Mentalization as alphabetization of the emotions: Oscillation between the opening and closing of possible worlds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mentalization defines the capacity to attribute mental states such as desires and beliefs to others and to understand that these can differ from our own. Such a capacity can be compromised in several psychiatric conditions and is the main target of many types of psychotherapy. Here we propose a theoretic model in which mentalization is achieved through a process we have termed “alphabetization” of the emotions. In this model, the patient–analyst relationship is observed within the analytic field so that all the communications of the patient and/or the analyst can be considered as “dreams” narrating the emotional “climate” of the field itself. Both the analyst and the patient contribute to the generation of the “climate,” and the analyst’s role is to promote the patient’s capacity to convert the unknown sensations into “dreams” or stories so as to make the emotional experience symbolized and meaningful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Forum of Psychoanalysis
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2017

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Emotions
Climate
Psychotherapy
Psychiatry
Theoretical Models
Communication

Keywords

  • alphabetization
  • analytic field
  • creativity
  • mentalization
  • waking dream thought

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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