Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)
Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) is a form of psychodynamic therapy that is designed to treat borderline personality. The procedure of mentalizing, or creating the capacity to understand how actions are influenced by mental states, is the focus of MBT.
What to expect?
The specific techniques employed in MBT varies greatly depending upon the requirements and many interventions are found useful in the process. A therapist proceeds by asking questions that help the individual explore their own mental state or interpret them to help the individual to have a greater understanding of their own thoughts or wishes.
The firsthand goal of MBT is to enhance an individual’s ability to mentalize. For this purpose, a therapist focuses on the client’s mental state, including their feelings, thoughts, and desires. One of the initial objectives of treatment is to stabilize the expression of emotion in therapy, which indicates helping the individual have their emotions under control so that they do not act impulsively. Regulating emotional expression is also considered necessary prior to an individual’s exploration of how their mind and the minds of others work.
How does it work?
Babies and children who enjoys secure attachment to their primary caregiver (for examples, parents) frequently learn to perceive the emotions of others before understanding their own emotions. A sensitive caregiver is in all likelihood will attuned their child’s emotions and mirror them. For instance, when a child is in distress, the caregiver might show an expression of concern or worry in their own facial expression. When the child observes this expression of concern, soon they begin to recognize their own feelings and hence develop the ability to mentalize.
MBT might also enhance the capacity for mentalization in clients who did not have a secure attachment during the childhood. The basic mechanical reason for this change is the establishment of a therapeutic rapport or transference in which the mental states of self as well as others are explored and understood. The therapist can assist the individual in forming rational and coherent representations of their thoughts, behaviour and feelings. This increased and enhanced capacity for mentalization might then provide the individual with more effective understand and regulate their thoughts and feelings swiftly.
When is it used?
Researchers have claimed MBT to be an efficacious treatment for individuals suffering from borderline personality. There are also many mental health issues that involve some degree of trouble with mentalization, which including depression, eating issues, antisocial personality, and addiction. MBT can also be applied to treat them but with utmost care under confident control of the therapist. MBT have also been employed in family therapy and to improve relationships between parents and children.
Role of therapist:
Practitioners maintain a specific therapeutic stance throughout the course of therapy, although they have a wide range of techniques available to chose from. This selection process and execution of the therapy typically involves curiosity and patience as the therapist and client indulges in exploration of different perspectives. In these kind of situation, the therapist admits that different perspectives exist and questions the client about their personal experience during maintaining awareness of their own mentalization process. The therapeutic sessions might then provide a space for understanding of mental processes that occur both within therapy and in social settings that is beyond the therapy.
Fonagy, P. & Bateman, A.W. (2006). Mechanisms of change in mentalization-based treatment of BPD. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(4), p. 411-430. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20241
Mentalization-based treatment: Basic training. (n.d.). Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.
Bateman, A. & Fonagy, P. (2010). Mentalization based treatment for borderline personality disorder. World Psychiatry, 9(1), 11-15. doi: PMC2816926