Mentalization approach and emotional regulation.

Leila Dirani | 28-11-2023 | Timing: 3:00 – 7:00 pm


Emotions can be difficult to handle in some children, either because children lack the verbal fluidity, or because they are not used to express their emotions, or because simply their developmental stage does not allow verbal expression of emotions.

Parenting and education aim at developing in children good manners, and social skills. This is usually done through corrective behaviors and the acquisition of good social manners. However, focusing on changes in behavior may overlook emotional difficulties. The child will feel not heard and not understood, even more not accepted. This situation is likely to increase the behavioral difficulties. This workshop will start with a definition of the concepts of emotional regulation and mentalization approach. It will shed lights on the child-parent relationship and how a better attuned communication enhances adaptive behaviors and regulates emotions.


Dr. Leyla Akoury Dirani is a child and adolescent psychologist, associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry of the American University of Beirut. Her clinical practice, teaching and research focus on vulnerable children and their parents. Starting her career as a clinician in 1986, she has developed between 1987 and 2000 two leading services in the country: inclusive education for children with special education needs, and a specialized program for children with autism. She has also contributed to the establishment of national policies on child protection. In addition, she had developed a child protection program at the American University of Beirut Medical Center as well as trained social workers, police, and judges in dealing with maltreated children.
Dr. Leyla Akoury Dirani’s pioneer work has been extended to the regulation of the psychology field. She has steadily worked on the Licensing of Lebanese psychologists (law issued in 2017), then the creation of the Lebanese Order of Psychologists (Law issued in January 2022) and is its first president since March 2022.
Dr. Leyla Akoury Dirani academic career started in 1987 at Saint Joseph University- Beirut where she held leadership positions contributing to the establishment of two university degrees: speech therapy and psychomotor therapy. She has joined the Department of psychiatry at the American University of Beirut in 2008 as a clinician, teacher and mentor, and researcher. There, she led the Division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology, founded the Mental Health Academy, and designed the Child and adolescent track of the Clinical psychology training program of the department of psychiatry.
Her research interests revolve around the adaptation of assessment tools, the development of culturally sound psychological interventions for children and their parents.