Mentalisation – Definition

Mentalisation – Definition

= the ability to make sense of our own actions and communication, als well as those of others, in tems of intentions, wishes, desires and feelings. This ability is important in enabling us to regulate our emotions and impulses and in developing fulfilling, meaningful relationships.

Mentalisation Base Therapy (MBT) is a psychotherapy to improve this ability.

Who is MBT for?

Mentalising is a normal everyday skill we all use. This skill is less well developed or easily lost for those who meet criteria for a diagnosis of borderline disorder. MBT is used to help treat people who meet this criteria.

What problems can MBT help with?

MBT has been developed to help people who have had long term problems with overwhelming and intense emotional distress, which has led them to

• engage in impulsive often self- destructive behaviour

• feel mistrustful of others

• feel that people are mainly motivated by bad intent.

Purpose of MBT

The objective of MBT psychotherapy is to provide a safe, structured environment to help:

• enhance understanding about thoughts and feelings about oneself and others

• learn how these thoughts and feelings affect one’s responses and actions.

Enhancing the ability to mentalise can :

• help understanding own emotional responses to situations and rapidly changing, unexplained mood changes.

• help with difficulties reading other people’s responses to oneself, by focusing on understanding other’s feelings and reactions as well as one’s own.

What does MBT involve?

MBT takes place in groups and individual psychotherapy sessions.

After assessment sessions, patients are usually offered:

• psychoeducational sessions

• followed by 18 months of weekly psychotherapy.

During the psychotherapy, patients will be invited to look at difficulties in their current life and relationships

This will involve exploring the kind of situations which have provoked strong emotional reactions and changes in mood.

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