Glossary of Terms


Abnormal Behavior Those actions that do not fit within the norms of society, especially that which is well outside of the norms generally accepted by most people of a particular culture; actions that are normal in one group may be considered abnormal in a different group           

Abuse Issues The emotional, psychological, legal, and practical issues that arise from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of one individual by another or others.           

Addiction Counseling Therapy or treatment centered around a person’s obsession with or physical and mental dependence on a substance or action, whether it is to drugs, alcohol, sex, or food(the most common)           

Anger Counseling Therapy that relates to the anger evidenced by an individual when that anger has become a persistent problem in every day life and in interactions with other people           

Anorexia Therapy Counseling or treatment oriented toward a fear of gaining weight, low body weight, and a distorted body self-image; people who are anorexic will often starve themselves, or take pills or drugs to get and keep their body weight very low           

Anxiety The state of being upset, nervous, or worried over present or future situations and circumstances. Anxiety creates a feeling of uncertainty and unsureness about a variety of social and personal situations, where the outcome creates great cause for concern.           

Anxiety Therapy Counseling or treatment whose focus is to decrease or eliminate an uncomfortable emotional state that results from stress or conflict and is usually denoted by fear and apprehension           

Art Therapy Individual psychotherapy that uses art as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool           

Attachment Issues Emotional issues surrounding one person’s attachment to another; often seen in children having attachment issues with adults in general or parents in particular.           

Bereavement The state of grief and mourning over the death of someone close or significant to the individual           

Biblical Counseling Counseling or therapy that is based on tenets and ideas in the Christian Bible           

Bipolar Disorder A mental and emotional illness whereby a person swings between two opposite poles of emotions; they may be mentally or physically hyperactive at one moment in time, ‘hyper’, then mentally or physically ‘down’ at another moment, sometimes within the same time span of a few minutes, hours, or days.           

Blended Family Issues Situations Ideas, and emotions arising from combining two basic families, each with children and usually by marriage, with sometimes problematic interactions and communications between the two. Situations usually revolve around integrating two different philosophies, rituals, and basic living ideas.           

Child Therapy Counseling that concentrates on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders and problems in people under the age of 18           

Christian counseling Counseling that uses Christian principles and ideas to help individuals or groups better cope with life’s every day issues and problems           

Chronic Pain or Illness Any disagreeable pain or sickness that is constant daily and offers no hope of ending in the foreseeable future. The discomfort or sickness is a constant factor in a person’s life and affects everything they do.           

Codependency / Dependency Issues Problems surrounding one person’s reliance on another person (dependency), or inter-reliance (co-dependency) in the relationship between                two individuals. Each person is acting based on the other’s actions and feelings rather than their own.           

Communication Problems Problems arising from the lack of, or problems with, open, honest, and clear communications between two or more people           

Conditioned Stimulus A stimulus that causes a predetermined action, feeling, or thought of a person           

Conditioning A form of learning, usually simple, involving the formation, strengthening, or weakening of an association between a stimulus and a response; it causes a more or less automatic response to a particular action, such as ducking from an upraised hand           

Coping with Death Dealing with or handling the emotions brought on by the demise of a person close to an individual           

Coping with Stress Ways and means of handling anxiety, strain, and fear, regardless of the cause or source of the unpleasantness           

Couples Counseling and Therapy Meetings and discussions oriented toward helping people better relate to and get along with each other as a unit or pair           

Dementia Symptoms The signs of a progressive decline in adult cognitive functions due to damage or disease in the brain, beyond normal aging. Symptoms include problems with memory, language, problem solving, and attention           

Depression The mental state of being negative, with no hope for the future, wherein everything looks bleak and hopeless for the individual; an inability to see the positives in any situation; a lack of balance in one’s outlook on life and particular situations, tending always to the negative outlook           

Depression Symptoms Those physical and emotional signs that indicate a person is depressed, such as a lack of interest in things, people, or activities, negative outlook toward life in general, and a lack of positive outlooks or feelings toward every day life           

Divorce Counseling Therapy that relates to the divorce, either actual or pending, of two people and the effects on them and those around them, especially other family members and children           

Drug Abuse Counseling Therapy that deals with the abuse of drugs, whether prescription or non-prescription, the reasons for the abuse, and ways to combat it           

Drug Counseling Therapy or treatment devoted to helping a person overcome a habit of taking drugs to deal with the world, or to deal with a lifestyle that centers around the taking of drugs           

Eating Disorders Situations whereby the act of eating or not eating becomes a source of emotional or psychological support for different social or emotional issues the individual may be facing; a way to avoid facing reality, an emotional salve for anxiety           

Elderly Persons Disorders A group of mental and emotional problems as they affect primarily older persons, such as depression, grief, and memory impairments           

