Mentalization in CALM psychotherapy sessions: helping patients engage with alternative perspectives at the end of life

Shaw, Chloe, Chrysikou, Vasiliki, Lanceley, Anne, Lo, Chris, Hales, Sarah, and Rodin, Gary (2019) Mentalization in CALM psychotherapy sessions: helping patients engage with alternative perspectives at the end of life. Patient Education and Counseling, 102 (2). pp. 188-197.

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Objective: To identify how therapists invite patients with advanced cancer to engage with alternative perspectives about their illness trajectory and their end of life.

Methods: Sequences of talk in which a therapist introduced a patient to alternative perspectives, were transcribed and analysed using the method of conversation analysis.

Results: The analysis identifies one subtle way a patient is invited to consider an alternative perspective relating to their disease progression. Meaning expansion enquiries invite the patient to expand on the meaning of an utterance and in doing so, implicitly problematize the singularity of the patient’s assumptions, without directly challenging them. The questions work as preliminary moves, providing the patient with the opportunity to expand on their assumptions. This enables the therapist to subsequently present an alternative perspective in a way that incorporates the patient’s expanded perspective.

Conclusion: The analysis reveals a skilful way in which therapists can cautiously and collaboratively introduce a patient to alternative perspectives concerning end-of-life, without invalidating the patient’s perspective in this particularly delicate context.

Practice Implications: Whilst mentalization is considered an important therapeutic process, the present study reveals precisely how this phenomenon can be enacted in therapy and within the particularly challenging context of end-of-life.

Item ID: 69200
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-5134
Keywords: Mentalization, Conversation analysis, End-of-Life, Psychotherapy, Questions, Palliative care, Psychoanalytic, Supportive-expressive, Qualitative Research, Mortality
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: University Health Network Department of Psychiatry, Canadian Institute of Health Research, (CIHR), Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) Canada, Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute, Ontario Cancer Institute, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (OMOHLTC)
Projects and Grants: CIHR #MOP106473
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 01:37
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200105 Treatment of human diseases and conditions @ 100%
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