So, the structure of my mentalisation based treatment (MBT hereafter) is as follows:
Group sessions (8 members plus 2 psychologists) Tuesday mornings 1.5 hrs
Individual sessions Thursday mornings 50 mins
Every week for the next 18 months. Intense, right?
Last week was the first week. We all sat in the waiting room ignoring each other until we got called through and filed into the group room awkwardly. I was shaking. They explained that for the first 6 weeks we’ll have having psycho-education about concepts that are relevant to MBT. Then we’ll have a week off before the therapy begins for realz.
Group: What is mentalising?
Mentalising is thinking about what is going on inside other people, their thoughts and emotions, and also what is going inside ourselves. What are we thinking and feeling? How does this affect our behaviour? How can we choose to behave differently if we want to? Mentalising about other people is hard because you can never know for sure what other people are thinking or feeling. We can try to keep an open mind and use their words and behaviour as clues. Asking someone how their feeling can act as a guide, though they may not wish to tell you, or they may also find it difficult to pinpoint and vocalise their own feelings.
I found it really strange being in a room with seven other people who I know to have BPD. It was especially interesting to me to meet three men with BPD, as I have mostly talked to and known women with BPD. I think I’m glad that our group is quite balanced: three men, four women and me (genderqueer). I am hoping I will feel less left out about being genderqueer if there is a gender mix compared to if it was women only and I felt like the odd one out. I’m still worried about talking about my gender at all though, because I feel like people won’t understand.
The first group session was quite dramatic, even though we technically haven’t started the therapy side of it yet. Tensions were running high because everyone was nervous and there was an argument, a few tears and someone nearly walked out. It has made me wary and scared of opening up, I know it could have been me and I’m scared of conflict and of getting upset or angry in front of everyone. I don’t know if these fears are normal or part of why I’m in the group – maybe both.
Individual session: Meeting my therapist for the first time
While I had met with the group leaders prior to the group, I’d only spoken briefly on the phone with my individual therapist to arrange the meeting. I was nervous and worried that I wouldn’t like her. I really wanted us to get on so that we could work well together over the next eighteen months and I can get the most out of my therapy. I couldn’t manage to eat anything before going. I felt sick.
I was relieved to find that she seems quite nice. She was understanding about me being non-monogamous and seems open minded. She pounced on it a bit when I said that I felt like I might have to rush to the toilet when she asked me about my childhood. I just have IBS that is triggered by stress and it had been bad all morning. It’s so annoying when psychologists get inappropriately excited when they think they’re getting to something juicy. Having said that I never talked much about my childhood in the session, so if I was avoiding it (which I don’t feel I was, I just didn’t know where to start) it appears I did so successfully. Perhaps next time we’ll have more time to talk about that stuff.
I’m feeling hopeful about MBT, I know it’s a big commitment but I really hope it can help me.
- My MBT Evaluation (borderlionblog.wordpress.com)
- A huge decision and a bombshell (mybpdstory.wordpress.com)
- Coming out of the liminal closet (unidiversityblog.wordpress.com)
- Reader Ramblings: Explaining Genderqueer To Those Who Are Not (neutrois.me)