Mental Health Buzzwords

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): A form of cognitive behavioral therapy that aims to help individuals achieve acceptance of both negative and positive experiences, identify values, develop positive changes in behavior, and utilize mindfulness practices (1, 2). 

Biromantic: An asexual individual who is romantically attracted to multiple genders (3). 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Therapeutic approach that focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and helps clients develop coping strategies to resolve negative thinking patterns and unhealthy behaviors (4).

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Non-traditional therapeutic practices, some examples include yoga, acupuncture, art therapy, spiritual practice, guided imagery, dance therapy, drama therapy, meditation, body work, and energy healing (5).

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD): Multiple, repetitive and prolonged traumatic experiences where escape is not feasible. Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a proposed diagnosis that includes symptoms of prolonged trauma that are not covered in the current PTSD diagnosis in the DSM-5. An example of prolonged trauma that can cause C-PTSD is childhood physical or sexual abuse (6).

Core Beliefs: Deeply held beliefs that impact self-efficacy, self-concept, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. These beliefs tend to be caused by messages accepted in childhood and sometimes during stressful experiences in adulthood. Therapists work with clients to identify unhealthy core beliefs and develop healthier alternatives (7)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders (DSM-5): The current diagnostic tool used by healthcare professionals to diagnose mental health disorders. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): A therapeutic approach that helps clients develop emotional regulation skills, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and interpersonal efficacy (8).

Dream Analysis: Analyzing dreams to interpret the meaning and messages of the unconscious and develop new conscious awareness and understanding. Dreaming allows individuals to creatively work through and resolve problems and brings awareness to underdeveloped components of the personality (9).

Eco-Feminism: A theory that was developed from feminist theory and progressive social movements associated with environmental health. Eco-feminist theorists suggest that the oppression of women and nature are casualties resulting from male dominated society (10).

Feminist Therapy: A therapeutic approach that emphasizes the relationship between gender and power within our social structure. The aim of this type of therapy is to empower women and generate societal change by exploring experiences of inequality (11).

Humanistic Therapy: A therapeutic approach that emphasizes all components of the human experience and specifically highlights transcendence, creativity, positive growth, and self-actualization. Carl Rogers (creator of person-centered therapy) and Abraham Maslow (developer of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) are two well-known humanistic theorists (12).

Gestalt Therapy: A humanistic therapy that helps individuals develop awareness using an active and engaging approach. Clients learn how to enhance self-awareness, honesty, acceptance, awareness of interactions with the environment, focus on the present moment, and are encouraged to try new experiences (13). 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Categorizes five basic needs from lower level needs to higher level needs in the following order: physiological, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization (14).

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): Therapy that incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and interventions with mindfulness practices emphasizing focus on the body (15).

Multicultural Competency: Counselors who have knowledge and awareness of personal biases and assumptions, understanding of others diverse cultural backgrounds, and use appropriate therapeutic interventions (16).

Neurodiversity Movement: A campaign that advocates for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The movement was founded by individuals with ASD who acted as self-advocates supporting the belief that individuals with ASD do not have a psychological disorder but instead have “natural differences which should be accepted and accommodated” (17). 

Person-centered Therapy: A type of therapy that helps individuals develop autonomy and self-actualization through empathy, acceptance, respect, and genuineness. Person-centered therapists believe that a person’s unique needs and wants should be prioritized over the use of generalized therapeutic approaches (18).

Positive Psychology: A strengths based and wellness-based theory that helps individuals flourish and enhance well-being. Positive psychology clinicians support the notion that therapy needs to be balanced in identifying negative symptoms and developing positive outcomes to help individuals thrive (19).

Polycule: A group of polyamorous individuals connected by various bonds. The term is derived from molecule and polyamorous (20).

Psychodrama: A type of psychotherapy where individuals engage in role-play to elevate insight and awareness and develop solutions for interpersonal problems and personal issues (21).

Psychodynamic Therapy: A therapeutic approach that focuses on insight, transference, emotion, defenses, and the therapeutic relationship to help clients develop awareness about their unconscious processes (22, 23). 

Psycholinguistics: The study of how psychological components facilitate the ability to use, interpret, and create language (24).

Trained Auxiliary Ego (TAE): A concept used in psychodrama where a group member portrays a significant person in the protagonist’s life (25).

Transference: Occurs when a client views their relationship with the therapist as having attributes of other personal relationships (e.g. father, mother, or sibling) in the clients life. This tends to occur on an unconscious level and can be representative of the client’s defenses and internal conflicts (26).

Trauma: Experiencing an event that is life threatening or causes emotional or physical harm. The experience has a long-term impact on the individual’s well-being in mental, emotional, social, physical, or spiritual areas of functioning (27).

