The Spectrum Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) Clinic requires clients to attend individual and group therapy on a weekly basis. They meet in a context where relationships are actively engaged, and current life experiences examined and understood in terms of each individual’s desire for change.
MBT is an evidence-based treatment approach initially developed and evaluated for treating adults with BPD. MBT focuses mainly on mental processes such as thinking, feeling, reflecting, remembering, desiring, or having beliefs. Through this approach, the MBT clinic offers clients an opportunity to reflect and learn more about themselves from the perspective of what is happening inside their own mind, as well as in the minds of others. Over time, this allows clients to gain new perspectives on what’s happening in their lives and relationships. Clients also grow in understanding themselves, as well as understanding others.
Spectrum’s MBT therapists focus on developing a secure therapeutic relationship (or attachment) with clients. This creates a safe space where the client can reflect on times when they are not able to think about their own, or others’ mental processes. With practise, clients get better at reflecting, and in time, can do this more habitually, even in stressful situations. This capacity to reflect, even when under stress, is a sign that the therapy is working.
Clients attend two MBT groups as part of their Spectrum MBT treatment.
MBT-I: This is an 8-12 week introductory group, where a Spectrum therapist provides an overview of BPD and MBT. They will also explain the MBT treatment process in detail. In this group, clients learn what they can expect from the MBT treatment program. Participation in this group is considered a necessary pre-treatment phase for entering into the full program.
MBT-G: This is an ongoing weekly group where clients practise the skills of reflecting on one’s own experience and other people’s experiences. With support from MBT therapists, the group provides the opportunity for clients to talk through life events and associated thoughts, ideas, feelings, desires, and memories. The group provides feedback, and clients are able to learn from each other. During this process, clients are able to view themselves as others might see them. They also have an opportunity to consider how they view others from their own point of view. This model enables group members to practise keeping other people’s experiences in mind.
MBT individual therapy
The MBT therapist works with the client to develop and maintain a warm and positive working partnership. Individual sessions provide an opportunity to jointly focus on the client’s internal states, such as thinking, feeling, remembering, desiring, and considering beliefs. Therapy conversations also consider everyday interactions with people, and what other peoples’ ideas or understandings might mean for social relationships. All therapy conversations lead to sharing of ideas on specific issues, as well as broader experiences, in ways that strengthen self-identity and improve relationships.