Intellectualization occurs when reasoning and logic are used unconsciously to control internal conflict and emotional anxiety. People who intellectualize talk about feelings in a way that strikes the listener as emotionless. For example, if a man talks about “feeling rage” since he found out that his wife cheated on him in a detached and casual tone. It is as if they were talking about the weather report.
There are advantages to intellectualization-it shows considerable ego strength to be able to think rationally about a situation fraught with emotional meaning. For those that tend to over-depend on intellectualization, psychotherapy is intended to help these individuals process their personal experiences with more emotional affect and acknowledgment of their feelings. For those that cannot leave this defense mechanism behind, they tend to have limited enjoyment of playful conversations, artistic expression, sex and adult play, limiting their full enjoyment of the human experience.
If you suffer from depression or are interested marriage counseling or psychotherapy and live in the Newport Beach, Irvine, or Orange County area, please contact Jennifer De Francisco, MPA, MSW, LCSW at (949) 251-8797.