Psychotherapy and the Communication Paradigm

Epistemic Trust and Vigilance, Mentalization and Mentalized Affectivity

Public Lecture and Clinical Workshop by Professor György Gergely (Budapest) and Professor Elliot Jurist (New York)

Recent research advances in developmental science, infant social cognition and social cognitive neuroscience have led to significant new discoveries concerning the origins of early understanding of the social mind in infants. These results give rise to a novel paradigm, in which differentiating self and others and representing them as communicative social and mental agents are viewed as an evolved competence already present from the beginning in preverbal infants.

This new approach contrasts with standard developmental accounts where the basic capacity to mentalize is considered to be a developmental achievement appearing only at around four years of age, and which is inherently related to the quality of early caregiver-infant attachment interactions. The lecture explores how various early forms of communicative abuse involving violations of basic epistemic trust and the presumption of communicative relevance that characterises the social communicative instinct can lead to the kinds of deficits in trust-based mentalization and communicative dysfunctions as found in different types of adult psychopathology.

Implications of these research findings for the therapeutic discourse and technical issues in psychotherapy will be elaborated. The talk will then highlight how and to what degree therapeutic interventions can re-establish communicative trust and improve relevance-based mind monitoring in psychotherapy. A second focus here is on how mentalized affectivity is part of the larger aim of psychotherapy, so as to improve or restore the capacity to communicate. Strategies on how to cultivate mentalized affectivity in psychotherapy will be developed and the notion of truthfulness as underlying mentalized affectivity will be introduced.

Friday, 23 March, 2018, 18:30–20:00
Saturday and Sunday, 24–25 March, 2018, 9:15–17:00


IPU Berlin, Stromstr. 2, Auditorium 1 (3rd Floor), 10555 Berlin

The workshop is certified by the Berlin Chamber of Psychotherapist

Event Flyer (PDF)