Psychological trauma may significantly damage and deviate the individuals’ capacities for emotional understanding and processing, especially when traumatic experiences are severe, enduring, and occur early in life within the attachment relationships. In this chapter, we review the theoretical contributions and the empirical evidence linking alexithymia to psychological trauma and insecure attachment features. Early conceptualizations of alexithymia already included childhood interpersonal trauma and massive adult trauma among the potential precursors of alexithymic conditions. Furthermore, extensive research with clinical and community samples clearly indicates that trauma exposure and insecure attachment styles resulting from negative experiences with caregivers during childhood are positively associated with alexithymia. Therefore, theoretical considerations and research findings strongly converge, supporting the view that a thorough assessment of childhood attachment relationships and traumatic experiences is imperative in clinical work with alexithymic individuals, in order to better understand the origins and characteristics of their maladaptive strategies of emotion regulation and to provide treatment accordingly.

Attachment, trauma, and alexithymia

Adriano Schimmenti
;
2018

Abstract

Psychological trauma may significantly damage and deviate the individuals’ capacities for emotional understanding and processing, especially when traumatic experiences are severe, enduring, and occur early in life within the attachment relationships. In this chapter, we review the theoretical contributions and the empirical evidence linking alexithymia to psychological trauma and insecure attachment features. Early conceptualizations of alexithymia already included childhood interpersonal trauma and massive adult trauma among the potential precursors of alexithymic conditions. Furthermore, extensive research with clinical and community samples clearly indicates that trauma exposure and insecure attachment styles resulting from negative experiences with caregivers during childhood are positively associated with alexithymia. Therefore, theoretical considerations and research findings strongly converge, supporting the view that a thorough assessment of childhood attachment relationships and traumatic experiences is imperative in clinical work with alexithymic individuals, in order to better understand the origins and characteristics of their maladaptive strategies of emotion regulation and to provide treatment accordingly.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/134079
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