Octavian Vasiliu, Daniel Vasile



Mentalization Based Treatment for Behavioral Addictions: A Conceptual Framework

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mentalization, mentalization based treatment, behavioral addictions, Internet addiction, cell phone addiction, food addiction, psychotherapy


Mentalization is concept with almost 30 years of history and it is the core of mentalization-based therapy, a form of psychotherapy initially designed for borderline personality disorder. Mentalization based treatment (MBT) includes techniques focused upon practicing with the patient on how to make representations of internal states, analyzing current problems and not the past ones, and constructing mentalizing capacities instead of creating insight. A review of current data regarding the efficacy of MBT include randomized trials for borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder, but also protocols for further studies and conceptual discussions about MBT in eating disorders, severe borderline personality disorder and psychotic disorders. Several references have been found on MBT-derived approaches in alcohol and drug related disorders, as well as several studies about attachment styles and mentalization deficits as risk factors or associated factors in cell phone addiction, Internet and food addiction. An evaluation and treatment framework for patients with behavioral addiction is suggested, with validated psychometric scales applied initially and periodically, throughout the duration of MBT. Therapeutic techniques should focus on the difficulties the subject has in controlling his/her own emotional impulses, and on mentalizing the internal and environmental cues that trigger the addictive behavior.

Cite this paper

Octavian Vasiliu, Daniel Vasile. (2017) Mentalization Based Treatment for Behavioral Addictions: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 2, 45-49