Fonagy, Bateman, and colleagues have done extensive outcome research on MBT for borderline personality disorder.

The first randomized, controlled trial was published in 1999, concerning MBT delivered in a partial hospital setting. The results showed real-world clinical effectiveness that compared favorably with existing treatments for BPD. A follow-up study published in 2003 demonstrated that MBT is cost-effective. Encouraging results were also found in an 18-month study, in which subjects were randomly assigned to an outpatient MBT treatment condition versus a structured clinical management (SCM) treatment. The lasting efficacy of MBT was demonstrated in an 8-year follow-up of patients from the original trial, comparing MBT versus treatment as usual. In that research, patients who had received MBT had less medication use, fewer hospitalizations and longer periods of employment compared to patients who received standard care. Replication studies have been published by other European investigators. Researchers have also demonstrated the effectiveness of MBT for adolescents as well as that of a group-only format of MBT.

Formative Research

  1. Bateman, A.W., Fonagy, P. (2001). “Effectiveness of partial hospitalization in the treatment of borderline personality disorder: a randomized controlled trial”. Am J Psychiatry. 156 (10): 1563–9.
  2. Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2001). Treatment of borderline personality disorder with psychoanalytically oriented partial hospitalization: an 18-month follow-up. American journal of Psychiatry, 158(1), 36-42.
  3. Bateman, A.W., Fonagy, P. (2008). “8-Year Follow-Up of Patients Treated for Borderline Personality Disorder: Mentalization-Based Treatment Versus Treatment as Usual”. Am J Psychiatry. 165 (5): 631–638.
  4. Bateman, A.W., Fonagy, P. (2009). “Randomized Controlled Trial of Outpatient Mentalization-Based Treatment Versus Structured Clinical Management for Borderline Personality Disorder”. Am J Psychiatry. 166 (12): 1355-1364
  5. Bateman A., Constantinou M.P., Fonagy P., Holzer S (2021). Eight-year prospective follow-up of mentalization-based treatment versus structured clinical management for people with borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders. Jul;12(4):291-299.

The Broader Reaches of Mentalizing

Adolescents at Risk:
  1. Rossouw TI, Fonagy P. (2012). Mentalization Based treatment for self-harm in adolescents a randomized controlled trial Journal of Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 51(12):1304-1313 J
  2. Jorgensen MS et al (2020) Mentalization-based Treatment in groups for adolescents with borderline personality disorder: 3-and 12 month follow up of a randomized controlled trail. Eur Child Adolescent psychiatry. May;30(5):699-710
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
  1. Bateman, A., O’Connell J. et al, (2016). A randomized controlled trial of mentalization-based treatment versus structured clinical management of patients with comorbid borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder BMC Psychiatry,16:304.
Eating Disorders:
  1. Robinson P, Barrett B, Bateman A, Hakeem A, Hellier J, Lemonsky F, Rutterford C, Schmidt U, Fonagy P. (2014). Study Protocol for a randomized controlled trial of mentalization based therapy against specialist supportive clinical management in patients with both eating disorders and symptoms of borderline personality disorder. BMC Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 21;14:51.
  2. Robinson P, Hellier J, Barrett B, Barzdaitiene D, Bateman A, Bogaardt A, Clare A, Somers N, O’Callaghan A, Goldsmith K, Kern N, Schmidt U, Morando S,Ouellet-Courtois C, Roberts A, Skårderud F, Fonagy P. (2016). The NOURISHED randomised controlled trial comparing mentalisation-based treatment for eating disorders (MBT-ED) with specialist supportive clinical management (SSCM-ED) for patients with eating disorders and symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Trials.2016 Nov 17;17(1):549.
  3. Sacchetti S, Robinson P, Bogaardt A, Clare A, Ouellet-Courtois C, Luyten P, Bateman A, Fonagy P. (2019). Reduced mentalizing in patients with bulimia nervosa and features of borderline personality disorder: A case-control study. BMC Psychiatry. May 6;19(1):134.
  1. Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2019). A Randomized controlled trial of a mentalization-based intervention (MBT-FACTS) for families of people with borderline personality disorder. Personal Disord. Jan; 10(1):70-79
  1. Weijers J, Ten Kate C, Eurelings-Bontekoe E, Viechtbauer W, Rampaart R, Bateman A, Selten JP (2016) Mentalization-based treatment for psychotic disorder: protocol of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. Jun 8;16:191.

Ready to help?

The Mentalizing Initiative provides training for mental health clinicians that work with veterans, low-income communities, and other community mental health programs. You can help support us by donating or volunteering to assist in our programs.
Scroll to Top