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Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is an integrative form of psychotherapy, bringing together aspects of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, systemic and ecological approaches. MBT was developed and manualised by Peter Fonagy and Anthony Bateman, designed for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Some of these individuals suffer from disorganized attachment and failed to develop a robust mentalization capacity. Fonagy and Bateman define mentalization as the process by which we implicitly and explicitly interpret the actions of oneself and others as meaningful on the basis of intentional mental states. The object of treatment is that patients with BPD increase their mentalization capacity, which should improve affect regulation, thereby reducing suicidality and self-harm, as well as strengthening interpersonal relationships.
More recently, a range of mentalization-based treatments, using the "mentalizing stance" defined in MBT but directed at children (MBT-C), families (MBT-F)and adolescents (MBT-A), and for chaotic multi-problem youth, AMBIT (adaptive mentalization-based integrative treatment) has been under development by groups mainly gravitating around the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.
The treatment should be distinguished from and has no connection with mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
The major goals of MBT are:
This is believed to be accomplished through increasing the patient's capacity for mentalization in order to stabilize the client's sense of self and to enhance stability in emotions and relationships.
A distinctive feature of MBT is placing the enhancement of mentalizing itself as focus of treatment. The aim of therapy is not developing insight, but the recovery of mentalizing. Therapy examines mainly the present moment, attending to events of the past only insofar as they affect the individual in the present. Other core aspects of treatment include a stance of curiosity, partnership with the patient rather than an 'expert' type role, monitoring and regulating emotional arousal, and identifying the affect focus. Transference in classical understanding of this term is not included in the MBT model. MBT does encourage consideration of the patient-therapist relationship, but without necessarily generalizing to other relationships, past or present.
MBT should be offered to patients twice per week with sessions alternating between group therapy and individual treatment. During sessions the therapist works to stimulate or nurture mentalizing. Particular techniques are employed to lower or raise emotional arousal as needed, to interrupt non-mentalizing and to foster flexibility in perspective-taking. Activation occurs through the elaboration of current attachment relationships, the therapist’s encouragement and regulation of the patient’s attachment bond with the therapist and the therapist’s attempts to create attachment bonds between members of the therapy group.
The safe attachment relationship with the therapist provides a relational context in which it is safe for the patient to explore the mind of the other. Fonagy and Bateman have recently proposed that MBT (and other evidence-based therapies) works by providing ostensive cues that stimulate epistemic trust. The increase in epistemic trust, together with a persistent focus on mentalizing in therapy, appear to facilitate change by leaving people more open to learning outside of therapy, in the social interactions of their day-to-day lives.
Fonagy, Bateman, and colleagues have done extensive outcome research on MBT for borderline personality disorder. The first randomized, controlled trial was published in 1999, concerning MBT delivered in a partial hospital setting. The results showed real-world clinical effectiveness that compared favorably with existing treatments for BPD. A follow-up study published in 2003 demonstrated that MBT is cost-effective. Encouraging results were also found in an 18-month study, in which subjects were randomly assigned to an outpatient MBT treatment condition versus a structured clinical management (SCM) treatment.The lasting efficacy of MBT was demonstrated in an 8-year follow-up of patients from the original trial, comparing MBT versus treatment as usual. In that research, patients who had received MBT had less medication use, fewer hospitalizations and longer periods of employment compared to patients who received standard care. Replication studies have been published by other European investigators. Researchers have also demonstrated the effectiveness of MBT for adolescents as well as that of a group-only format of MBT.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a mental disorder characterized by the maintenance of at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states. The disorder is accompanied by memory gaps beyond what would be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. The personality states alternately show in a person's behavior; however, presentations of the disorder vary. Other conditions that often occur in people with DID include post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, depression, substance use disorders, conversion disorder, somatic symptom disorder, eating disorders, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and sleep disorders. Self-harm, non-epileptic seizures, flashbacks with amnesia for content of flashbacks, anxiety disorders, and suicidality are also common.
Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group. The term can legitimately refer to any form of psychotherapy when delivered in a group format, including Art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, but it is usually applied to psychodynamic group therapy where the group context and group process is explicitly utilized as a mechanism of change by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), is a mental illness characterized by a long-term pattern of unstable relationships, distorted sense of self, and strong emotional reactions. Those affected often engage in self-harm and other dangerous behavior. They may also struggle with a feeling of emptiness, fear of abandonment, and detachment from reality. Symptoms of BPD may be triggered by events considered normal to others. BPD typically begins by early adulthood and occurs across a variety of situations. Substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders are commonly associated with BPD. Approximately 10% of people affected with the disorder die by suicide. The disorder is often stigmatized in both the media and the psychiatric field.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and struggles with empathy. People with NPD often spend much time daydreaming about achieving power and success, and the perceived injustice of failing to do so. This is a pattern of obsessive thoughts and unstable sense of identity, often to cope with a sub-par real life. People with the diagnosis in recent years have spoken out about its stigma in media, and possible links to abusive situations and childhood trauma. Such narcissistic behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a broad range of situations.
Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) is a Cluster C personality disorder in which the main coping mechanism of those affected is avoidance of feared stimuli.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat borderline personality disorder. There is evidence that DBT can be useful in treating mood disorders, suicidal ideation, and for change in behavioral patterns such as self-harm, and substance abuse. DBT evolved into a process in which the therapist and client work with acceptance and change-oriented strategies, and ultimately balance and synthesize them, in a manner comparable to the philosophical dialectical process of hypothesis and antithesis, followed by synthesis.
