Psychic Reality Paper

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The psychoanalytic concept of psychic reality was proposed by Fonagy and Target in a series of papers (Fonagy & Target, 1996, 2000, 2007; Target & Fonagy, 1996). The theory of psychic reality also shares a lot of similarities with previous two theories, but Fonagy and Target extended the scope of mentalizing on various aspects.

The Developmental Mode
Three pre-reflective modes were introduced. The limitations in mentalizing capacity of these pre-reflective modes are in accordance with the child’s premature cognitive development and therefore are not pathological in the first place. On the contrary, the limitations are universal among children (Fonagy & Target, 1996). The first pre-reflective mode is called Psychic Equivalence mode in which
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In addition, the issue of trauma was also raised by Fonagy and Target (2000) because if surrounded by threat or actual trauma, children will have limited resources for developing knowledge and experiences of mental states. The unique contribution of the psychic reality theory is the abundant clinical illustrations of the manifestation of pre-reflective modes. For example, a patient may have the “know it all” attitude in the psychic equivalence mode and therefore have distorted assumptions about other people’s intention (Bateman & Fonagy, 2004a). More seriously, when patients feeling bad in the mode of psychic equivalence, the bad feelings can be translated directly into ‘actual badness’ of themselves. If these feelings happen in a teleological mode of functioning, patients may seek self-destructive actions as the way to escape the unbearable feeling. (Fonagy & Bateman, 2006). In contrast, there may be no “felt feeling” for the patient who is operating in the pretend mode; he or she may talk about affect that is not felt at the same time (Bateman & Fonagy,…show more content…
Unlike the theories introduced above, the concept does not give a full account of the development of RF ability; instead, it addresses the specific psychological processes involved in the mentalizing process. The relationship between the concept and the RFS is briefly introduced in this section in order to clarify the rationale for the design of the RFS.

Attachment quality is found to be associated with individuals’ representations of self and others (Bakermans-Kranenburg & Van Ijzendoorn, 2009; Sroufe, 2005; Van Ijzendoorn, 1995). Main (1991) suggests that these interpersonal representations are displayed through various psychological processes such as memory recalling, internal organization and verbal expression. The individual differences in terms of attachment security will be demonstrated not only in the 'content' of the representations but also in the 'flexibility and readiness for examination' (Main, 1991, p. 128). To be more specific, secure individuals are not only able to give coherent and integrated accounts of their attachment experiences but also more willing to think about or entertain these thoughts. Based on this theoretical formulation, the RFS was developed to measure not only the content of the participants’ narratives but also to assess the plausibility, consistency,
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