Mentalisation based treatment with families (MBT-F)

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There has been a lot of interest in mentalisation and art therapy. There is a specific mentalisation intervention aimed at parents and children.

Mentalisation based treatment with families (MBT-F) gets parents and children to think together about their own feelings and other family members’ feelings to find more positive ways of getting along together.

The Department for Education has published a short report on MBT-F for the commissioning toolkit which states: ‘There is strong evidence for this approach with adults and young children. However, the effectiveness of this approach with older children has still not been fully researched.’

The research included in the toolkit report is an unpublished study by The Anna Freud Centre which ‘involves comparisons of parents' self-ratings of their child's behaviour with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) before attending MBT-F, and at a six-month follow-up assessment.

This information was collected from 39 families as part of the programme’s ongoing monitoring and evaluation processes. The MBT-F family's scores were then compared to families attending standard Child and Adolescent Mental Health services’.

The outcomes of this study showed ‘MBT-F parents reported a significant positive change in the children's behaviour. These scores were also significantly less likely to be in the clinical range in comparison to families receiving standard Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.’

Find out more about MBT-F.