Peter Fonagy, keynote at ESCAP 2015 Madrid

Creator of mentalization based therapy

Peter Fonagy’s work has been primarily focused on early social experience, identifying formative aspects of the family environment which influence subsequent personality functioning, including the quality of social relationships, future wellbeing and mental health.

Professor Peter FonagyHis longitudinal studies which linked the quality of parent-infant attachment to theory of mind development have important implications for strategies for early prevention.

In collaboration with Montague & Strathearn, Fonagy showed that the parents' attachment history (quality of relationships to their own parents), assessed before the birth of their child, predicted the strength of their reward system’s response to the infants and identified a potential neural mediation for the transgenerational transmission of patterns of attachment. The link between human attachment and social cognition led Bateman, Fonagy and colleagues to develop a model of and a highly effective treatment approach for borderline personality disorders (BPD). Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) is now one of the two evidence-based psychological treatments used for severe personality disorders and is widely practiced in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Outcome Research and Effectiveness
As a separate line of work, Fonagy contributed to establishing the evidence-based movement in psychological therapy, including founding the Centre for Outcome Research and Effectiveness at UCL which has been responsible for nineteen out of twenty of the NICE guidelines for treatment of mental health problems. He has chaired the NICE guideline development group  on childhood and adolescent depression and was responsible for developmental contributions on the ASPD guidelines and has served on the conduct disorder guidelines group. He is director of the Integrated Mental Health Programme of UCL Partners Academic Health Science Partnership.

He is involved in several large studies of psychosocial treatments for adolescents including multisite studies of the treatment of conduct problems and depression (with Goodyer), and smaller scale RCTs of borderline personality disorder, self-harm, eating disorder, and treatment resistant depression.He is director of the Integrated Mental Health Programme of UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership.

Fonagy has published over four hundred peer reviewed papers, seventeen books and more than 225 chapters over a scientific career spanning almost thirty years. He has published in high impact journals including Science, Child Development, The American Journal of Psychiatry and Archives of General Psychiatry. In 2004 he was winner of the Lancet Paper of the Year award. He has been keynote lecturer in the most prestigious international meetings including the World Congress of Psychiatry, the World Congress of Psychotherapy and the World Association of Infant Mental Health.
Peter Fonagy has received many international honours including the Sigourney Prize on two occasions (for his organizational contribution as Chair of the IPA Research Committee and for his original research work), the Goethe Prize, the Sigmund Freud Prize of the City of Vienna, the Millennium Prize for Contributions to Child Psychiatry and is honorary member of several scientific bodies. He was twice invited to address the Annual Creative Global Leadership Summit, New York and has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1997. 

Fonagy is a Fellow of the British Academy and the American Association for Psychological Science and was elected to Honorary Fellowship by the American College of Psychiatrists. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from several national and international professional associations, including the British Psychological Society and the World Association for Infant Mental Health. In 2013, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to psychoanalysis and clinical psychology.

He is director of the Integrated Mental Health Programme of UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership

Dr Peter Fonagy is a member of the ESCAP International  Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB)(Source: University College London)



Watch Peter Fonagy’s main lecture at the 2007 ESCAP Congress in Florence (Italy).

ESCAP 2015 Congress in Madrid (banner)