Representational and Encoding Processes: Dissociated Mode of Mentalization

Lily Rothschild-Yakar, Ariela Waniel, Daniel Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


We aimed to determine whether combining different levels along the encoding and representational processes can detect different profiles of mentalization. Our study is based on data on female adolescent inpatients with eating disorders (ED) and non-ED controls. Recent studies of the development of EDs relate these disorders to low mentalization ability (Fonagy et al. 1998).

We constructed four profiles based on combining different levels along the encoding and representational processes: high reflective-representations and accurate encoding (HH); high reflective-representations and inaccurate encoding (HL), which may represent a dissociative-pretend mode of experience; low reflective-representations and adequate encoding (LH); and low reflective-representations and inaccurate encoding (LL).

We hypothesized that patients with EDs and controls will present with different profiles. Specifically, non-ED controls will mainly present the HH profile, whereas ED patients, presenting with different levels of personality organization (Klump et al. 2000), will show the full range of profiles.

Our second aim was to examine the relation between these profiles and the psychopathological manifestation of pseudomentalization or collapse to the pretend mode of experience. We hypothesized that the HL profile will be related to dissociated manifestations whereas the other profiles will not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP22-NP28
JournalJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2014


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