Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) for Fostering & Adoption: Reflective fostering

About this course

We have developed a new approach to working with children and young people in foster care (called MBT-Fostering), to try and support their emotional wellbeing more effectively. MBT-Fostering aims to promote the quality of relationships, support effective and sensitive foster care, and help carers to help the child in their care understand and manage emotions better. The focus is on improving the core components of secure attachment, including collaboration, and parental (or carer) reflective capacity. The MBT-Fostering approach pays particular attention to developing reflective practice for all professionals working with LAC.


This course is designed for anyone working with LAC in either a social care setting, mental health setting or private Fostering setting. The course introduces social workers to a model for working with foster parents using mentalization. The emphasis is on helping social workers support foster carers to mentalize the children they are caring for.

There will be a theoretical and research background to the issues facing children in care who have experienced trauma and neglect followed by a focus on how the principles of mentalization can be applied, and adapted to this group of children with particular difficulties in emotion regulation and perspective-taking. Strategies will be practiced, which can help unstick conversations with foster carers and help them become more mentalized.

The course introduces specific parenting techniques associated with a mentalizing stance, to enhance foster carers/adoptive parents' confidence as well as to bring a reduction in difficult and aggressive behaviours. Fostering social workers will be asked to practice techniques in small groups.

 Who is this course suitable for?

The course is suitable for anyone working with LAC in either a social care setting, mental health setting or private Fostering setting. It would work particularly well where managers want to train up a whole team in a mentalizing approach. Local Authority Looked After Children Services may wish to initiate participation in the training for groups of foster parents following care proceedings. If you are interested in commissioning this training locally, please email

For those booking onto this training after July 2018, it will be a requirement that attendees of this training must complete the MBT Online training before the training start date. You will be given access to the Online training one month before the training start date. The Online training consists of a series of short videos that span four hours and cover the theory of MBT and so it is essential that you watch these prior to the training. If you do not complete these, you will not have the theoretical knowledge to get the most out of the training you are scheduled to attend. The content of the Online training will not be covered in the in-person training. If, for any reason, you require access to the Online training sooner than one month prior to the training start date, please let us know and we will be able to grant you access. Please note that training places must be paid for in order to be granted access to the Online training.

 Aims of the course? 

  • To introduce a mentalizing stance to fostering social workers and those working with LAC in order to help stabilize placements and help manage the emotional and behavioural difficulties of children in care.
  • To help fostering social workers in their observations of the parent-child/young person relationship and to identify where there is a break down in mentalizing and how this impacts on the emotional well being and behavior of the young person.