Reflective functioning is a term often used interchangeably with mentalizing to refer to the ability to understand oneself and others in terms of intentional mental states. The ability to mentalize is key to both making sense of one’s own feelings and relating to other people. Mentalizing involves interpersonal and self-reflective components that, ideally, provide the individual with a well-developed capacity to distinguish inner from outer reality, pretend from real modes of functioning, and intrapersonal mental and emotional processes from interpersonal communications.

Reflective functioning refers to a specific operationalization of the mentalizing construct in the form of a rating scale, the Reflective Functioning Scale. This can be applied to transcripts of the Adult Attachment Interview and has also been used with other measures of attachment. A different ...

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