Minding Emotions

Cultivating Mentalization in Psychotherapy

Elliot Jurist

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
April 3, 2018
ISBN 9781462534999
Price: $35.00 $29.75
200 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
April 3, 2018
EPUB and PDF ?
Price: $35.00 $29.75
200 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (EPUB and PDF) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
200 Pages

Mentalization—the effort to make sense of our own and others' actions, behavior, and internal states—is something we all do. And it is a capacity that all psychotherapies aim to improve: the better we are at mentalizing, the more resilient and flexible we tend to be. This concise, engaging book offers a brief overview of mentalization in psychotherapy, focusing on how to help patients understand and reflect on their emotional experiences. Elliot Jurist integrates cognitive science research and psychoanalytic theory to break down "mentalized affectivity" into discrete processes that therapists can cultivate in session. Clinical vignettes are interspersed with discussions of published memoirs that examine emotions in the context of autobiographical memory. A reproducible assessment instrument (the Mentalized Affectivity Scale) can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½" x 11" size.

“This beautifully written, integrated account reflects two decades of Jurist’s thinking about one of the deepest puzzles of psychological treatment—the patient’s experience of his or her own emotion and the way this interfaces with the forces and circumstances of a lived life. Jurist brings clarity to the murky area of the phenomenology of affect. He explains the value of and identifies a coherent approach to the therapeutic focus on emotion. This extraordinary work empowers both therapist and patient to harness the power of affect to drive change in thought and behavior. An extremely significant and most welcome contribution to postmodality psychotherapy.”

—Peter Fonagy, OBE, FMedSci, FBA, PhD, Professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science and Head, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, United Kingdom

“A veritable tour de force. Jurist takes the reader on a journey that elucidates the regulation, expression, and mentalization of emotional states. His scope is impressively comprehensive, and he embodies the professor that we all wish we'd had—one who fascinates while educating. I highly recommend this volume to both experienced therapists and students in the mental health professions.”

—Glen O. Gabbard, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine

“In this excellent book, Jurist expertly guides the reader through an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of what it means to ‘work with emotions’ in psychotherapy. Drawing on a wide range of ideas from neuroscience, cognitive psychology and psychoanalysis, Jurist offers an impressive overview grounded in clear clinical and nonclinical examples. This book will be an asset to both qualified and training psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Highly recommended.”

—Alessandra Lemma, DClinPsych, Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London, United Kingdom

“Do we know what we feel? 'Aporetic emotions' inhabit us as unknown, obscure, and often confusing states of mind. Jurist knows that these emotions represent a challenge for any human being and even more for every clinician. With competence, wisdom, and empathy, he tells us how to make them more intelligible. By interweaving his ideas and research findings with autobiographical memoirs of renowned people, Jurist makes us understand what it means to identify, modulate, and express emotions—to mentalize them. This is a book for anyone who wants to build strong therapeutic alliances and be a better clinician, regardless of theoretical orientation.”

—Vittorio Lingiardi, MD, Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Minding Emotions is not only a lucid, highly intelligent, and compassionate explication of what it means to identify and mentalize emotions in clinical practice, it is that rare work that deftly integrates research from neurobiology and empirical psychology with philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, case histories, and memoir. Rather than isolating science from the therapeutic dyad and the art of narrative, Jurist makes an astute argument for their unification in this important book.”

—Siri Hustvedt, PhD, novelist, essayist, and Lecturer in Psychiatry, Weill Cornell College
Table of Contents


I. Identifying, Modulating, and Expressing Emotions

1. Identifying Emotions

2. Modulating Emotions

3. Expressing Emotions


II. Mentalized Affectivity

4. Mentalizing Emotions

5. Cultivating Mentalized Affectivity

6. Mentalized Affectivity, Therapeutic Action, and the Communication Paradigm

7. Mentalized Affectivity and Contemporary Psychoanalysis


Appendix. Mentalized Affectivity Scale

About the Author

Elliot L. Jurist, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, where he served as Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program from 2004 to 2013. His research focuses on mentalization and the role of emotions in psychotherapy. Dr. Jurist is the author of Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture, and Agency; coauthor of Affect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of the Self; and coeditor of Mind to Mind: Infant Research, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis. He is also the editor of the Guilford book series Psychoanalysis and Psychological Science and the editor of Psychoanalytic Psychology, the journal of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association. He is a recipient of the Scholarship Award from Division 39, among other honors.

Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and mental health counselors.
May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.