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Falkenström, F. Solbakken, O.A. Möller, C. Lech, B. Sandell, R. Holmqvist, R. (2014). Reflective Functioning, Affect Consciousness, and Mindfulness: Are these Different Functions?. Psychoanal. Psychol., 31(1):26-40.

(2014). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 31(1):26-40

Reflective Function

Reflective Functioning, Affect Consciousness, and Mindfulness: Are these Different Functions?

Fredrik Falkenström, Ph.D., Ole André Solbakken, Ph.D., Clara Möller, M.A., Börje Lech, Ph.D., Rolf Sandell, Ph.D. and Rolf Holmqvist, Ph.D.

Concepts of mentalization, affect consciousness, and mindfulness have been increasingly emphasized as crucial in psychotherapy of diverse orientations. Different measures have been developed that purportedly measure these concepts, but little is known about their interrelationships. We discuss conceptual overlaps and distinctions between these three concepts, and present results from a preliminary empirical study comparing their measures. To study the relationships between these concepts, data from a group of psychotherapy students (N = 46) was used. Mentalization operationalized as Reflective Functioning (RF) was rated on transcripts of a brief version of the Adult Attachment Interview; the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) was used to measure mindfulness; and the Affect Consciousness Interview-Self/Other version (ACI-S/O) to measure affect consciousness. There was a small but statistically significant relationship between RF and FFMQ, but surprisingly no relationship between AC-S/O and RF or FFMQ. A post hoc analysis showed a relationship between consciousness of others' affects and a reduced version of the RF scale. Results confirm that mentalization and mindfulness share some common variance, but contrary to expectations, affect consciousness seems to be more different from RF and mindfulness than expected. A possible explanation for the counterintuitive finding of no relationship between RF and affect

consciousness is that the high end of the affect consciousness scale measures a mature capacity for mentalized affectivity, while RF is largely a buffer against trauma and adversity. Low or absent findings for the FFMQ are explained more in terms of different methods variance.

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