Mentalization-based therapy (MBT): an overview

Australas Psychiatry. 2015 Apr;23(2):132-5. doi: 10.1177/1039856214566830. Epub 2015 Jan 23.


Objective: This paper provides an overview of mentalization-based therapy (MBT). Multiple strands of research evidence converge to suggest that affect dysregulation, impulsivity and unstable interpersonal relationships are core features of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The MBT approach to BPD attempts to provide a theoretically consistent way of conceptualising the inter-relationship of these features.

Methods: MBT makes mentalizing a core focus of therapy and was initially developed for the treatment of BPD in routine clinical services, delivered in group and individual modalities. This article provides a brief overview of mentalizing and its relevance to BPD, provides an overview of MBT and notes a number of current trends in MBT.

Results: MBT provides clinicians with an empirically supported approach to BPD and its treatment.

Conclusions: Whilst mentalizing is viewed as an integrative framework for therapy, more knowledge is needed as to which of the therapies are of most benefit for individual patients.

Keywords: behaviour; borderline personality disorder; mentalization; mentalization-based therapy; psychotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Theory of Mind*