Restriction lift date: 2025-10-31
Keeping mentalizing in mind: an exploration of participant experience and their capacity to mentalize following mentalization-based treatment
University College Cork
This thesis aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of undergoing MBT and to gain further insight into how participants make sense of their capacity to mentalize after completing a short-term MBT introductory group. To address these aims, firstly a meta-synthesis of the qualitative literature using a meta-ethnographic approach of individual’s experience of undergoing MBT was completed. Eleven studies met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-ethnography and three overarching themes were identified: navigating the therapeutic process, the processes of change in MBT, and mentalizing self and other. This meta-ethnography offers new insights into how clients experience MBT as a therapeutic process and provides suggestions for implementation to clinical practice as well as areas of focus for research of this therapeutic approach. Secondly, a qualitative study using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach was completed to answer the question: How do people make sense of their capacity to mentalize after completing an introductory mentalization based treatment group in an Irish prison? Data for this study were collected from four participants using semi-structured interviews. Four group experiential themes were identified. These themes were: making sense of difficulties with emotions in the context of early life experiences, learning to feel and manage emotions, keeping other minds in mind and mentalizing in practice. This study adds to the wider qualitative literature on MBT and presents a unique insight into participant experiences of developing their mentalizing capacity within a prison setting. The findings indicate that, following their engagement in MBT-I, participants developed a greater understanding of both their own emotional experience and of the perspectives and mental states of others. This thesis provides a deeper insight into the lived experience of participating in MBT and provides numerous clinical implications and recommendations for future research with regards to developing the current evidence base for MBT.
MBT , Mentalization-based treatment , Mentalization , Meta-ethnography , Meta-synthesis , Client experience , Anti-social personality disorder , Prison , Violence
O'Leary, N. 2022. Keeping mentalizing in mind: an exploration of participant experience and their capacity to mentalize following mentalization-based treatment. DClinPsych Thesis, University College Cork.