Mentalization Based Therapy

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Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT)  is predominantly useful in helping parents understand their baby’s behaviour so as to be able to respond sensitively to their baby’s needs. For this reason I have sought additional training in this area of psychotherapy. Mentalization is a skill which can be taught and can go a long way in helping the bonding process between the baby and his or her primary caretaker (which is usually, but not always, the mother).

Most new parents are faced with many unexpected challenges. For example they may not be prepared for the emotional impact of parenthood. It is difficult not to be seduced by the idyllic picture of motherhood/parenthood portrayed in the media and for many parents the reality of having a baby falls short of their expectations. Parents who experience this may find it difficult to know how to relate and respond to their babies, especially babies who may be difficult to soothe. This sometimes gets in the way of the bonding process.

It is not uncommon for mothers to find themselves depressed or anxious for no apparent reason. Occasionally a mother will come to me for a few sessions of individual therapy (without the baby having to be present) so she can understand and deal with these feelings before they get in the way of her relating to her baby.

Depression and/or anxiety may be a relatively fleeting experience, but in some cases it may become so severe that it is diagnosed as postnatal depression (PND). Postnatal depression is a common affliction for a lot of mothers.  Sometimes a traumatic birth process or a premature birth, or a baby born with a defect can trigger anxiety and/or depression.  During this time it is especially important to keep a connection with the baby.  My job is to help with this process.

Foster parents and adoptive parents also find parent/infant work a useful starting point on their parenting journey.

Sometimes a mother may find it difficult to relate to her baby because of her own negative experiences of being mothered and she may need some help in working through these issues. This too is my job.