The language of feelings

Abstract

The acquisition of a language of feelings is similar to the acquisition of other language and can be conceptualized within a Piagetian framework. The acquisition of this language of feelings is subject to certain pitfalls that are reflective of various emotional problems. The linguistic poverty for affect that is concomitant with being unable to label feelings points to the need for parents and therapists to be involved in helping the child or patient develop an “affective schema.” The development of a differentiated, accurate, and flexible language of emotion to both express personal feelings and evoke responses in others is a schematic gift which parents provide. We find that when parents have not provided this, a reparative language developmental task is part of a psychotherapy. A grasp of the interplay of the concepts ofassimilation andaccommodation in Piaget (1952) appears essential to encouraging a healthy language of feelings. Related concepts drawn from Schacter (1965), Laing (1967), Krystal (1979), Kelly (1955) and Malerstein and Ahern (1979) are interwoven in a Piagetian structure for a language of feelings.

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Peake, T.H., Egli, D. The language of feelings. J Contemp Psychother 13, 162–174 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00946353

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Keywords

  • Public Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Emotional Problem
  • Related Concept
  • Developmental Task