There is no doubt that it is essential to understand one another to have good social and personal relationships and being able to “think about thinking”, or mentalizing, helps us to do this. When mentalization is compromised, communication issues arise, impacting our connections with others. This article explores Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) and its profound impact on improving emotional regulation, effective communication, and fostering positivity.
1. The impact of Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) on our lives and people around us
Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) plays a pivotal role in emotional regulation, effective communication, and promoting positivity. It centres around mentalizing, which means seeing ourselves from the outside (imagining how others see us) and seeing others from the inside (imagining what the other person is thinking or feeling).
Mentalizing, or the ability to understand our own and others' mental states, is crucial for navigating relationships. During times of stress, our capacity to mentalize can diminish, leading to a "Mindless" state. MBT focuses on stabilizing the sense of self and managing emotional arousal, preventing overwhelming personal experiences from escalating. By adopting a curious mindset, MBT encourages exploring different perspectives and enhances empathy and compassion.
2. Curiosity and unlocking "Wise Mind"
Curiosity (instead of judgement) is the secret to unlocking the "Wise Mind" within the MBT framework. The mind tells us what we think and feel and why we behave as we are. Practicing mentalizing involves listening with curiosity, exploring various perspectives, and embracing the unknown. Working with the MBT model, we consider feelings, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and motivations. This curious approach expands the "Wise Mind," and as a result, we can have better relationships with ourselves and others.
3. Signs of good and poor mentalizing
Good Mentalizing involves being aware of thoughts, active listening, considering different perspectives, pausing and maintaining a curious stance.
Poor Mentalizing includes certainty about one's and others' minds, making assumptions, ruminating (negative thinking), labelling, blaming, critical words, blowing things out of proportion, jumping to conclusions, focus on failures but never successes, not taking responsibility for our actions.
4. Balancing mentalizing poles
To achieve effective Mentalizing, we need a better balance in four Mentalizing Poles.
Cognition/Emotion (more logical mind vs impulsivity )
- Self /Others (limited capacity to perceive other people's states of mind and feelings vs focusing on other people's minds and emotions, neglecting ourselves)
- Controlled/Automatic (a requirement for attention, effort and awareness vs lack of attention and reflection )
Internal /External (reflecting on other people's inner experiences vs making assumptions based on external things)
Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) offers a practical and transformative approach to understanding and improving our mental states, enhancing relationships, and fostering emotional well-being. It integrates the Reasonable Mind and the Emotional Mind to form the "Wise Mind." My experience shows that Mentalizing is a process of discovering Inner Wisdom. Our integration begins with Mentalizing.
For more information or to book a session, contact Bożena at https://seeds-of-love.uk/