Emotional Abuse Verbal, psychological harm or hurt inflicted upon one person by another, or others, primarily aimed at their emotions and their emotional responses to particular or everyday situations           

Emotional Counseling Therapy or treatment designed to help a person understand and deal with their feelings, thoughts, and ideas; ideas are important in so far as the emotions they evoke           

Fears Thoughts, ideas, or emotions that cause great anxiety and desire for avoidance           

Gay / Lesbian Issues Ideas and conflicts having to do with sexual orientation; ideas and expressions affecting the acceptance or non-acceptance of gays and/or lesbians by heterosexuals           

Grief Counseling Therapy oriented toward helping an individual deal with their often deep and pervasive sadness and regret over the death of another person           

Grief & Loss Issues Problems, thoughts, and ideas revolving around the grieving for the loss of another human being due to death or absence           

Group Counseling Discussions or therapy that takes place in a group setting; dealing with multiple individuals at the same time, helping them to help each other during the course of the discussions and personal revelations           

Group Therapy Counseling and discussions whereby group members help each other and themselves by discussing individual problems for the benefit of all           

Healthy Living Approaching life in a balanced way that insures success and well-being in physical, social, psychological, and emotional aspects.           

Hoarding The extreme or abnormal collection of inanimate objects or things, usually things without value or use (e.g. old newspapers and magazines) which acts as a form of anxiety reduction for the individual; an irrational obsession           

Holistic Counseling Therapy that approaches a patient’s situation from the point of view of the whole person, involving all aspects of a person’s life and health           

Humanistic Therapy A system of counseling or treatment that emphasizes the qualities that differentiate human beings from other animals, such as creativity, humor, play, and psychological growth           

Impulse Control Disorder The inability to control one’s thoughts, words, or actions in socially appropriate situations or ways; compulsive thievery and buying things that one does not need or cannot use are but two examples; the acting on an emotion without forethought as to the consequences           

Individual Therapy Counseling or treatment oriented to the individual patient over their familial or social contexts and situations           

Infertility The inability to reproduce offspring, whether in the male or the female of the species, due to a physiological or medical problem; the failure to create and mate eggs (in the female) and sperm (in the male)           

Internal Conflict An inconsistency that takes place within one person, not usually evident to others, whereby the person is unable to make a reasonable decision concerning a particular thought, idea, philosophy, or action           

Interpersonal Conflict A disagreement or differing views between two or more people over a particular idea, thought, or action;           

Interventions The action of coming between persons and their problems to try and help the person face the reality of their problems, especially addictions; for example a family may all sit down and try to make a drug addict admit they have a problem and get them to agree to treatment           

Life Stages Different phases of life that an individual goes through as time progresses, usually fairly uniform across similar populations; the interests and actions relating to specific ages of people as they grow older           

Lifestyle Balance A healthy, life-sustaining mix of physical, mental, emotional, and social activities and outlooks in an individual, whereby no one area dominates the others and a person is well adapted to all of life’s situations           

Marriage Counseling Counseling oriented toward the resolution and satisfaction of certain issues relating to the marriage of two individuals           

Mental Health Conditions States whereby a person’s mental, emotional, and psychological health is impaired or not functioning in the person’s best interests.           

Mental Health Counseling A therapy or treatment that goes beyond treating dysfunction or pathology and deals more with the patient’s self-awareness, personal growth, and wellness; a more global view of the patient’s place in his world and the ways he reacts           

Mindfulness Psychotherapy A type of counseling that emphasizes awareness of the present moment and the feeling brought on by visualization of anxiety-producing situations without judging them good or bad           

Negative Reinforcer Any negative action or thing that causes a behavior to reoccur; withholding a treat might be one example, as opposed to giving a treat (positive) as a reinforcer           

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) An emotional illness whereby a person believes that certain repetitive activities will help bring about a certain action, or will help the person feel more in tune with their world and their life, e.g. not stepping on a crack in the sidewalk, doing certain things a set number of times, placing objects in certain positions relative to other objects, etc.; an illness that requires actions to prevent or assuage bad feelings or thoughts, without volitional control by the individual           

Online Therapy Individual or group counseling and discussions conducted via the Internet, otherwise known as ‘online’.           

