The information and definitions below are intended to make our community more aware of the different disorders, illnesses, and symptoms. It is also here to inform you of some basic definitions of psychological terminology that you may come across when seeking or participating in psychotherapy.
Amnesia- deficit in memory caused by brain trauma, disease or psychological trauma
Aphasia- deficit in language caused by brain trauma or disease
Dysarthria- deficit in speech caused by brain trauma or disease
Apraxia- deficit in movement ability caused by brain trauma or disease
Agnosia- deficit in identifying things and people caused by brain trauma of disease
Traumatic Brain Injury- injury to the brain caused by external force that often results in mild to severe deficits in functioning
Parkinson’s Disease- a chronic neurodegenerative disorder mainly affecting motor systems but often includes depression, related to dopamine generation
Alzheimer’s Disease- a chronic neurodegenerative disorder mainly effecting short-term memory and often includes difficulties with language, disorientation, mood swings, motivation and self-care
Dementia-the gradual decrease in the ability to think, remember and function typically involving language and motivation
Seizure Disorders/Epilepsy- characterized by unpredictable and/or undetectable period of intense and severe shaking of the body
Mood Disorders- A psychological disorder characterized by severe changes in mood, either elevated or lowered, that effect daily functioning
Generalized Anxiety Disorder- An anxiety disorder characterized by diffuse, unspecific and excessive worries and anxieties that occur over a period of six months or more, unrelated to actual threats or dangers
Panic Disorder- An anxiety disorder characterized by debilitating anxiety and fear often resulting in physical symptoms that occur without reasonable cause, or disproportionately to stimulus
Specific phobia- An anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable and irrational fear of specific object or objects, which results in avoidance of such objects and severe reactions
Social phobia- An anxiety disorder characterized by intolerable anxiety in everyday social situations that often results in avoidance or severe symptomology
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- an anxiety disorder that occurs in response to a traumatic event, and is often accompanied by flashbacks, avoidance, disassociation numbing and hyperarousal
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder- A disorder characterized by repeated thoughts, actions and routines that need to be enacted repeatedly in order to ward off extreme anxieties
Major Depressive Disorder- An acute mood disorder characterized by consistent and persistent low mood, loss of interests and pleasures and self-esteem that significantly effects daily life for a period of six months or more
Dysthymia- A mood disorder characterized by consistent low mood similar to depression, but less severe in symptomology, that persists for 2 years or more
Bipolar Disorder 1- A mood disorder characterized by vacillations between highly elevated and severe depressed mood
Bipolar Disorder 2- A mood disorder characterized by vacillations between slightly elevated (hypomanic) and severe depressed mood
Cyclothymia- period of hypomania with brief period of depression, which are neither as severe nor as persistent as in major Depression
Dissociative Identity Disorder-an extremely rare disorder where one individual has two or more consistent and lasting personalities, formally known as Multiple Personality Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder- persistent obsession or delusion with a perceived flaw of the body that is severely exaggerated and results in behavior change, or efforts to change or hide the body
Substance Abuse Disorder- characterized by the dependence on alcohol and/or drugs, often with cravings, compulsive behaviors and withdrawal symptoms
Personality/Characterological Disorders: chronic, inflexible and maladaptive patterns of perception cognition and behavior that exist across situations and over time.
Antisocial Personality Disorder- characterized by persistent disregard or violation of the rights of others
Borderline Personality Disorder- characterized by difficulty in interpersonal relations and emotional regulation related to fears of abandonment, anger and irritability
Histrionic Personality Disorder- characterized by attention-seeking or seductive, emotional behaviors
Narcissistic Personality Disorder-characterized by excessive preoccupation with the self, power, vanity, or status
Avoidant Personality Disorder- characterized by pervasive social inhibition, low self-esteem, sensitivity to criticism and avoidance or social interactions
Dependent Personality Disorder- characterized by persistent dependence on others to meet emotional and physical needs
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder- characterized by general preoccupation with perfection, order and control
Paranoid Personality Disorder- characterized by persistent and irrational paranoia, suspiciousness and general mistrust
Schizoid Personality Disorder- characterized by disinterest, avoidance and detachment from social relationships and emotional interaction
Schizotypal Personality Disorder- characterized by extreme discomfort in social interactions, and disrupted or disordered perceptions
Schizophrenic Disorder- characterized by misperceptions of reality that could include delusions, hallucinations, and severe disordered thinking and behavior
Gender Dysphoria- characterized by a feelings that ones emotional and psychological gender is different from their physical and biological sex. This is no longer classified as a disorder in the DSM-5.
