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StoléRu, S. Mer, M.L. (2007). The Algorithmically Structured Systematic Exploration of Subject's State of Mind. I. Development of a New Interview. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 4(4):349-370.

(2007). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(4):349-370

Research Articles

The Algorithmically Structured Systematic Exploration of Subject's State of Mind. I. Development of a New Interview

Serge StoléRu and Marie-NoëLle Le Mer

Objective: To develop an interview method that combined the qualities of unstructured interviews, such as openness to unexpected information, and the qualities of structured interviews, such as adequate psychometric properties. Method: The innovative principle of the Algorithmically Structured Systematic Exploration of Subject's State of Mind (Assess_Mind) is to investigate, not the contents of mental phenomenology, but five mental functions - or “registers” - that mediate the experience of patients. The functioning of these registers - affects, fears, desires, memories, and associations of ideas - is explored using a rigorously defined algorithm for interviewing. Scales have been developed to rate 390 interviews on psychopathological dimensions of interest in a study of patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Results: As shown by vignettes from the various registers, the Assess_Mind provides detailed, comprehensive, and deep information on the five registers it investigates. Conclusion: Although the Assess_Mind uses a structured algorithm for data collection, its usefulness as a clinical research tool is based on the width and depth of its coverage of patients' current mental experience.

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