Dissociation, as a concept that has been developed over time, is any of a wide array of experiences, ranging from a mild emotional detachment from the immediate surroundings, to a more severe disconnection from physical and emotional experiences. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy or psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a form of depth psychology, the primary focus of which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client's psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder that can develop in response to prolonged, repeated experience of interpersonal trauma in a context in which the individual has little or no chance of escape. C-PTSD relates to the trauma model of mental disorders and is associated with chronic sexual, psychological, and physical abuse or neglect, chronic intimate partner violence, victims of prolonged workplace or school bullying, victims of kidnapping and hostage situations, indentured servants, victims of slavery and human trafficking, sweatshop workers, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, residential school survivors, prisoners kept in solitary confinement for a long period of time, and defectors from authoritarian religions. It is most often directed at children and emotionally vulnerable adults, and whilst motivations behind such abuse vary, though mostly being predominantly malicious, it has also been shown that the motivations behind such abuse can be well-intentioned. Situations involving captivity/entrapment can lead to C-PTSD-like symptoms, which can include prolonged feelings of terror, worthlessness, helplessness, and deformation of one's identity and sense of self.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, attachment-focused psychotherapy that centers on resolving interpersonal problems and symptomatic recovery. It is an empirically supported treatment (EST) that follows a highly structured and time-limited approach and is intended to be completed within 12–16 weeks. IPT is based on the principle that relationships and life events impact mood and that the reverse is also true. It was developed by Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman for major depression in the 1970s and has since been adapted for other mental disorders. IPT is an empirically validated intervention for depressive disorders, and is more effective when used in combination with psychiatric medications. Along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), IPT is recommended in treatment guidelines as a psychosocial treatment of choice.
In psychology, mentalization is the ability to understand the mental state – of oneself or others – that underlies overt behaviour. Mentalization can be seen as a form of imaginative mental activity that lets us perceive and interpret human behaviour in terms of intentional mental states. It is sometimes described as "understanding misunderstanding." Another term that David Wallin has used for mentalization is "Thinking about thinking". Mentalization can occur either automatically or consciously. Mentalization ability, or mentalizing, is weakened by intense emotion.
Transference focused psychotherapy (TFP) is a highly structured, twice-weekly modified psychodynamic treatment based on Otto F. Kernberg's object relations model of borderline personality disorder. It views the individual with borderline personality organization (BPO) as holding unreconciled and contradictory internalized representations of self and significant others that are affectively charged. The defense against these contradictory internalized object relations leads to disturbed relationships with others and with self. The distorted perceptions of self, others, and associated affects are the focus of treatment as they emerge in the relationship with the therapist (transference). The treatment focuses on the integration of split off parts of self and object representations, and the consistent interpretation of these distorted perceptions is considered the mechanism of change.
Peter Fonagy, is a Hungarian-born British psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist. He studied clinical psychology at University College London. He is Professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science and Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, a training and supervising analyst in the British Psycho-Analytical Society in child and adult analysis, a Fellow of the British Academy, the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the Academy of Social Sciences and a registrant of the BPC. His clinical interests centre on issues of borderline psychopathology, violence and early attachment relationships. His work attempts to integrate empirical research with psychoanalytic theory. He has published over 500 papers, 270 chapters and has authored 19 and edited 17 books.
Personality disorders (PD) are a class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating from those accepted by the individual's culture. These patterns develop early, are inflexible, and are associated with significant distress or disability. The definitions may vary somewhat, according to source, and remain a matter of controversy. Official criteria for diagnosing personality disorders are listed in the fifth chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The mainstay of management of borderline personality disorder is various forms of psychotherapy with medications being found to be of little use.
Schema therapy was developed by Jeffrey E. Young for use in treatment of personality disorders and chronic DSM Axis I disorders, such as when patients fail to respond or relapse after having been through other therapies. Schema therapy is an integrative psychotherapy combining theory and techniques from previously existing therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalytic object relations theory, attachment theory, and Gestalt therapy.
Narcissistic abuse is a hypernym for the psychological, financial, sexual, and physical abuse of others by someone with narcissistic traits or suffering from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been referred to as a mental health condition by several medical research and journal organisations, such as, for example, the United States National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and Cochrane medical journals.
Cluster B personality disorders are a categorization of personality disorders as defined in the DSM-IV and DSM-5. They are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior and interactions with others. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. The British National Health Service has described those with this disorder as someone who "struggles to relate to others. As a result, they show patterns of behaviour most would regard as dramatic, erratic and threatening or disturbing."
Andrew J. Gerber is an American psychoanalyst and the current president and medical director of Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. His principal interests and research lie in studying the neurobiological bases of social cognition, particularly in relation to autism spectrum disorders and change in response to psychotherapy. He is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychoanalytic Association and the Psychoanalytic Psychodynamic Research Society.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a psychological disorder characterized by chronic instability of relationships, self-image, moods, and affect, which is frequently misdiagnosed. This misdiagnosis can come in the form of providing a BPD diagnosis to a person who does not actually meet criteria or providing an incorrect alternative diagnosis in the place of a BPD diagnosis.