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Mentalization Based Treatment with Traumatized Children and Their Parents

A clinical series

The series is open only for professionals doing direct work with children and families (social workers, child welfare workers, mental health professionals, psychologists, etc.)

By Victoria Stob, LCSW, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center

5 sessions, Tuesdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT, 15 hours total

Dates: Sep 6th, Sep 20th, Oct 4th, Oct 11th and Oct 18th

Location: on Zoom

Registration fee: $45

CEUs available for LCSW & LPC ($15 for all 15 hours)

Course description:

Mentalization is a therapeutic model for treating at risk parents and children suffering from trauma, abuse, and neglect, also known by the name “reflecting therapy” or “reflecting parenting”.

In recent years, attachment and mentalization theory have been used to guide and inform clinical work with complex, vulnerable adults and children, who struggle to make sense of their own experience or to understand and reflect upon the thoughts and feelings of others. Traumatized parents often have difficulty reflecting upon their children’s thoughts and feelings, at great cost to the child’s sense of trust and safety in the world. Mentalization, and particularly parental mentalization, is a key factor in parent child relationship and is thought of as promoting healthy child socioemotional development. It involves the parent’s willingness to imagine the child’s inner experiences and to see things from the child’s perspective, as well as inferring about the child’s mental states from observing the child’s behavior. Yet, parents’ ability to mentalize depends partially on the degree to which the parent’s mind was minded by a significant other, as well as on the parent’s current stress level.

The current series will review the relationship between attachment, parental mentalization and parental reflective functioning, provide examples of collapses in mentalization in the parent/child relationship and discuss ways we can work with high-risk parents and children with histories of significant and often chronic developmental trauma. The goal is to learn how to enhance parents mentalization capacities to allow them to better understand their children’s challenging behaviors and to better address their regulation needs.  The series will also address how to use mentalization practice with abused and neglected children.

Course topics:

  • The basics of attachment, metallization, and reflective functioning theory
  • The dimensions of Mentalization – Implicit and Explicit/Verbal and Embodied
  • The ways complex trauma impacts children and parent’s capacity to mentalize
  • Use of the Family Cycle with parents and children
  • Case Presentations

Lecturer bio:

Prof. Victoria Stob, MA, LCSW, Victoria Stob is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work in the Yale Child Study Center. She specializes in integrating social science-based research and theory into practicable clinical applications for high-risk children and families living in multi-generational adversity.