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Lingiardi, V. Colli, A. Muzi, L. (2018). A Clinically Useful Assessment of Patients' (and Therapists') Mental Functioning: M-Axis Implications for the Therapeutic Alliance. Psychoanal. Psychol., 35(3):306-314.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 35(3):306-314

A Clinically Useful Assessment of Patients' (and Therapists') Mental Functioning: M-Axis Implications for the Therapeutic Alliance

Vittorio Lingiardi, M.D., Antonello Colli, Ph.D. and Laura Muzi, Ph.D.

Among its several changes and innovations, the second edition of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2) strongly emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic relationship. The manual helps clinicians to understand better their behaviors in therapy with different patient groups, to guide therapeutic interventions, to track in-session processes, to deal with ruptures in the therapeutic alliance, and to achieve a better therapy outcome. In this article, we examine the clinical implications of the PDM-2 Adult M Axis (i.e., the Profile of Mental Functioning). We begin by describing the structure and main features of the M Axis. We then outline how a psychodynamically informed assessment of the mental capacities involved in a patient's overall psychological health or pathology can provide therapists with useful insight into the development of the therapeutic alliance. We discuss 2 items of a clinical measure developed by our research group (the Collaborative Interactions Scale—Revised), to illustrate their interplay with specific M-Axis mental capacities and the role of this interplay in determining both patients' and therapists' contributions to the therapeutic alliance. Finally, we provide a clinical illustration and commented excerpt, along with the patient and therapist assessments of M-Axis capacities.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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