Thursday, March 08, 2018

Philobats & Ocnophils

Both words are constructions using Greek word parts, and both are used almost exclusively
 by therapists. They are attributed to psychiatrist Michael Balint, and they appeared in the 
International Journal of Psycho-analysis in 1955.

A philobat is a person who enjoys coping with dangerous and uncertain situations – a thrill 
seeker who goes it alone. Dr. Balint combined the Greek word part philo- (one who loves) 
and extracted the word part –bat from acrobat (a rope walker).

An ocnophil is a person who avoids dangerous and uncertain situations. When threats arise, he or she clutches at objects of security, especially other people. Balint combined the Greek word part ocno- (hesitation) with –phil (one who loves).

While not the most euphonious of terms, they do stake out polar opposites.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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