Mentalization Based Treatment

What is Mentalization? Mentalization is the psychological process people use to understand different mental states, which includes emotions, thoughts, desires, beliefs and intentions.

Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) is an evidence-based treatment, developed by Peter Fonagy and Anthony Bateman, that was originally designed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder in adults. Newer research has expanded this treatment model for adolescents (MBT-A) to assist with the development of their mentalization processes, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem and coping mechanisms. MBT may additionally help individuals with a wide range of other psychiatric diagnoses, including major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and personality disorders.

MBT might be a good fit if you:

  • Would like to learn to make meaning and find hope in adversity

  • Would like to determine a sense of purpose

  • Want to learn to communicate and solve your own problems

  • Would like to feel more connected with others

  • Frequently jump to conclusions/have all-or-nothing thinking

  • Are commonly found “venting” with others

  • Would like to learn more about your values and communication style

  • Lack in emotional expression (or feel TOO emotional)

  • Frequently wonder: “what is wrong with me” or “what is wrong with them”

  • Commonly misread the intentions of others

  • Feel as though others “walk on eggshells” around you

  • Have difficulty articulating your thoughts

  • Don’t understand how the past, present and future relate with each other in your life

  • Seem to make the same mistakes over and over

  • Feel as though there is something missing

MBT Frequently Asked Questions:

What can I expect in treatment?
You will first have an initial comprehensive assessment with a therapist. The next few sessions will include developing a collaborative case formulation (which your therapist will create with you) that will include an outline of your goals and objectives in treatment. Treatment will include participation in a rolling admission of 12 weeks of MBT group, and an average of twelve months weekly individual therapy sessions.

How is MBT different from DBT?
MBT does not specifically emphasize skills training using handouts and worksheets within the DBT Skills Manual. Instead, MBT focuses primarily on attachment within relationships. MBT and DBT may coincide at times throughout therapy, and one is welcome to attend both DBT and MBT skills groups.

You can expect your therapist to be:

Your therapist will also ask a LOT of questions
Expect to be interrupted many times to clarify your story