What is Mentalizing?

Dr. Klabunde is one of the few practitioners in the San Francisco bay area with certification in Mentalization Based Treatment for Adolescents and Borderline Personality. What is mentalizing?

Mentalizing is "the ability to understand the mental state of one's self or others that underlies one's overt behaviors." 

Why is focusing on mentalizing in therapy important?

Mentalizing based treatments are rooted in neuroscience, developmental psychology, psychoanalytic theory and attachment theory research. Dr. Klabunde has chosen to treat patients with mentalizing based treatments because of its evidence base. Additionally,  the theory underlying mentalizing based treatment is consistent and congruent with Dr. Klabunde's neuroscience research and also the recent research on attachment theory.

Attachment theory describes how we as humans connect to each other.  Our ability to regulate our selves, emotions, behaviors and understand the people around us - ultimately our capacity to mentalize-  is rooted in how we connect to others.  Overall, mentalizing based treatment helps  "the ability to see others from the inside and yourself from the outside."  Thus, improving our abilities to regulate ourselves and better understand people allows us to live more in the present, better understand and interact with people and have more control over our actions. Ultimately, this leads one to developing a happier and a better quality of life. 

The concept mentalizing is not exclusive to mentalizing based treatments! The concept of mentalizing does, however,  provides a common language that unites many therapies for psychological problems including, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness treatments, family systems and social ecology. What makes mentalzing based treatments unique is that we primarily focus on mentalizing and enhancing mentalizing is a goal of the treatment.

Individual Therapy

Family Therapy



Licensed Psychologist

CogniTive Neuroscientist