Key Terms: Treatment of Abnormal Behavior
What is Psychological Treatment?
- Mental health professionals: Psychologists, medical doctors and nurses, social workers, and licensed counselors who provide psychological treatment.
- Psychotherapy: An ongoing relationship between a patient and a therapist, in which the two discuss the patient’s experiences and symptoms.
- Pharmacological treatment: When a mental health professional prescribes a drug for a patient to alleviate psychological distress.
Treatment Orientations and Formats
- Theoretical orientation: A therapist’s belief system about the cause and nature of psychological distress and the appropriate treatment, which influences the therapist’s choice of techniques and treatment goals.
- Dream interpretation: A psychodynamic therapy technique that analyzes the meaning of symbols from dreams to help access the unconscious.
- Free association: A psychodynamic therapy technique in which the patient is instructed to “think out loud” to help access the unconscious.
- Transference: A term from psychodynamic therapy to describe when feelings directed at one person become redirected to another person, often the therapist.
- Self-actualization: A term from humanistic therapy that refers to an individual’s ability to live up to his or her full human potential.
- Client-centered therapy: The most popular humanistic therapy, which views patients as “clients” and focuses on authenticity and healthy self-concept; created by Carl Rogers.
- Unconditional positive regard: A client-centered technique in which the therapist communicates positive feelings and acceptance to the client, regardless of what the client says or does.
- Active listening: A client-centered technique in which the therapist verbally and non-verbally communicates interest in what the client is saying in order to encourage openness.
- Gestalt therapy: A humanistic therapy that maintains that psychological distress occurs when patients focus on what could be, rather than on the present moment; developed by Fritz Perls.
- Existential therapy: A humanistic therapy based on the theory that psychological distress occurs when life lacks meaning; popularized by Irving Yalom.
- Learned helplessness: A phenomenon described by behaviorists in which an individual, frustrated by failed attempts to escape an adverse situation, gives up all efforts to escape it.
- Applied behavioral analysis (ABA): A behavioral therapy technique used to identify factors in the environment that are reinforcing or punishing certain behaviors.
- Token economies: A technique used in behavioral therapy to reinforce positive behaviors with tokens, which can be exchanged for other rewards.
- Systematic desensitization: A behavioral therapy used to treat phobias by gradually associating feared stimuli with relaxing stimuli; created by Joseph Wolpe.
- Aversion therapy: A behavioral therapy used to decrease the frequency of a habitual behavior by pairing it with an aversive stimulus.