Emotional Intelligence Health

Alexithymia: when we are unable to communicate emotions.


You imagine you not being able to describe your emotions? This is what him sucede to the people with alexithymia. This term, entered for the first time by the psychiatrist Peter Sifneos in 1972, does reference to a personal characteristic that consists in an inability to be able to identify the emotions, so much the own like the ones of the otherand therefore express verbalmente the emotional experience.

Characteristics of the Alexithymia.

The people that suffer of alexithymia have difficulties in four main dimensions:

  1. Difficulty to identify emotions and feelings. They are lacking people of empathy.
  2. Problems to communicate the emotions. They are used to to speak little, by what are used to to look seriousness and be boring people.
  3. Reduction of the dreams and fantasys. Inner life very poor.
  4. Thought oriented to the outside. The cognitive style of these people is external and concrete. They are people extremely rational and practical.

The emotions fulfil a adaptative function, therefore, the impossibility to recognise them involves problems related with physical illnesses and psciomáticas, as well as sexual problems because of the fault of wish and even impotence. The not being able to recognise properly the emotions carries them in occasions to react of impulsive form in front of determinate situations, due to the fact that they are not able to relate them with the correct emotion.

>> Article related: basic Emotions: criteria of classification

When being unable to handle the affective states, the people with alexitimia have problems to the hour to establish interpersonal relations and keep stable affective bonds, by this type are liable to generate emotional dependency and social isolation.

Causes of the Alexithymia.

The alexitimia can be caused so much by biological causes:  inheritance, genetic malformations, problems in the neural development, cerebral injuries or illnesses neurológicas. Besides, it can develop as measured defence, cutting the access to emotions perturbadoras,  in front of traumatic episodes  (people that have suffered Disorder by Stress Postraumático – TEP -); in front of the emotional stress, or people with other disorders, like the depression disorders of the alimentary behaviour, etc..

The prevention of the alexithymia goes through the emotional education of base. The boys have to learn to identify emotions and to express them. For this, the models of reference of the boys (parents) have to express also his emotions so that the boys do not learn to repress them.

The process of treatment of the alexithymia bases in the development of the emotional consciousness: detect basic emotions, assimilate the emotion, comprise it and autorregularla.

If you seat you identified with the alexithymia, do not punish you thus, recognises the problem and attends to a professional that orient you in the discovery of the emotions.

>> Article related: The wheel of the emotions, of Robert Plutchik



Belloch To.; Sandín, B. And Bouquets, F. (2009.): Manual of PsicopatologíaVolume II (revised Text). McGraw-Hill. Madrid, 2009.

Jordan, K.D., Smith T.W. (2017). The Interpersonal domain of alexithymia. Personality and Individual Differences. 110 (1) pp. 65–69.

Alexitimia. Webconsultas.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicopico.com. Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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