Mentalization Based Couple Therapy
MBT couple is the application on couple therapy of Mentalization Based Therapy. We draw on the little available research specifically on MBT with couples from Tavistock Relations, and the work from Fearon and colleagues on Relational Therapy of MBT; as well as on the vast body of research on couple therapy generally and of MBT.
MBT Couple Therapy is all about stimulating and promoting curiosity in the couple towards mental states behind their behavior, ‘making behavior intelligible’ (as Jon Allen puts it). By meeting seemingly disturbing and irrational behavior with mentalizing curiosity, we aim at restoring epistemic trust in the couple. Epistemic trust manifests as a quality of safety and trustworthiness in the relationship, the feeling that your partner is there for emotional support, social cognition, exploration and learning.
Couples seek therapy when they are unable to apprehend each other’s and their own mind in ways that enable them to investigate problems in their life together. They find themselves in a situation, where the behavior of the other is incomprehensible and they do not themselves feel understood by their partner.
Hence, far most of conflicts brought into couple therapy stems in part from the effort of trying to make the other recognizable and understable again. Regrettably, this comes out through control and accusation; and in part from the equally aggressive effort of being understood and validated by their partner.
This is in our view the main challenge for couples, and the MBT Couple Therapy focuses on the mentalizing process in order for them to experience the trust necessary to function practically, socially and emotionally as a unit of two.
We train professionals on-site in MBT Couple Therapy, and will publish more on this site on the subject. If you are more interested, please reach out.
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