Predicting properties of alexithymia on help-seeking attitudes towards professional psychological help: a call out to practitioners to redefine the counselling mindset
Research on why people underutilise mental health help-seeking sources has baffled the scientific community. Social, gender, attachment and clinical theories have all contested to illuminate the intricate nature of this observed behaviour, that leads to poorer mental health prognosis and even financial repercussions. This study examined the effects of alexithymia (externally oriented thinking ‘EOT’, difficulty identifying feelings ‘DIF’, and difficulty describing feelings ‘DDF’), and prior counselling utilisation on the prediction of help-seeking attitudes. Potential sex differences were also examined in separate regression models. The analysis was carried out with a sample consisting of 557 utilisers and non-utilisers. Results found that EOT was the most consistent predictor, overpassing the effects of total sessions and DIF. DDF was found not a statistically significant predictor. However, separate analyses determined distinct sex differences in alexithymic pathways to help-seeking attitudes. Theoretical and practical implications are critically discussed in relation to early prevention, therapeutic planning, and counselling reformations.