Painful Memories Memories that cause an individual emotional pain, anxiety, or discomfort and keep an individual from moving forward psychologically or emotionally           

Parenting Issues Ideas, thoughts, and actions relating to the rearing of children in a family so as to provide the child with positive, nurturing guidance and direction           

Pastoral Counseling Therapy conducted by a religious leader or clergymen, usually based on religious texts and ideas as to the proper course of actions           

Pavlov Classical Conditioning A form of psychological conditioning whereby a neutral stimulus (such as the ringing of a bell) becomes associated with a significant stimulus (such as drooling in dogs) so that the two become inseparable           

Personality Disorder An unhealthy condition whereby portions of a person’s psychological make up are at odds with others; where a person may work against his own best interests           

Phone Therapy Counseling or therapy that is conducted over the telephone           

Play Therapy Activities and discussions that use play activities to bring forth and deal with psychological and emotional issues, especially those of children           

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) An anxiety condition resulting from exposure to a traumatic event that threatened or caused severe physical harm. By definition the symptoms last more than six months and can cause major problems in social, occupational, and interpersonal relationships. Symptoms usually include flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of similar situations, sleeping difficulties, anger, and hypervigilance.           

Premarital Counseling Therapy with two people prior to their marriage, to help give them more realistic ideas of what to expect and how to cope with living with another person as a spouse; relating to each other as a committed pair           

Primary Reinforcer Anything that causes an action to occur again, especially actions related to our basic needs such as food, water, sleep, or love           

Psychosis A mental state whereby a person does not face reality and may, in fact, suffer from hallucinations, delusions, a lack of insight into the inappropriateness of their thoughts and behaviors, and basic disturbances to thoughts, usually seen by disturbed speech and writing           

Psychotherapy The attempt to help an individual or group come to terms with, accept, and deal with psychological and emotional feelings and ideas           

Psychology the study of the mental and emotional thoughts, feelings, and activities of an individual or group; the study of the mental processes of human beings; the study of emotion-based thoughts and actions of humans           

Radical Behaviorism A philosophical construct within the school of behaviorism that believes that all organic action is determined and is not free, and rejects hypothetical and deductive methods about unobservable, immeasurable places like the mind           

Relational Psychotherapy Counseling or treatment based on the relational theory that says that the establishment of authentic and mutual connection in relationships is a human necessity and that disconnection from these types of relationships is the source of psychological problems           

Reinforcers Those actions or things that encourage a particular thought, feeling, or action, that give them validity or a reason for happening           

Relationship Counseling Therapy that deals with the interactions between two people and how they deal with each other and others as a pair in a one-on-one relationships, dealing with each individual’s needs, wants, and pre-conceived ideas           

Relationship Problems Disturbances (emotional, social, psychological, and/or sexual) that arise in the relationship and personal conduct between two people and how to deal with them individually and collectively as a pair           

Self-Confidence The positive feeling of one’s ability to accomplish any certain or general activities in life, in social, physical, work, or individual situations; a belief that one’s self and capabilities are equal to most any task           

Self-Esteem The feeling of self-worth or self-love and appreciation of one’s abilities to cope with the world and its many challenges           

Sex Therapy Treatment relating to the sexual issues and ideas of an individual, especially as they relate to others and the interactions between two people; treatment for any problems relating to sex between two people           

Shame The feeling of regret or deep embarrassment over an action, words, or a feeling           

Sleep Disorders Any problem which affects the normal and natural sleep cycle of an individual           

Spirituality The feelings, thoughts and beliefs about, or study of, gods or beings greater than human beings; a person’s relationship with religious thought and ideas           

Spiritual Counseling Therapy that deals with a person’s religious ideas and behaviors; can also be therapy done with a spiritual leader such as a pastor, priest or rabbi           

Stages of Grief and Loss An attempt to explain how a person deals with grief or loss (especially death), divided into five stages in order of their use: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; The five stages of coping are abbreviated  DABDA           

Stress Any mental, physical, or emotional strain or tension; can be caused by people, events, or physical circumstances           

Stress Management The ability to manage the anxieties and problems inherent in everyday human life and it’s daily activities and the problems thereof           

Structural Family Therapy Counseling or treatment that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to help foster change and positive development; it considers family relationships as a big factor in psychological health           

Substance Abuse Counseling Therapy or treatment devoted to helping a person overcome a habit of taking or using different substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to deal with the world, or to deal with a lifestyle that centers around the taking of drugs or alcohol           

Talk Therapy Counseling that relies upon the conversations between the counselor and the patient to treat psychological or emotional problems           

Teenage Counseling Therapy or treatment aimed specifically at children between the ages of 13 and 18           

Therapy The attempt by a trained counselor to help an individual or group come to terms with, accept, and deal with psychological and emotional feelings, ideas, and actions           

Thinking Disorders Problems whereby a person’s thinking about a situation is faulty, illogical, or non-productive; errors in a person’s thinking that causes them problems in dealing with every day life and other people           

Trauma A physical wound or shock to the body produced by sudden physical injury, such as violence or a car wreck; also, an experience that causes significant psychological pain or suffering           

Trauma Therapy Counseling that aims to help a person deal with a sudden physical or emotional shock or wound that causes significant pain or suffering           

Women’s Issues Ideas, questions, problems and situations relating to the nature of and activities of being a woman