Psychological Mindedness

Psychological mindedness (PM) is an individual's capacity for self-examination, self-observation, introspection and personal insight. It also includes an ability to recognize and see the links between current problems within self and with others, and the ability to insight one's past particularly for its impact on present attitudes and functioning. Psychologically minded people have average and above-average intelligence and generally have some insight into their problems even before they enter therapy. Psychological mindedness is distinct from intellectualizations and obsessional rumination about one's inner problems. The latter is of no help in psychotherapy, rather it is a sign of resistance.

Psychological mindedness bespeaks a capacity to tolerate psychological conflict and stress intrapsychically rather than by regressive means of conflict management or resolution such as somatization. Its role, like that of alexithymia, in the genesis of psychosomatic illness is becoming evident.

Conceptual definitions of PM have included variant, but related descriptions. Some definitions relate solely to the self, “a person’s ability to see relationships among thoughts, feelings, and actions with the goal of learning the meanings and causes of his experiences and behaviors”. Conte (1996) extended the concept beyond self-focus, as involving “... both self-understanding and an interest in the motivation and behavior of others”. Finally, Hall’s (1992) definition introduces the multidimensional nature of PM. She defined it as “reflectivity about psychological processes, relationships and meanings is displayed by ... both interest in and ability for such reflectivity across affective and intellectual dimensions”

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