990198. PMID: 19825272.
2.Jańczak, M. O. (2021). What’s on your mind? A Guide for Mentalization Assessment in Adults. Wydawnictwo Rys. (pp. 13-36)

2. Jańczak, M. (2018). Mentalization in clinical practice - a psychodynamicperspective. Psychoterapia, 4(187), 5–17

Further reading

3. Kernberg, O. (2011) Mentalization, Mindfulness, Insight, Empathy, and Interpretation. En: The Inseparable Nature of Love and Aggression. Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives By Otto F. Kernberg, M.D. Ed: American Psychiatric Publishing. Washington, DC London England. Cap 3,pag: 57-79

4. Bateman, A., Fonagy, P., & American Psychiatric Association Publishing (Eds.). (2019). Handbook of mentalizing in mental health practice (Second edition). American Psychiatric Association Publishing.