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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)


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