  1. Wetherell, J. L., Afari, N., Rutledge, T., Sorrell, J. T., Stoddard, J. A., Petkus, A. J., Solomon, B. C., Lehman, D. H., Liu, L., Lang, A.J., & Atkinson, J. H. (2011). A randomized, controlled trial of acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain. Pain152(9), 2098-2107.
  2. Jiménez, F. J. R. (2012). Acceptance and commitment therapy versus traditional cognitive behavioral therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of current empirical evidence. International journal of psychology and psychological therapy12(3), 333-358.
  3. Mollet, A. L., & Lackman, B. R. (2018). Asexual borderlands: Asexual collegians’ reflections on inclusion under the LGBTQ umbrella. Journal of College Student Development59(5), 623-628.
  4. Craig, S. L., Austin, A., & Alessi, E. (2013). Gay affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy for sexual minority youth: A clinical adaptation. Clinical Social Work Journal41(3), 258-266.
  5. Libby, D. J., Pilver, C. E., & Desai, R. (2012). Complementary and alternative medicine in VA specialized PTSD treatment programs. Psychiatric Services63(11), 1134-1136.
  6. Resick, P. A., Bovin, M. J., Calloway, A. L., Dick, A. M., King, M. W., Mitchell, K. S., … & Wolf, E. J. (2012). A critical evaluation of the complex PTSD literature: Implications for DSM‐5. Journal of traumatic stress25(3), 241-251.
  7. Wenzel, A. (2012). Modification of core beliefs in cognitive therapy. In I. O. Editor (Ed.), Standard and innovative strategies in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (pp. 17-34). IntechOpen.
  8. Soler, J., Valdepérez, A., Feliu-Soler, A., Pascual, J. C., Portella, M. J., Martín-Blanco, A., … & Pérez, V. (2012). Effects of the dialectical behavioral therapy-mindfulness module on attention in patients with borderline personality disorder. Behaviour research and therapy50(2), 150-157.
  9. Roesler, C. (2018). Structural Dream Analysis: a narrative research method for investigating the meaning of dream series in analytical psychotherapies. International Journal of Dream Research11(1), 21-29.
  10. Gaard, G. (2011). Ecofeminism revisited: Rejecting essentialism and re-placing species in a material feminist environmentalism. Feminist Formations23(2), 26-53.
  11. Trice-Black, S., & Foster, V. (2011). Sexuality of women with young children: A feminist model of mental health counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling33(2), 95-111.
  12. Waterman, A. S. (2013). The humanistic psychology–positive psychology divide: Contrasts in philosophical foundations. American Psychologist68(3), 124.
  13. Yontef, G., & Jacobs, L. (1989). Gestalt therapy. In D. W. Editor & R. C. Editor (Eds.), Current psychotherapies. Cengage.
  14. Lester, D. (2013). Measuring Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Psychological reports113(1), 15-17.
  15. MBCT. Michalak, J., Burg, J., & Heidenreich, T. (2012). Don’t forget your body: Mindfulness, embodiment, and the treatment of depression. Mindfulness3(3), 190-199.
  16. Chao, R. C. L., Wei, M., Good, G. E., & Flores, L. Y. (2011). Race/ethnicity, color-blind racial attitudes, and multicultural counseling competence: The moderating effects of multicultural counseling training. Journal of counseling psychology58(1), 72-82.
  17. Graby, S. (2015). Neurodiversity: Bridging the gap between the disabled people’s movement and the mental health system survivors’ movement. Madness, distress and the politics of disablement, 13-25.
  18. Cooper, M., & McLeod, J. (2011). Person-centered therapy: A pluralistic perspective. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies10(3), 210-223.
  19. Alex Linley, P., Joseph, S., Harrington, S., & Wood, A. M. (2006). Positive psychology: Past, present, and (possible) future. The journal of positive psychology1(1), 3-16.
  20. Vaschel, T. (2017). Happy Problems: Performativity of Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships[Doctoral dissertation, Bowling Green State University]. Graduate College of Bowling Green State University. 
  21. Orkibi, H., & Feniger-Schaal, R. (2019). Integrative systematic review of psychodrama psychotherapy research: Trends and methodological implications. PloS one14(2), 1-26.
  22. Messer, S. B. (2013). Three mechanisms of change in psychodynamic therapy: Insight, affect, and alliance. Psychotherapy50(3), 408-412.
  23. McCarthy, K. S., Keefe, J. R., & Barber, J. P. (2016). Goldilocks on the couch: Moderate levels of psychodynamic and process-experiential technique predict outcome in psychodynamic therapy. Psychotherapy Research26(3), 307-317.
  24. Jodai, H. (2011). An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. Unpublished manuscript, The University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran.
  25. Karp, M., & Farrall, M. (2014). An Introduction to Psychodrama Concepts and Terms. In P. H. Editor, M. F. Editor, & K. K. Editor (Eds.), Empowering therapeutic practice: Integrating psychodrama into other therapies. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  26. Levy, K. N., & Scala, J. (2012). Transference, transference interpretations, and transference-focused psychotherapies. Psychotherapy49(3), 391-403.
  27. Huang, L. N., Flatow, R., Biggs, T., Afayee, S., Smith, K., Clark, T., Blake, M. (2014, July). SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. SAMHSA: Substance abuse and mental health services administration.
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