Alexithymia and psychotherapy

Am J Psychother. 1979 Jan;33(1):17-31. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1979.33.1.17.


Alexithymia represents a disturbance in affective and cognitive function which overlaps diagnostic categories. Emotions are not differential, and are poor verbalized. Imagination related to drive fulfillment is limited. These and other problems seriously interfere with the patients' capacity to benefit from dynamic, uncovering or "anxiety-producing" psychotherapy. In order to consider possible remediation of the problem, we must explore the nature and causes of this disturbance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / physiopathology
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Affective Symptoms / therapy*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Countertransference
  • Empathy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Object Attachment
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods
  • Self Concept
  • Transference, Psychology