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Alexithymia

Alexithymia is a psychological construct used to describe patients who have difficulty articulating and understanding their emotions and/or feelings. Coined in 1972 by Peter Sifneos, the term alexithymia was built from Greek words meaning “a lack of words for emotions” (a = lack; lexis = speech; thumos = soul, the seat of emotions and thought). In the original formulation, alexithymia was characterized by four factors: (1) difficulty in identifying and distinguishing between feelings and bodily sensations, (2) difficulty in describing feelings to others, (3) impairment in imagination (i.e., a lack or reduction of fantasies or daydreaming), and (4) externally oriented thinking (i.e., primarily focusing only on the details around the person; stimulus bound). Concerns had been raised about the appropriate treatment of this subgroup, ...

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