What Is Mentalization-Based Therapy?

By: Robert Porter

Updated February 18, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

People who have borderline personality disorder have difficult times with many things. This disorder changes the way that people think about themselves and others. It can make it more difficult to function in normal everyday life. Many people who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder experience extreme mood swings and impulsive behavior. They may also have a distorted self-image.

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This does not mean that the condition is not manageable, though. There are a large number of people who have borderline personality disorder who manage their conditions successfully. It is simply important to seek out the help of professionals to keep move forward. One of the most useful forms of therapy to treat borderline personality disorder is known as mentalization-based therapy.

If you have never heard of this type of therapy before, then you are likely wondering what it is. This is a type of therapy that combines many approaches into one treatment plan. Continue reading as mentalization-based therapy is examined in full. It will give you a better understanding of what this type of therapy entails while also helping you to see if it is the right treatment option for you.

The Basics Of Mentalization-Based Therapy

To fully understand mentalization-based therapy, you need to know about the different types of therapy that are a part of it. This therapy takes elements from cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalytical therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and social therapy. It is a therapy that helps people to think about things before taking action.

People who have borderline personality disorder have a hard time understanding the differences between how they feel and how those around them feel. This can lead to a disconnect and brings about many different problems. The idea behind mentalization-based therapy is to give patients a chance to change the way that they are thinking about themselves, others, and the situations that they are in. It uses the therapy techniques from many other therapy styles to accomplish this.

The first step in mentalization-based therapy is to allow the patient to establish a trusting relationship with the therapist. This needs to build up so that the patient will feel safe while discussing deeply personal topics. Patients need to be able to explore their feelings in an environment where they will not be judged. This gives them the chance to learn and to come to terms with how they feel as well as how others may feel.

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Over time, patients will be able to develop their capacity for mentalization fully. It will become easier for them to recognize things that were not clear before. Many people who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder tend to react quickly to their feelings. This will be challenged through mentalization-based therapy. This therapy teaches patients to think about things before reacting to them.

The process of this therapy method will teach patients how to process their feelings more effectively. They will also come to a better understanding of other people's thoughts. One of the biggest challenges that borderline personality disorder patients face is understanding other people. Improved mentalization abilities make it easier for them to understand the feelings of others. They will come to understand that the feelings, behaviors, and actions of other people may not be how they originally assumed they would be.

This therapy is about both mentalizing your feelings and thoughts as well as those of others. This will involve thinking about what is causing other people to think about the way that they do. The therapy teaches empathy and makes it easier for patients to relate to those around them. These skills may come naturally to some people, but for those who have a borderline personality disorder, this is a very important process.

What Else Does Mentalization-Based Therapy Treat?

Although mentalization-based therapy is primarily used to treat borderline personality disorder, it can also be used for other purposes. Sometimes this treatment method is used to help patients who are suffering from extreme forms of depression. Elements of this therapy may also help certain people who are suffering from really bad social anxiety disorders.

This is mostly going to be a type of therapy that is used to help those with a borderline personality disorder, though. It is a common enough condition that many people need assistance. It can help to give people a better emotional understanding of others. This helps people to keep their own emotions in check as well. Since statistics show that up to 1.6% of adults in the United States may have a borderline personality disorder, it is easy to see why mentalization-based therapy is an important treatment option.

Other Treatments For Borderline Personality Disorder

Sometimes mentalization-based therapy will not be enough to treat borderline personality disorder by itself. Many patients will need help to regulate their unstable moods. There is various mood stabilizing prescription medications that are commonly used for those who have this condition. Patients may also need help to alleviate depression symptoms, anxiety problems, and more.

It is not uncommon for those who have borderline personality disorder to take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers. Some patients may even be prescribed antipsychotic medications to help regulate certain problems. There are also many people who have borderline personality disorder who do not need medication and can manage their condition purely through the use of therapy. Mentalization-based therapy is the most common therapeutic approach, but there are also others that are used to treat the condition.

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Dialectical behavior therapy is another extremely common therapy that is used to help manage borderline personality disorder. This therapy can occur either in a group setting or individually. It is about helping patients to develop skills to manage emotions better. It can help people to improve their relationships with others and also makes it easier for them to deal with stressful situations.

Schema-focused therapy is another common approach to treating this condition. This is a therapy that is focused on identifying unmet needs that a patient may have. These unmet needs may be throwing a patient into a negative behavior pattern. Learning to meet these needs positively can potentially help people to live their lives with fewer problems.

You Can Get Better Over Time

If you have a borderline personality disorder, then you should know that you can get better over time. This condition can make many things in life more difficult, but you will be able to overcome this. Working together with professionals is going to allow you to gain the necessary skills. Methods such as mentalization-based therapy are important for ensuring that you can make progress toward your ultimate goal.

It is not always going to be easy to manage your thoughts and emotions when suffering from this condition. The techniques that are used in mentalization-based therapy can make a big difference. They will allow you to relate to others more readily and you can start to regulate your emotional state better. Finding the right therapist that can help you is going to be an important step toward healing.

Take the time to reach out to a therapist if you need help. This is a difficult condition to manage, and you should never try to do everything on your own. There are people out there who care about you. Your therapist will be ready to help you make progress, and you can move on toward happier days in your life.

Consider Online Options

There are online therapy options for those who have a borderline personality disorder. For many people, online therapy is going to be the most practical option to consider. It has some advantages when compared to traditional therapy methods. For instance, you will be able to enjoy a much more flexible therapy schedule.

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Normal therapy offices will have set hours, and you will need to try to fit in therapy sessions during those times. This is not always the best situation for those who are busy professionals. If you have a difficult time scheduling therapy session during normal office hours, then this is going to work out perfectly. You will be able to reach out to receive therapy during the evening or even on weekends if that works out better for you.

Being able to take advantage of mentalization-based therapy techniques online is great. You will be working with licensed online therapists who can help you to get things on track. They understand what needs to be done to help you find success. You will be able to get the results that you are seeking in the most convenient way possible.

There are even a variety of different therapy options. You can take advantage of video therapy, or you can speak with a therapist over the phone. Simply sign up for online therapy today to get started. It will not take long for you to get everything going and it will prove to be exactly what you need to work on your issues. Progress is possible when you have dedicated online therapists to rely on.


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