Mentalization Therapy

Mentalization Therapy and How to develop it

We are aware that the mind dominates a large part of our actions. If we stop to analyze this point in detail, many examples will come to mind: How many times has a person responded with anger to an injustice? How does someone who is going through a grieving process think? In what circumstances does the human being plan future projects when he has achieved important objectives? In order to resolve these questions, psychology has investigated over time these mechanisms that the human being possesses.

There is a type of approach that allows you to understand the person in depth. In this Psychologyorg article, we will provide you with information about what mentalization therapy is and how to develop it.

What is mentalization

First of all, we must begin by understanding what mentalization is. According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, mentalizing consists of preparing or predisposing someone’s mind in a certain way. In other words, mentalization consists of focusing attention on a specific objective, thought, action, and/or emotion.

However, it is important to bear in mind that there are two different meanings of the word depending on the use that is given to it. Psychoanalysis has also turned to the study of mentalization in order to find a practical meaning for it. From this theoretical current, mentalization corresponds to the possibility of interpreting and understanding one’s own and/or another’s behavior.

Mentalization Therapy

Mentalization and attachment theory

Mentalization is not only related to the interpretation of one’s own behavior or that of other people but also covers other areas of relevance. One of the main aspects that condition mentalization is the contribution that comes from the attachment theory, which postulates that people can understand the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of others and their own from the consolidation of secure bonds.

In other words, secure attachment, formed through strong affective ties during a person’s upbringing, will facilitate mentalization. In this way, having established a type of secure relationship with other people will lead to greater chances that the individual will develop self-control of their emotions and behaviors.

Goals of Mentalization Therapy

As in other theoretical frameworks, mentalization therapy delimits clear and concrete goals that can be achieved in a determined period of time. In this regard, it should be noted that these will depend on the characteristics of each particular patient.

Here are the main objectives of mentalization therapy :

  • Promote self-control.
  • Greater emotional regulation.
  • Improved communication skills with other people.
  • Visualization of achievable goals.
  • Detection of other people’s and own problems.

In which areas is mentalization therapy applied?

It is important to note that mentalization therapy is quite recent and cannot be implemented in just anyone. For this reason, the particular case must be carefully and carefully studied in order not to generate false expectations when carrying out a treatment.

The areas in which mentalization therapy is applied are:

  • Prevention of violence in schools.
  • Couples treatment.
  • Group therapeutic approach.
  • Professionals from different disciplines.
  • brief family therapy
  • Borderline personality disorder.
  • Serious pathologies such as autism and schizophrenia.
  • Neurologically based diseases.

Despite the investigations that have been carried out, it is important to mention that these fields could be expanded with the passage of time since the real scope of mentalization therapy has not yet been discovered.

Mentalization Therapy

Mentalization-Based Therapy Strategies

Given the rise that certain pathologies show with the passage of time, it has become necessary to implement specific intervention methodologies. For this reason, here are some mentalization-based therapy strategies :

  • Demonstration of empathy to understand the suffering of the person.
  • Avoid making sense of the patient’s story so that he can develop his problem.
  • Construction of the reason for a consultation to work together with the patient.
  • Active listening through questions in relation to the person’s life.

However, these principles are general and each therapist will maintain a certain position according to their own style and the qualities of the patient who has attended a professional consultation.

This article is merely informative, at Psychologyorg we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We request you go to a psychologist to treat your respective case.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is mentalization therapy and How to Develop it, we recommend that you enter our Psychology category.

Read Also: Emotions and Their Types, Power of Emotions Psychologyorg


What is Mentalization Therapy?

Mentalization Therapy is a psychodynamic treatment approach that focuses on enhancing an individual’s ability to understand their own thoughts and feelings, as well as those of others. It aims to improve mentalizing, which refers to the capacity to reflect on and interpret human behavior in terms of underlying mental states, such as beliefs, desires, and emotions.

Who can benefit from Mentalization Therapy?

Mentalization Therapy can be beneficial for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation, relationship difficulties, impulsive behavior, self-destructive tendencies, and unstable sense of self. It is particularly effective for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and other conditions characterized by impaired mentalizing abilities.

How does Mentalization Therapy work?

Mentalization Therapy involves a therapeutic relationship between the individual and the therapist, where the focus is on exploring and understanding internal thoughts and feelings, as well as the motivations behind behaviors. The therapist helps the person develop a more accurate understanding of their own and others’ mental states, providing opportunities for reflection and learning new ways of relating.

Is Mentalization Therapy Evidence-based?

Yes, Mentalization Therapy is supported by a growing body of empirical research. Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in improving mentalizing capacities and reducing symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder, as well as other mental health conditions. It has been found to be particularly effective when delivered in individual or group formats, depending on the individual’s needs.

How long does Mentalization Therapy typically last?

The duration of Mentalization Therapy can vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and goals. It is typically a time-limited therapy that may last anywhere from several months to a year or longer. The frequency of sessions can also vary, ranging from weekly to bi-weekly appointments. The therapist and the individual work together to determine the appropriate length and frequency of treatment based on the progress made and the individual’s ongoing needs.

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