Promoting mentalizing in experiential psychoeducational groups: From agency and authority to authorship

Bull Menninger Clin. 2011 Dec;75(4):315-43. doi: 10.1521/bumc.2011.75.4.315.


The authors collaborated in refining a psychoeducational group on mentalizing--attending to mental states in self and others--that has been conducted for several years in the Professionals in Crisis program at The Menninger Clinic. The group is intended to promote active engagement with the treatment program as a whole. Toward this end, the group leaders also advocate patient initiative and responsibility, albeit from contrasting perspectives. Coming from the tradition of a similar institution, the Austen Riggs Center, the senior author imported the concept of "authority" to complement the junior author's emphasis on "agency" at The Menninger Clinic. The group leaders then converged on "authorship" as a means of highlighting narrative construction as central to mentalizing in this psychotherapeutically oriented inpatient treatment program. This article chronicles this continuing evolution of the psychoeducational group and presents the experiential exercises the authors have developed to enhance patients' mentalizing in the treatment program. The article concludes with a discussion of the wider applicability of this intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Narration
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapeutic Processes*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Texas
  • Theory of Mind*