The behaviour now known as alexithymia was first described in detail by psychiatrists Peter E. Sifneos and John C. Nemiah who were then working at the Beth Israel Hospital with patients displaying psychosomatic disturbances. Many of these patients showed extreme difficulties in talking about their emotions, and in 1972 Sifneos coined the word alexithymia meaning 'without words for emotions' (from the Greek a = lack, lexis = word, thymos = emotion) to denote the cluster of behaviours he was witnessing1….. Over the past few decades the alexithymia concept has been refined theoretically, where it is presently defined by the following features:
(i) difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal;
(ii) difficulty describing feelings to other people;
(iii) constricted imaginal processes, as evidenced by a paucity of fantasies;
(iv) a stimulus-bound, externally oriented cognitive style.