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J Pers Disord. 2004 Feb;18(1):36-51.

Mentalization-based treatment of BPD.

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Hallickwick Day Unit, St. Ann's Hospital, London.


Psychoanalytically oriented partial hospital treatment for BPD has been shown to be more effective than treatment as usual in a randomized controlled trial and over 18 months of follow-up. Focus of treatment, in the context of group and individual psychotherapy, was on increasing the patient's capacity for mentalization, the capacity to think about mental states of oneself and others as separate from, yet potentially causing actions. We summarize the research and outline the essential theoretical and practical components of mentalization-based treatment. Core aspects of treatment include enhancing mentalization, bearing in mind patient deficits, using transference, retaining mental closeness, and working with current mental states. Finally, it is proposed that mentalization is a common theme in psychotherapy of BPD and may explain why different treatments "work."

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