Thinking Versus Mentalization

Robin Tipple


In this discussion paper, aimed at promoting debate within the profession of Art Therapy and Art Psychotherapy, I argue that mentalization provides us with a narrow intellectualist account of mind and represents a poor alternative to thinking. I give examples of how mind might appear in everyday verbal exchanges, and I suggest that attending to the use of words that refer to the mind and thought, would enable us to see how the cultural and social was necessary to our thinking, both in everyday situations, and in the clinical space. I then argue that art therapy in adopting the mentalization construct might distract practitioners from the social, cultural, material and political understanding that enables us to explore and critique clinical practices.

Keywords: Mentalize, Thinking, Art Therapy and Art Psychotherapy. 

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