Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo
Psychology 2e

Key Terms

Psychology 2eKey Terms

institution created for the specific purpose of housing people with psychological disorders
aversive conditioning
counterconditioning technique that pairs an unpleasant stimulant with an undesirable behavior
behavior therapy
therapeutic orientation that employs principles of learning to help clients change undesirable behaviors
biomedical therapy
treatment that involves medication and/or medical procedures to treat psychological disorders
cognitive therapy
form of psychotherapy that focuses on how a person’s thoughts lead to feelings of distress, with the aim of helping them change these irrational thoughts
cognitive-behavioral therapy
form of psychotherapy that aims to change cognitive distortions and self-defeating behaviors
comorbid disorder
individual who has two or more diagnoses, which often includes a substance abuse diagnosis and another psychiatric diagnosis, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
therapist cannot disclose confidential communications to any third party, unless mandated or permitted by law
classical conditioning therapeutic technique in which a client learns a new response to a stimulus that has previously elicited an undesirable behavior
couples therapy
two people in an intimate relationship, such as husband and wife, who are having difficulties and are trying to resolve them with therapy
cultural competence
therapist’s understanding and attention to issues of race, culture, and ethnicity in providing treatment
process of closing large asylums and integrating people back into the community where they can be treated locally
dream analysis
technique in psychoanalysis in which patients recall their dreams and the psychoanalyst interprets them to reveal unconscious desires or struggles
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
type of biomedical therapy that involves using an electrical current to induce seizures in a person to help alleviate the effects of severe depression
exposure therapy
counterconditioning technique in which a therapist seeks to treat a client’s fear or anxiety by presenting the feared object or situation with the idea that the person will eventually get used to it
family therapy
special form of group therapy consisting of one or more families
free association
technique in psychoanalysis in which the patient says whatever comes to mind at the moment
group therapy
treatment modality in which 5–10 people with the same issue or concern meet together with a trained clinician
humanistic therapy
therapeutic orientation aimed at helping people become more self-aware and accepting of themselves
individual therapy
treatment modality in which the client and clinician meet one-on-one
therapist’s first meeting with the client in which the therapist gathers specific information to address the client’s immediate needs
involuntary treatment
therapy that is mandated by the courts or other systems
nondirective therapy
therapeutic approach in which the therapist does not give advice or provide interpretations but helps the person identify conflicts and understand feelings
play therapy
therapeutic process, often used with children, that employs toys to help them resolve psychological problems
therapeutic orientation developed by Sigmund Freud that employs free association, dream analysis, and transference to uncover repressed feelings
(also, psychodynamic psychotherapy) psychological treatment that employs various methods to help someone overcome personal problems, or to attain personal growth
rational emotive therapy (RET)
form of cognitive-behavioral therapy
repeated drug use and/or alcohol use after a period of improvement from substance abuse
Rogerian (client-centered therapy)
non-directive form of humanistic psychotherapy developed by Carl Rogers that emphasizes unconditional positive regard and self-acceptance
strategic family therapy
therapist guides the therapy sessions and develops treatment plans for each family member for specific problems that can addressed in a short amount of time
structural family therapy
therapist examines and discusses with the family the boundaries and structure of the family: who makes the rules, who sleeps in the bed with whom, how decisions are made, and what are the boundaries within the family
systematic desensitization
form of exposure therapy used to treat phobias and anxiety disorders by exposing a person to the feared object or situation through a stimulus hierarchy
token economy
controlled setting where individuals are reinforced for desirable behaviors with tokens (e.g., poker chip) that be exchanged for items or privileges
process in psychoanalysis in which the patient transfers all of the positive or negative emotions associated with the patient’s other relationships to the psychoanalyst
unconditional positive regard
fundamental acceptance of a person regardless of what they say or do; term associated with humanistic psychology
virtual reality exposure therapy
uses a simulation rather than the actual feared object or situation to help people conquer their fears
voluntary treatment
therapy that a person chooses to attend in order to obtain relief from her symptoms
Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jan 6, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.