Alexithymia is the inability to feel, process or understand emotions.

Summary by The World of Work Project


Alexithymia derives from three Greek words: “a”, “lexi” and “thymia”. The core definitions of these blocks loosely translate as “not”, “speaking” and “soul”, so alexithymia can be thought of as not speaking from the soul.

The more technical definition of alexithymia is that it’s a construct of personality that manifests as a subclinical inability to recognize or describe emotions in the self.

However we describe it, alexithymia appears as lack of emotional awareness, lack of social awareness or attachment and lack of ability to relate to others. From the perspective of other topics we have covered, we can think of it as a significant lack of emotional intelligence.

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Learning More

Emotional intelligence is often an important skill in the world of work, at least for certain types of roles. That said, many people debate what it actually is and if it’s really a thing. The ability to be aware of our own emotions is sometimes known as metamood. Developing self-awareness can be part of developing emotional intelligence.

You can learn more about emotions and emotional intelligence in our podcast on the subject:

The World of Work Project View

It’s nice to have a word that means lack of emotional intelligence, and we like the poetic nature of its etymology, but we don’t think that many people will actually use it.

It’s also quite a clinical definition, and one that we think is not going to be too common or helpful in most places of work.

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The information in this post, which is a stub, comes from various definitions and articles on alexithymia on the internet. There are no specific references for it.

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