“I Will Fear no Evil, for I Am with Me”: Mentalization-Oriented Intervention with PTSD Patients. A Case Study
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Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients are described as suffering from a collapse of mentalization—the inability to understand and interpret their own behavior and that of others as emanating from intentional mental states. The present paper proposes an integrative focused intervention, called “traumatic mentalization change”, to improve and strengthen the mentalization abilities of PTSD patients. With the assistance of the therapist, patients learn how to embed their present self-states within their retrieved memories of the traumatic event and thus to change their traumatic narrative. These present selfstate images enrich the patients’ narratives with the emotional needs that were missing during the traumatic event by addressing mistaken attributions regarding these memories. In this way, the traumatic narrative changes, and the devastating selffeelings experienced during the original traumatic event are reduced. We demonstrate this intervention with a case study of a veteran PTSD patient who suffered from PTSD for 10 years after being involved in a terrorist attack. The neuro-clinical and clinical implications are discussed.
KeywordsPTSD Mentalization Empathy Psychotherapy Projective self
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