• Subscribe

    Subscribe to our mailing list

    * indicates required
  • Login
  • My Cart

3. Tomkins’s Affect System


  • Be able to understand how Tomkins defined the importance of the Affect System for biology, culture, and personality.
  • Discuss some clinical examples of how the recognition of the affects and their triggers helps in psychotherapy.


EA, “The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of the Study of Personality.” pp. 303-311.

Nathanson S&P, “The Affect System,” Chapter 2, pp. 47-65.

Bulletin, v4, #3-4, 1996, Donald L. Nathanson, “The Philadelphia System,” pp. 21-26.

Bulletin, v1, #2, 1994, Donald L. Nathanson, “The Case Against Depression,” pp. 1-3.

Bulletin, v1, #1, 1994, Donald L. Nathanson, “Old Concept/New Concept,” pp. 4-5.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How are biology, social factors, and affect interrelated in the study of personality?
  2. Give several examples of how affective shifts in personality are influenced by social factors.
  3. Explain the concepts of hardware, firmware, and software.
  4. How does the therapeutic use of analogues aid in generating health?
  5. What are the four points of Kelly’s theory of intimacy?
  6. How does Nathanson define depressive behavior using Tomkins’s ideas as a frame?
  7. Explain the differences between drives and affects.
  8. How does observing affect help therapists treat “impulsivity”?