Assessment of interpersonal and relational world

Anthony W. Bateman and Peter Fonagy

in Mentalization-based Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780198570905
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754456 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Assessment of interpersonal and relational world

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It is important to assess the predominant style and quality of relationships a patient develops using a time frame of at least 5 years. Many patients show a distinct pattern and the therapist needs to identify this early in the assessment process. We have already discussed in Chapter 5 the importance of assessing mentalizing capacity within the context of current relationship styles. Here we discuss how the pattern of relationships will not only inform the types of interventions used but also indicate the form of the relationship which is likely to develop between the patient, the therapist and the treatment team. Remember, characteristics of previous and current relationships should correlate with your assessment of mentalzing ability. If you find a discrepancy during assessment between the pattern of relationships and your assessment of mentalizing you should probe more carefully.

Once a pattern is identified you should point out to the patient that perhaps this will be repeated within the treatment itself—‘You sound like you have found that all your relationships become problematic after a few months and you begin to feel unwanted. Perhaps we are going to have to look out for that in our relationship when we begin treatment’. This is a typical ‘transference tracer’ (see p 134) and is a very common form of intervention in MBT.

Chapter.  2751 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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