Helpful Definitions

Affective disorder - characterized primarily by episodic or chronic changes of mood and emotional disturbances such as depression, euphoria or mania.

Anancastic - a pattern of behavior which is compulsive whereas one may be obsessed with rules, is emotionally constricted or intolerant, and perfectionism.

Anorexia nervosa - a life threatening eating disorder whose extended refusal to eat due to a distorted body image leads to severe weight loss, malnutrition, and in women cessation of menstruation. Medical criteria usually describes someone who has lost 15 % or more of ones body weight.

Anxiety disorder - a chronic or recurring state of worry, tension fear and anxiety. Often times the triggers do not pertain to any known or recognized dangers.

Avoidant behavior - behavior in which an individual is hypersensitive to potential rejection, is socially withdrawn and often times unwilling to enter into social relationships.

Cognitive behavioral therapy - Form of therapy that tends to be directive and focuses only on the client's problem which is contrasted by insight-oriented therapies. This is based on technique to primarily to modify behavior.

Cognitive dissonance - A state in which a person perceives two incompatible thoughts simultaneously. In healthy individuals the conflict leads to discomfort until the discrepancy is clarified.

Compulsion - A strong and repetitive and often immediate urge to act on impulse and frequently comes from a need to relieve anxiety about feelings that are not directly expressed.

Delusion - A strongly held belief that is inaccurate and despite objective evidence otherwise.

Depression - A group of emotional reactions often characterized by sad feelings, hopelessness, despair, sleep disturbance, eating disturbance, fatigue, etc.  some forms are milder and some are more constant and intense. Some are reactions to triggers and some are more chronic, non-reactive and thought to be chemically induced,

Disassociation - A defense mechanism in which a persons thought and feelings are removed from the present situation.

Disengaged family - One in which the limitations and boundaries are extremely rigid and feelings and expression of feelings seems restricted.

Dysthymia - Symptoms are similar to depression but less severe and tend top last longer.

Ego - As in Freudian theory the self and the part of the mind that mediates between thedemand of the body and the realities of the environment.

Enabling - Helping an individual achieve self-destructive behavior by offering to assist in the means to an end, despite the negative outcome.

Fixation - Mode of behavior in which a persistent thought, or emotional attachment has become inappropriate  a persons age or circumstance. Also, a partial or complete arrest of personality develop in a psychosexual stage of development as per psychodynamic theory.

Flight of ideas - A concept in which there is a rapid skipping from one thought to another without any logical connection or association.

Flooding - In behavior therapy a procedure to induce stimuli that elicit anxiety are which summoned in order to eventually reduce or end the particular anxiety associated with that trigger.

Free floating anxiety - A concept in which a pervasive tension is not associated with any known threats, situations or ideas.

Grandiosity - An exaggerated perception of self-importance in extreme form.histrionics- behavior that is overly attention-seeking, demanding, dramatic, volatile, self-indulgent and  often used to manipulate others.

Hypomania - Behavior that may be confused with mania in an individual with bipolar disorder, but less severe. The patient may display signs of euphoria, creative, energetic and grandiose however may exercise poor judgement.

Infantilization - Inappropriately encouraging a person to behave more like a child than an adult.

Introspection - Self-examinations of thoughts, ideas, and feelings

Libido - In psychoanalytic theory, psychic energy manifested by the expression of sexual pleasure.

Loose association - A concept referring to the tendency to abruptly shift from one thought to another with little connection is any.

Malingering - The act of feigning illness to achieve some secondary benefit

Megalomania - A personality trait characterized by egocentric and grandiose plans for personal influence over others.

Narcissm - Excessive preoccupation with self and extreme love of self.

Obsession - A repetitive and persistent thought

Obsessive-complusive personality disorder - A disorder characterized by perfectionistic behavior, and insistence on others complying to expectations due to a preoccupation to trivia and details and rules.

Operant conditioning - A type of learning defined by B.F. Skinner by which behaviors are strengthened or weakened by altering the consequences that follow.

Oppression - The act of imposing severe restrictions on a group or institution.

Panic disorder - An anxiety disorder characterized by recurring panic attacks brought upon by fear without a life threatening trigger resulting in symptoms such as breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, chest pains, dizziness, sweating, fear of going crazy, etc.

Paranoia - Most common characteristics include an unshakable suspiciousness and persecutory delusion but in which the individual in otherwise thinking clearly.

Phobia - An persistent and intense fear.

Psychic energy - A persons mental and physical drives and forces.

Psychotic - A state in which one loses touch with reality.

Rationalization - a defense mechanism in which a person's actions or thoughts feel seem justified and acceptable despite how unacceptable it might seem on a deeper psychological level

Recitivist - a person who relapses into an undesirable state

Regression - behaviors and thoughts that return to an earlier more primitive level of development

Secondary gain - the advantages derived from seemingly negative aspects of behavior

Separation anxiety - a specific anxiety associated with separation from a primary caregiver

Suppression - the psychic ability to put unpleasant thoughts out of one's mind

Ventilation - the process of freely expressing one's thoughts and feelings