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Bateman, A. Fonagy, Mentalization-Based Treatment
Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33:595–613, 2013


The concept of mentalizing has captured the interest and imagination of an astonishing range of people—from psychoanalysts to neuroscientists, from child development researchers to geneticists, from existential philosophers to phenomenologists—all of whom seem to have found it useful.

According to the Thompson Reuter maintained Web of Science, the use of the term in titles and abstracts of scientific papers increased from 10 to 2,750 between 1991 and 2011. Clinicians in particular have enthusiastically embraced the idea, and have put it to innovative use in their practices. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT)—making mentalizing a core focus of therapy—was initially developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in routine clinical services delivered in group and individual modalities. Therapy with mentalizing as a central component is currently being developed for treatment of numerous groups, including people with antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and at-risk mothers with infants and children (A. Bateman & Fonagy, 2011). It is also being used with families and adolescents, in schools, and in managing social groups (Asen & Fonagy, 2011; Fonagy et al., 2009; Twemlow, Fonagy, & Sacco, 2005a, 2005b). In this article, we focus on MBT in the treatment of BPD.

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