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an emotionally charged, confiding interaction between a trained therapist and someone who suffers from psychological difficulties

eclectic approach

an approach to psychotherapy that, depending on the client's problems, uses techniques from various forms of therapy


Sigmund Freud's therapeutic technique; Freud believed the patient's free associations, resistances, dreams, transferences—and the therapist's interpretations of them—released previously repressed feelings, allowing the patient to gain self-insight


in psychoanalysis, the blocking from consciousness of anxiety-laden material


in psychoanalysis, the analyst's noting supposed dream meanings, resistances, and other significant behaviors and events in order to promote insight


in psychoanalysis, the patient's transfer to the analyst of emotions linked with other relationships (such as love or hatred for a parent)

client-centered therapy

a humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, in which the therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine, accepting empathetic environment to facilitate client' growth; also called person-centered therapy

active listening

empathetic listening in which the listener echoes, restates, and clarifies; a feature of Rogers' client-centered therapy

behavior therapy

therapy that applies learning principles to the elimination of unwanted behaviors


a behavior therapy procedure that conditions new responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted behaviors; based on classical conditioning; includes exposure therapy and aversive conditioning

exposure therapies

behavioral techniques such as systematic desensitization, that treat anxieties by exposing people (in imagination or actuality) to the things they fear and avoid

systematic desensitization

a type of counterconditioning that associates a pleasant relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety-triggering stimuli; commonly used to treat phobias

virtual reality exposure therapy

an anxiety treatment that progressively exposes people to simulations of their greatest fears such as airplane flying, spiders, or public speaking

aversive conditioning

a type of counterconditioning that associates an unpleasant state (such as nausea) with an unwanted behavior (such as drinking alcohol)

token economy

an operant condition procedure in which people earn a token of some sort for exhibiting a desired behavior and can later exchange the tokens for various privileges or treats

cognitive therapy

therapy that teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking and acting; based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events and our emotional reactions

cognitive-behavior therapy

a popular integrated therapy that combines cognitive therapy (changing self-defeating thinking) with behavior therapy (changing behavior)

family therapy

therapy that treats the family as a system; views individual's unwanted behaviors as influenced by or directed at other family members; attempts to guide family members toward positive relationships and improved communication


an emotionally charged confiding interaction between a trained therapist and someone who suffers from psychological difficulties

regression toward the mean

the tendency for extremes of unusual scores to fall back (regress) toward their average


a procedure for statistically combining the results of many different research studies

biomedical therapy

prescribed medications or medical procedures that act directly on the patient's nervous system


the study of the effects of drugs on mind and behavior

tardive dyskinesia

involuntary movements of the facial muscles, tongue, and limbs; a possible neurotoxic side effect of long-term use of antipsychotic drugs that target D2 dopamine receptors

electroconvulsive therapy

a biomedical therapy for severely depressed patients in which a brief electric current is sent through the brain of an anesthetized patient

repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

the application of repeated pulses of magnetic energy to the brain; used to stimulate or suppress brain activity


surgery that removes or destroys brain tissue in an effort to change behavior


a now-rare psychosurgical procedure once used to calm uncontrollably emotional or violent patients; the procedure cuts the nerves that connect the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain

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