Mentalization-Based Treatment

Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is an evidence-based, manualized form of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Mentalizing involves imaginatively observing and interpreting other people’s and one’s own state of mind. The capacity to mentalize is key to making sense of our own feelings and to relating to other people, particularly those who are closest to us. The development of a child’s ability to mentalize is influenced by the quality of early relationships with caregivers; the child’s acquisition of mentalizing skills can be undermined by emotional neglect, abuse, or highly insensitive parenting. MBT seeks to improve a patient’s ability to mentalize when the patient is in stressful interpersonal situations.

Historical Context

The mentalization-based approach to treatment was developed in the context of working with patients with personality disorders and observing their temporary but ...

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