Open Psychology Research Centre, PHeW, Psychology

Openness, psychoanalysis, mentalisation and trust: An interview with Prof. Peter Fonagy

Dr David Kaposi, a psychotherapist and the leader of the Psychology of Health and Wellbeing (PHeW) strand in the School talks to the renowned psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, Professor Peter Fonagy about openness, in relation to psychoanalysis, mentalisation, and epistemic trust. Watch the interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ob20d38V14

Professor Fonagy, who teaches at UCL and is also the chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre, has a unique career that spans clinical practice, theoretical writing, executive experience and the development of a treatment method that is achieving wider and wider currency.

In the interview, Professor Fonagy engages with the topics with gusto. We learn how psychoanalysis explores depth but has difficulty accommodating  different perspectives; and how empirical research is necessary yet unavoidably delimits our field of vision according to its methodological aims. So we must strive to be open, despite the fact that for deep engagement this openness has to be bracketed.

We then learn about mentalisation (i.e., understanding others in terms of mental states), mentalisation-based therapy and epistemic trust – concepts that appear very simple when they function well yet lead to devastating consequences when they break down. So, if we follow along the path that Professor Fonagy lays out in the interview, what might appear on the surface as a matter of course (that I want you to understand me) is inescapably implicated with the deepest of human needs and capacities: our need to be understood and our capacity to trust.

And the interview follows a special path as well. What starts as a conversation on topics, as a discussion on openness, becomes open itself: what you can see in this interview is, hopefully, not just an interview about openness, but an open mind in action.

Prof. Fonagy’s research interests align closely with the Psychology of Health and Wellbeing (PHeW) research strand in the School. This interview is part of the lead up to the Opening Psychology research centre launch. Read more about the research centre and the launch here  OPRe Centre Website and register free to attend other presentations.

Read about David Kaposi here: https://www.open.ac.uk/people/dk3936

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