Mentalization is the ability to understand one’s own and others’ behaviors and motivation in terms of underlying mental states—that is, from thoughts, feelings, wishes, and desires; it is a human capability that underpins everyday interactions. Mentalizing is therefore a fundamental psychological process and thus interfaces with all major mental health disorders and has generic applicability in psychiatric care. Loss of mentalizing leads to disorganized social and personal relationships as well as emotional dysregulation and mental health symptoms.

Mentalization based treatment (MBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that focuses on increasing an individual’s capacity to mentalize in contexts in which it is inappropriately lost. In replicated randomized controlled trials, it has been found to be superior to usual treatment in a range of outcomes including service use, self-harm, ...

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