Psychotherapists offer their assistance to people who need help via language, and therapists in this way contain the client’s mind in their own minds. – Peter Fonagy
Mentalization is all about seeing yourself from the outside and seeing other people from the inside. It is based on a delicately developed interaction between empathy, emotion and conscious reflection. Our human ability to understand non-verbal signals and body language, to feel with the other person and at the same time understand their underlying behavior, actions and motivation, is the basis of the ability to mentalize. At the same time this implies an ability to regulate and calm ourselves, because when we think in this way, we feel calmer, and emotions have less of a hold on us.
In Mentalization based therapy (MBT) the work consists of supporting, mirroring and investigating, through understanding the interaction between thoughts and emotions in certain situations with people, where a specific experience perhaps feels unbearable or incomprehensible. In time the ability to give feelings more space and perspective is strengthened, and there is a better understanding of yourself and others. Close relationships can in this way grow and become more robust. Greater calm and inner security can arise in your own system, with less vulnerability to stress, which is connected to the newfound ability to calm yourself and be in contact with your own resources.