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Alexithymia Add-On Assessment

Understanding Alexithymia

Image by Gaelle Marcel

Alexithymia is a condition where individuals struggle to identify and express their emotions.

Although it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5 TR), it's recognized as a significant concept in psychology.


Rather than indicating a disorder, alexithymia describes a different way of experiencing and processing emotions. Understanding this condition is critical for maintaining healthy relationships, as it provides a framework for better communication and empathy.

People with alexithymia may find it difficult to distinguish between various emotions or to articulate their feelings. This can lead to misunderstandings in relationships, as the emotional component of communication might be less clear.


It's crucial to approach alexithymia from a non-pathologizing perspective, recognizing that emotional experiences vary from person to

Assessing Alexithymia

Image by Brett Jordan

The clinical assessment of alexithymia at the Adult Autism Assessment Center involves evaluating a person's ability to identify, describe, and process emotions.


The assessment typically requires two sessions. Here are the key components:

Semi-Structured Interviews:

Clinicians conduct semi-structured interviews to understand a person's emotional awareness, communication style, and behavior patterns. They may ask about the individual's personal history, family background, and current relationships.

Self-Report Questionnaires:

Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20): A 20-item, self-administered questionnaire that measures difficulty in identifying and describing emotions, a significant aspect of alexithymia. The TAS-20 focuses on three key factors:

  • difficulty identifying subjective emotional feelings,

  • distinguishing feelings and bodily sensations from emotional arousal, and difficulty describing feelings.

Online Alexithymia Questionnaire (OAQ-G2): A self-administered questionnaire that measures difficulty in identifying and describing emotions and distinguishing between bodily sensations and emotional arousal. It measures seven factors:

  • difficulty identifying emotions

  • difficulty describing feelings

  • vicarious interpretation of feelings

  • externally oriented thinking

  • restricted imaginative processes

  • problematic interpersonal relationships

  • and sexual difficulties or disinterest.

Behavioral Observations:

Clinicians observe the individual's behavior during the assessment, noting non-verbal cues, emotional responses, and communication patterns.

Collateral Information:

Information from family members, friends, or significant others provides a more comprehensive view of the individual's emotional functioning and interpersonal relationships.


These components help clinicians understand the level of alexithymia and guide appropriate interventions or treatments. This understanding can lead to improved relationships through more effective communication and empathy.

Add On Assessment

This assessment is available as an add on to a diagnostic assessment of autism or ADHD. 


  • As an add-on to an ASD or ADHD assessment provided by one of our clinicians

  • One session to review

  • $300


​If you are not interested in a diagnostic assessment, but are wondering about Alexithymia, talk to your clinician for ways to explore your questions.

Because the post-assessment therapy is essential to gaining the full value of this assessment, we do not offer this service without an accompanying plan for on-going therapy. The additional related therapy would be at the regular session rate for your therapist.

These costs cover the time, resources, and expertise of our clinicians to conduct the assessment and provide comprehensive feedback.

Working with Alexithymia: Individual and Couples Sessions

After the assessment, clinicians at the Adult Autism Assessment Center offer follow-up sessions to work with individuals and couples dealing with alexithymia. These sessions are not part of the initial assessment and are charged at the clinician's regular rate.

In individual sessions, clinicians help clients develop skills to manage alexithymia and improve emotional awareness. They guide clients through a personalized approach to:

  • Identify emotions: Learn to recognize and name different emotions as they occur.

  • Express feelings: Practice articulating feelings in various contexts to improve communication.

  • Enhance emotional literacy: Build a vocabulary of emotions and understand how they manifest physically.

  • Develop coping strategies: Find methods to manage stress and discomfort related to emotional situations.

  • Practice mindfulness: Use mindfulness techniques to increase emotional awareness and reduce reactivity.

In couples sessions, clinicians work with partners to improve communication and foster empathy. They help couples navigate the complexities of alexithymia through:

  • Building understanding: Encourage partners to understand alexithymia and how it impactS their relationship.

  • Improving communication: Teach techniques for effective communication that consider emotional differences.

  • Resolving conflicts: Guide couples in resolving conflicts that arise from misinterpretations or misunderstandings.

  • Strengthening connection: Focus on activities that strengthen the emotional bond between partners.

  • Developing empathy: Support couples in developing empathy and patience with one another's emotional experiences.

These additional sessions aim to offer ongoing support and help individuals and couples address the challenges posed by alexithymia. By working with clinicians, clients can strengthen their relationships, improve emotional understanding, and find more effective ways to connect.

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