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Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT): Basic Training


  • The Conference Center 860 Winter Street Waltham, MA, 02451 United States (map)

Presented by McLean Hospital.

One of the most promising empirically supported therapies in the treatment of borderline personality disorder is mentalization-based treatment (MBT), developed by Drs. Anthony Bateman and Peter Fonagy. MBT was developed based on studies of early childhood development and attachment. In this course, participants will learn how to implement MBT techniques within their clinical practice as a specialist treatment.

Common clinical situations are discussed and ‘role played’ to practice skills. MBT requires therapists to focus on the patient’s mental state and on their understanding of interactions with the patient. The therapist stance is of particular importance and differs from the usual therapist stance encountered in psychodynamic and cognitive therapies. It is more active and participatory than dynamic therapy but less specifically so than cognitive therapy, and not only focuses on the mind of the patient but also openly juxtaposes the mind of the therapist with that of the patient/family. It shares some components with systemic family therapy but has different aims. Importantly the therapist takes a ‘not knowing’ stance and yet explicitly develops with the patient or family alternative perspectives about what is happening. Participants will learn how to use their own experiences of the patient as a way of increasing mentalizing within therapeutic encounters. The course considers techniques, such as clarification, challenge, and basic mentalizing in the context of some of the common clinical situations encountered in treatment with patients.

This workshop will equip participants to understand:

  • How mentalizing handicaps derive from early parent-child interactions

  • How mentalizing failures reflect and cause insecure attachments

  • How psychotherapeutic interventions are efforts to correct mentalizing & attachment handicaps

Offered by the Borderline Personality Disorder Training Institute at McLean Hospital