This paper describes the initial contact with a patient in a mental health service. The authors suggest how to collect an autobiography, focusing on the implicit and explicit aspects of the account. The narrative is presented as a potential model of a patient’s ways of thinking, highlighting the underlying identity and relational structures. The process of mentalization becomes an interpretative framework for the patient’s autobiographical narrative, emphasising the way the patient thinks about him/herself, others and about himself/herself in relation to others. The sharing of the final written report, at the end of the evaluation, marks the first distinct moment of confrontation between the patient and the therapist, during which emerge the personal ways of reacting to the representative discrepancy, between how one person thinks of oneself and how the others do.
Keywords: mentalization, assessment, autobiographical narration, personality disorders.