What is the theory behind this Mentalization based therapy worksheet?
Mentalization is the process through which we form beliefs about the mental states of the people we interact with on a daily basis. This inturn affects our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Mentalization based therapy (MBT) is grounded on multiple theories, one of which is attachment theory which focuses on formation of healthy attachment in childhood as a precursor for forming and maintaining relationships throughout life.
The focus of MBT is to identify how individuals mentalize and react when faced with interpersonal stressors. The goal is to identify any faults in the mentalizing process for one’s self and others so that MBT can help with learning how to control resulting emotions and reactions.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet is an exercise to introduce the concept of mentalization to your client. It will help them gain a basic understanding of the mentalization model by identifying and reflecting on their own thoughts on some important aspects of a relationship and then doing the same through the perspective of a significant other in their life.
How to use the worksheet?
Instruct the clients to fill their side of the table and then do the same through the perspective of an important person in their life. Ask them to reflect on the differences and similarities. It would also help to talk about the same with that person and then make an actual comparison of both the responses.
Mentalisation based therapy worksheet
Mentalisation is the process through which our mind tells us the whats and whys of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours AND the same for other people in our lives. It is our subjective experience of our relationship with others. For the following aspects of a relationship, fill your side of the table first and then do the same by imagining the other person’s perspective.
Feelings about the relationship
Needs from the relationship
Goals of the relationship
Reasons to keep this relationship
Thoughts related to this relationship
- If it is possible, have a chat about it with your chosen person in the above exercise. Reflect on the similarities and differences in your responses for yourself,the ones you imagined from their perspective and their actual responses.
Allen, J. G., & Fonagy, P. (2006). The handbook of mentalization-based treatment. Wiley.
Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2019). Handbook of mentalizing in mental health practice (2nd sed). American Psychiatric Association.
You can download this worksheet here.