By : Michael Kasdaglis, Dcsw

Feeling Words and Phrases

Psychotherapeutic techniques; Art, or Science ?


Alexithymia is a characterological trait that may or may not be a symptom of a formal psychiatric disorder; notwithstanding, individuals with such a trait experience difficulties in a few areas, though they may not be aware of its real origin. There are defects and/or deficits in their ability to be aware of emotions, process emotions, or even express them.

They have considerable difficulty discerning between body, cognitive, and emotional experiences, and are limited in their 'feelings' vocabulary, often appearing bewildered at best, withdrawn and apathetic at worst. Most notable are the following:

  1. Limited in their "emotional vocabulary" resulting in anger, frustration, and feelings of despondency over their belief no one understands them.
  2. Their fantasy life is grossly impoverished.
  3. Limited ability for introspective thinking.
  4. Limited ability to be emotionally supportive or express empathy.

It is important to remember that Alexithymia as a trait ought not to be thought of as invariable or static; but rather as a peculiarity existing within a spectrum of variability and significance; that is, this trait may be more prominent in one and less in another.

Usually, Alexithymia is accidentally discovered by professionals in the course of treating these individuals for other reasons. Neither treatment nor progress comes easy in these cases. Alexithymics are not able to clearly, or succinctly communicate what, or how they are feeling. Especially in processing metaphors or equivalents laden with emotional content.

The following is a list of feeling words that have been found useful by people needing to be more diligent in understanding, or describing how they feel.




Copyright © 1987 Michael Kasdaglis, Abmhd. All rights reserved!