Mentalization-Based

Continued from My Approach

Common indicators of mentalizing failures include:

  • Difficulty getting along or communicating in a relationship
  • Absence of clarity regarding your goals, preferences, values, etc.
  • Unmanageable emotions or moods – either your own or somebody else’s.
  • Misunderstandings with others that you are not able to resolve
  • Lack of a general sense of control and predictability
  • Inability to make sense of your own or another’s behavior
  • Compulsive, impulsive, or self-destructive behavior
  • Unhealthy relationship with food or exercise
  • Substance abuse
  • Attention deficits

Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) is an evidence-based treatment that promotes the development of mentalizing skills.[1] It was originally developed for those who suffer from borderline and antisocial personality disorders, which are perhaps the most difficult to treat. However, anyone who is struggling emotionally is having difficulty mentalizing, and it is the development of this skill that leads to internal strength and a robust sense of self.

I have been trained in MBT by Profs. Fonagy and Bateman, the developers of this therapy. I incorporate MBT into my approach because it is integral to successful functioning and, in my experience, it truly enhances the experience of therapy and accelerates the healing process.

One important difference between MBT and other psychodynamic therapies, is that MBT is present-focused. Some people have a keen interest in understanding their past and connecting their personal history with their current experience. Others feel less comfortable with a backward-looking approach, for any number of reasons, including memory issues or trauma. These individuals prefer to focus on their current situation, and to address the past as it becomes relevant. Unlike other present-focused therapies, that I believe, are too superficial to promote lasting improvement, MBT focuses on present experience, and promotes fundamental personality change in the most effective manner.

Click here for an MBT video clip or here for a more thorough video explanation.

[1] Bateman, A. & Fonagy, P. (2016). Mentalization-Based Treatment for personality disorders. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, p. 5. All content regarding MBT is derived from this book.

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