MBT Programme

Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) is a twice weekly programme, consisting of individual and group therapy, for people with difficulties in regulating their emotions and managing relationships and interpersonal tension. Mentalization is the capacity to understand both behaviour and feelings and how they’re associated with specific mental states, not just in ourselves, but also in others. Mentalizing helps us deal with misunderstandings and conflict in ways that don’t damage relationships, and supports us in learning to relate to ourselves and other people with more understanding, empathy and compassion.

What is Mentalization-Based Treatment?

Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) is an evidence based psychological programme that was initially developed for people who were given the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD, EUPD) by clinicians and researchers at the Anna Freud Centre. Since then it’s been proven to be helpful in supporting people whose interpersonal sensitivity is the core feature of their struggles. MBT is conceptually anchored in attachment theory, psychoanalysis, cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology.

MBT programme consists of both group and individual components and its recommended length is a minimum of 12 months. For MBT to be successful participants attend both parts of the treatment. In the early phase of therapy it is helpful if participants can attend regular 1:1 therapy sessions in order to develop a safe relationship where both participant and therapist can work on a shared understanding of key mentalizing issues and treatment aims. The frequency of 1:1 sessions can be spaced out after this initial phase depending on individual circumstances. The individual sessions are the platform for the group therapy which provides participants with opportunities to experiment with alternative ways of understanding themselves and others in new ways.

The group therapy sessions are different to individual therapy in that participants get a variety of people in the group who might evoke different responses and create opportunities for therapeutic shifts. To find out more about theoretical underpinning of MBT please click here.

What is mentalizing?

Put simply, mentalizing is the ability to manage times when we are uncertain about others, and ourselves. Uncertainty is always part of our intimate, social or work relationships and even how we relate to strangers. Mentalizing helps us to fill in the gaps that uncertainty creates so that we can manage relationships healthily.

Mentalizing develops easily for people who are raised in secure and safe environments. The optimal conditions for mentalizing to flourish are when parents, or care-givers, give children enough patience, support, kindness, emotional availability and acceptance. Unfortunately many people do not consistently experience these conditions growing up. Furthermore, children have more difficulty developing mentalizing skills if they have faced adversity such as bullying experiences at school, abuse of various kinds and separation from parents or care-givers.

This therapy has been developed to assist people to reclaim their innate capacity to mentalize in order that they can feel happier about who they are and more secure and confident in their relationships.

Where and when?

The group MBT session is held online via Zoom on Wednesdays from 5pm to 6:30pm. Individual sessions can be provided in-person in London (Islington, Queen’s Park, Battersea Park or Euston) or online.

Who should join?

There is no specific diagnostic requirement for participation in the MBT programme. If any of the following challenges interfere with the quality of your life, either in personal or professional contexts, MBT can help.

  • Difficulties regulating intense emotions that lead you to behaving in ways you don’t understand
  • Chaotic relationships where you either frantically pursue or impulsively cut the other person off
  • Enormous fear of abandonment and trying to avoid it at all costs
  • Impulsive urges and risky behaviours that make your life unbearable or lead to feelings of self-hate or shame
  • Episodes of extreme emotional pain and attempts to stop it with self-harm, alcohol, drugs or sex
  • Rapidly changing moods for no apparent reason
  • Anger, emotional sensitivity and recurrent depression.

Participation in the group sessions is carefully considered in terms of each potential group members’ psychological awareness and their readiness to hear other people’s experiences and listen to others’ perspectives.

How to begin?

All individuals interested in joining the MBT programme will be assessed by a member of the Mind-Reframed team. It is also possible to provide a referral letter from your psychiatrist, GP or therapist outlining your mental health history, diagnosis (if any) and reasons for referral. Please email us to arrange the assessment. It is possible to join the group alone if you’re already working with an MBT therapist outside of our team.


Fees for the full MBT programme, which entails weekly individual and group therapy, start at £160 a week. After the initial 4 months it is possible to start reducing the frequency of individual sessions to fortnightly or less subject to progress which would reduce the fee accordingly. To find out more about our fees please visit the Fees section of this website. We offer a small number of concessionary rates towards the MBT programme to people in genuine financial difficulties.

The fee for the MBT group is £80 per session and is payable for eight weeks in advance. To reserve the place 50% of the fee must be paid at the time of receiving the invoice which is non-refundable. The remaining part of the fee is due a week before the next eight-week block begins. The fees are payable for each of the block sessions. This includes sessions that are not attended, missed or cancelled.