Definition of mentalization / mentalisation

 Via @Sigrun_

Here is the English study that these definitions come from:

Different approaches to understanding patients in general practice in Denmark: aqualitative study

involves being aware of and absorbing and understanding mental conditions in
oneself and others. Many mental processes are involved – not only thoughts and
emotions, but also needs, wishes and fantasies. In all social interactions, for
example in the relation between patient and doctor, the ability to perceive and
interpret the intentions, impressions and emotions of oneself and others is

This definition is by Bengt Mattsson, professor
emeritus at the unit for general medicine, University of Gothenburg, from his
“Om läkares olika fallenhet att relatera till patienter”. The title can be roughly translated as “On doctors’ different ways of relating to patients”.
The study he describes found four different ways of
relating to patients, many of whom had mental problems:
Mentalizing: Emotionally engaged, welcoming attitude, accepting of differences, curious
and intent on understanding thoughts, emotions and impressions. Often able to
connect with the patients’ situation from a broad overview.
Limited mentalization ability: Interested in the problem but could not always see a
connection with other life situations. Limited interest and curiosity, uneven
seriousness and respect for the patient.
Rejecting: Limited patience, could dismiss the patient’s perspective, did not
reflect much over their own role in the interaction. Might scoff at patients
with mental problems.
Biomedical: Focus on categorization, diagnostics, rating scales and medical
treatment. The doctors were neutral and did not wish to be involved in
psychological circumstances. The narratives of patients were considered
information to be fitted into a biomedical frame.

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