Learning Disabilities and Developmental Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorder- characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication and repetitive or rigid behaviors
Dyslexia- characterized by difficulty reading and/or writing despite average intelligence
Dyscalculia – deficit in ability to understand numbers or learn math facts
Dysgraphia- deficit in reading fluency and/or comprehension, recall, writing, spelling or decoding
Dyspraxia- deficits in ability to control muscles, which results in movement and coordination difficulties that can affect learning
Auditory processing disorder- difficulty in recognizing subtly differences between sounds in words, not related to hearing ability but to the brains’ interpretation of sounds
Language processing disorder- deficit in ability to attach meaning to sounds, words sentences or stories
Non-verbal learning disability- characterized by discrepancy between verbal skills and visual-spatial, social or motor skills
Visual perceptual/motor deficit- deficits in the ability to understand visual information
Attention Deficit Disorder- characterized by difficulty focusing, attending and controlling impulsivity
Executive Functioning- deficits in the ability to plan, organize, strategize and attend
Memory- deficits in one of the three major memory areas, working memory, short-term memory or long-term memory
Types of Psychology
Cognitive Psychology- the study of cognitive/mental processes such as memory, perception, thinking, language, problem solving and creativity
Clinical Psychology- the study of diagnosis, research and treatment of psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders
Counseling Psychology- the study of facilitation of interpersonal and individual functioning across domains in an individuals life
School Psychology- applied educational, developmental clinical and community psychology in a school setting, with a focus on behavioral analysis to meet the needs of schools, children and adolescents
Developmental Psychology- the study of human development over the lifespan
Education Psychology- the study of the psychology of learning
Industrial-Organizational Psychology- the study of human behavior in the work place
Health Psychology- the study of psychological processes in health, illness and the healthcare system
Neuropsychology- the study and understanding of the brain and nervous system and its connections to cognitions and behaviors
Social psychology- the study of how thoughts feelings and behaviors are influenced by society and the presence of others
Types of Psychotherapy and Other Treatments
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Insight-oriented therapy which focuses on unconscious processes and their manifestation in current thinking and behavior. The goal is an increased understanding of past and current influences on the individual’s personality and its relation to behavior and cognition
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: The original form of psychotherapy, which typically takes place multiple times per week. The focus is on unconscious processes and childhood, or past experiences, as well as current experiences and their effects on the personality, behavior and cognitions of the individual
Gestalt Therapy: Existential and experiential therapy that focuses on personal responsibility and individuals present experiences, social contexts and social adaptations made by an individual
Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy: a treatment that works to solve problems by changing maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving, usually with an emphasis conscious processes
Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Treatment to decrease emotional dysregulation, self-harm, suicidal ideation or substance abuse. This often includes group work, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioral techniques. Most frequently used in the treatment of severe Borderline Personality Disorder
Group Therapy: Therapy of varying disciplines with one or more therapist and a group of patients or clients, typically with similar disorders or issues
Substance abuse treatment: treatment aimed at decreasing or eradicating substance use and abuse
Hypnotherapy: Treatment based on hypnosis to create behavior and cognition on a subconscious level, contemporary uses are most common in substance and food addictions
Long-Term Memory- how the brain stores, manages and retrieves information
Short-Term Memory- working memory, or the information that is immediately accessible i.e. 5-9 unique digits such as a phone number
Declarative Memory- explicit memory, or conscious retrieval of information
Semantic Memory- principles and facts recalled independent of context
Episodic Memory- memories related to sensations, emotions or personal associations
Procedural Memory-implicit memory, primarily related to motor skills, this memory that is automatic and does not require conscious recall, such as riding a bicycle.
Positive punishment- presentation of a negative consequence after an undesired behavior i.e. a teacher moves a child’s seat after talking too much in class.
Negative punishment- removal of stimulus following undesirable behavior (classic punishment) i.e. a child is not allowed to watch TV because he did not do his homework.
Positive reinforcement- reward for a desired behavior i.e. giving a child a sticker for completing their homework
Negative reinforcement- the removal of negative stimulus following desired behavior i.e. parent stops nagging the child after homework is complete
Extinction burst- a temporary increase in an undesirable behavior that occurs when reinforcement is removed i.e. a child’s tantrums will worsen before they improve when a parent ignores them.
Behavior Modification- The systematic use of principles of learning to increase the frequency of desired behaviors and/or decrease the frequency of problem behaviors
Functional Behavioral Assessment- an assessment performed by a trained professional to determine the frequency, duration, intensity and quality typically of a behavior of a school-aged individual
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)- The process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve behavior
Parenting Practices- specific parenting behaviors based on parenting goals or desired child behaviors.
Authoritarian Parenting- rigid and strict parenting with the expectation that children follow parent-set rules. Breaking of such rules often results in punishment. Encourage children to obey without explanation. The children typically rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.
Authoritative Parenting- more democratic style parenting, that involves rules and guidelines but involve supportive rather than punitive responses. Encourage child’s assertiveness and social responsibility. The children are typically happy, capable and successful.
Permissive Parenting- indulgent parenting, which makes very little demands of children. Discipline is rare and have relatively low expectations of maturity and or self control Children are more likely to experience problems with authority.
Uninvolved Parenting- makes few demands on the children with responsiveness and little communication. Parents fulfill child’s basic needs but are detached. In extreme cases parents are rejecting or neglectful. Children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem.
Social Learning Theory- The learning theory that stresses the role of observation and the imitation of behaviors observed in others.
Social Norms- rules of behavior that are considered acceptable to the group or to society.
Socialization- the process by which children and adults learn from one another
Social Support- the perception that one is cared for, has assistance, resources and support from other people or groups
Stigma- shame or related disgrace or dishonor associated with a certain quality, circumstance or person i.e. mental health stigma, shame associated with schizophrenia
Racism- prejudice or discrimination directed towards someone of a specific race based on the belief that ones own race is superior
Sexism- prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination based on biological sex
Intelligence and Functioning
Intelligence Quotient- A score derived from a standardized test that was designed to measure intelligence, or cognitive functioning (Average=100, Standard Deviation 15)
Learning Disability- a condition resulting in difficulties acquiring knowledge and skills expected at a certain level of development
Intellectual Disability- A neurodevelopment disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning present before age 18
Social Intelligence- the ability to have to get alone well with others and to form cooperative relationships
Comorbid- When a disorder is frequently diagnosed along-side another disorder, such as an eating disorder with major depressive disorder
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5)- the manual most frequently used by mental health professionals to diagnose and categorize psychological disorders
Psychotherapy- any talk based treatment provided with the purpose of improving someone’s psychological well-being
Licensed Psychologist- A mental health professional who has earned either a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. (Doctoral Level) in the field of psychology
Social Worker- A mental health professional who has earned an LCSW, MSW or Ph.D. in Social Work (Masters or Doctoral Level).
Mental Health Counselor- A mental health professional who has earned a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling
Psychiatrist- A medical practitioner (MD) with a specialization in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness