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Glossary of Phobias Terms

In order to fully understand phobias, it is necessary to follow the jargon. If your doctor has used terms you don't understand, you may find the definitions here.

Adaptations and Accommodations
Also known as accommodations, adaptations and accommodations are steps that we take to manage our fears while living reasonably normal lives. Here is a look at these important coping strategies.

Caregiver Stress
Caregiver stress is surprisingly common, leading some doctors to refer to caregivers as "hidden patients." Caregiver stress is relatively easy to treat, but requires a dedicated effort and some outside help.

Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant personality disorder is usually more severe than social phobia, although the two appear very similar. Some people are diagnosed with both conditions, making professional assistance a necessity.

Accommodation
Definition of accommodation

Active-Imaginal Exposure
Active-imaginal exposure blends the technique of imaginal exposure with active behavioral tasks. What is active-imaginal exposure and how is it being used to treat phobias?

Adrenaline Junkie
Adrenaline junkies seek out ever more challenging and fear-inducing situations. What should you know about adrenaline junkies?

Agoraphobia
Definition of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia Cluster
Mental health professionals often mention that agoraphobia symptoms appear in clusters. What is a cluster, anyway?

American Health Benefit Exchange
Much of the 2010 health care reform hinges on the creation of American Health Benefit Exchanges. What are they, and how will they affect your health care?

Anticipatory Anxiety
Definition of Anticipatory Anxiety

Anxiety Disorder
Definition of Anxiety Disorder

Assimilation
Definition of Assimilation

Automatic Thoughts
Definition of Automatic Thoughts

Avoidance
Definition of Avoidance

Behavior Modification Plan
Putting the theories of behaviorism into concrete action, a behavior modification plan can be extremely successful. Learn more about this useful technique here.

Behaviorism
Definition of behaviorism

Benzodiazepines
Definition of Benzodiazepines

Beta Blocker
Definition of Beta Blocker

Blank Slate
Definition of Blank Slate

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Definition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Brief Therapy
Definition of Brief Therapy

Classical Conditioning
Definition of classical conditioning

Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance can cause frustration and anger, and may even increase the risk for phobias. What is cognitive dissonance and how can it affect your life?

Cognitive Reframing
Definition of Cognitive Reframing

Cognitive Theory
Definition of Cognitive Theory

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Definition of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Collective Unconscious
Definition of Collective Unconscious

Community Mental Health Center
Definition of Community Mental Health Center

Compulsion
A compulsion is a ritual performed to relieve anxiety. Although you may know that your compulsion is irrational, you may feel powerless to overcome it. Learn more about compulsions here.

Constructivism
Definition of Constructivism

Conversion Disorder
Definition of Conversion Disorder

Coping Skills
Definition of Coping Skills

Counter-Transference
Counter-transference is a potentially damaging yet relatively common process experienced by many therapists. What is counter-transference, and how do therapists guard against its effects on clients? Find out here.

Crisis of Faith
Definition of Crisis of Faith

Definition of Cyberchondria
The definition of cyberchondria.

Definition of Medical Student's Disease
The definition of medical student's disease.

Delusional Disorder
Definition of Delusional Disorder

Depersonalization
Depersonalization is a frightening side effect of psychological trauma, including intense fear. What is it, exactly? Learn more here.

Derealization
Derealization is a frightening but rarely serious side effect of intense psychological feelings. Learn more about this surprisingly common feeling.

DSM-IV
Definition of DSM-IV

Eclectic Therapy
Definition of Eclectic Therapy

Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program can provide immediate assistance for employees with phobias or other disorders. What is it, and how does it work? Find out here.

Environmental Psychology
Environmental psychology is commonly cited to help explain phobias. What is it, and how does it affect phobia treatments? Find out more.

Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary psychology is commonly cited as a means of explaining human behavior. But what is evolutionary psychology? How does it explain behaviors, especially fears and phobias?

Exposure Therapy
Definition of exposure therapy

Facilitator
Definition of a facilitator

Family Therapy
Definition of Family Therapy

Fight or Flight Response
Definition of Fight or Flight Response

Flashback
Flashbacks are frightening and intense mental revisits of a traumatic event. How can you cope with flashbacks?

Flooding
Definition of Flooding

Goals of Therapy
Definition of Goals of Therapy

Group Therapy
Definition of Group Therapy

Groupthink
Definition of Groupthink

Guided Imagery
Definition of Guided Imagery

Health Anxiety
Health anxiety is prevalent, especially in today's Internet culture. But what exactly constitutes health anxiety, and what can you do about it?

Health Phobia
Health phobia is a sort of catch-all term used to describe various phobias. But what exactly is a health phobia, and how does it differ from other types of phobias?

Homeopathy
Definition of Homeopathy

Humanistic Psychology
Definition of Humanistic Psychology

Hypnotic State
Stage hypnotists have given the perception that a hypnotic state is strange and mystical. Some people fear that, while in this state, they might be induced to do things that they would normally oppose. What is a hypnotic state, and is it anything to fear?

Hypnotic Suggestion
Hypnotic suggestions are often misunderstood and sometimes feared. What is a hypnotic suggestion and how can it affect a person's thoughts? Learn more here.

Imaginal Exposure
Imaginal exposure is a fairly new but well-received method for treating phobias. What is imaginal exposure? Does it work? Find out here!

Individual Therapy
Individual therapy is the most popular form of therapy. Learn more about it here!

Information Processing
Information processing is one of the basic tenets of cognitive theory. What exactly is it, and why is it important to phobia treatment?

Initial Diagnosis
Your initial diagnosis may be important to your insurance company, but may not always be correct. What is an initial diagnosis, and how does it differ from a final diagnosis?

Instinctive Response
Definition of Instinctive Response

Intake Interview
Definition of Intake Interview

Learned Response
Definition of Learned Response

Learning Theory
Definition of Learning Theory

Legitimate Phobia
Is a legitimate phobia different than an illegitimate phobia? The term is frequently used, but rarely defined. Find out what it means here!

Magical Thinking
Definition of magical thinking

Malingering
Learn more about the definition of malingering.

Mantra
Mantras are often connected to spiritual and religious beliefs, but serve a purpose in psychotherapy as well. What is a mantra, and how is it used in therapy?

MAOI
Definition of MAOI

Mass Hysteria
Definition of mass hysteria

Medical Model
Definition of Medical Model

Medication Management
Medication management is an important part of treatment for many phobias. What is medication management and how does it differ from other types of phobia treatment?

Mental Health Parity
Definition of Mental Health Parity

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Learn more about the definition of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Negative Punishment
Definition of Negative Punishment

Negative Reinforcement
Definition of Negative Reinforcement

Nosophobia
Definition of Nosophobia

Object of Fear
Definition of Object of Fear

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a complicated anxiety disorder. Its symptoms can mirror those of phobias, yet the two conditions are very different. Learn more about OCD and how it differs from phobias.

Operant Conditioning
Definition of operant conditioning

Palpitations
Definition of Palpitations

Panic Attack
Definition of Panic Attack

Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is closely linked with agoraphobia. But what is panic disorder, exactly, and how do you know if you have it?

Parroting
Definition of Parroting

Phobia
Definition of Phobia

Phobic Reaction
Definition of phobic reaction

Phobic Stimulus
Definition of Phobic Stimulus

Physiological Response
Many phobia sufferers claim that the physiological response to fear is the worst part of the phobia. But what exactly is a physiological response, and what are some common responses? Find out here.

Positive Punishment
Definition of Positive Punishment

Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a technique used to increase desired behavior. What exactly does it entail? Learn more here.

Presenting Problem
Definition of Presenting Problem

Psycho-Educational Group
A psycho-educational group is a specific type of therapy group focusing on educating clients. Why is it so important? Who is in charge? Learn all about these groups here.

Psychological Testing
Psychological testing is an important diagnostic tool. But what are psychological tests, and what role do they play in phobia diagnosis?

Punishment
Common knowledge states that punishment refers to the consequences of negative behaviors. But did you know that punishment itself can be positive or negative? Here is what you should know.

Purposeful Breathing
Purposeful breathing is a catch-all phrase describing many different types of breathing techniques. But what is purposeful breathing, and why is it so important to phobia management? Find out here!

Reinforcement
Reinforcement is a commonly used behavioral tool for shaping behavior. What is it, and why can it be both positive and negative?

Rumination
Definition of Rumination

Runner's High
A runner's high can be addictive, leading those who enjoy the feeling to seek out ever greater thrills. But what is a runner's high anyway?

Self Medicating
Definition of Self Medicating

Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is related to self-esteem, but is not identical. Find out what self-efficacy actually means, and how your level could affect your phobia treatment.

Social Phobia
Definition of Social Phobia

Somatization Disorder
Definition of Somatization Disorder

Somatoform Disorder
Definition of Somatoform Disorder

Specific Phobia
Definition of Specific Phobia

SSRI
Definition of SSRI

Stop! Technique
Definition of stop technique

Support Person
Definition of Support Person

Survivor Guilt
Survivor guilt is a common experience in the wake of a crisis or disaster. Officially recognized as a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor guilt can lead to other disorders, including phobias. Here's what you should know about this often-overlooked reaction.

Systematic Desensitization
Definition of Systematic Desensitization

Therapeutic Milieu
Definition of Therapeutic Milieu

Therapeutic Rapport
Therapeutic rapport is often mentioned as an important component of the therapeutic relationship. But what exactly is therapeutic rapport, and how is it created?

Therapeutic Role-Playing
Therapeutic role-playing is a common technique used to treat many different mental health disorders. What is therapeutic role-playing and how can it help in the treatment of phobias?

Transference
Transference is a popular buzzword in certain types of therapy. But what does it mean? How do you know if it is occurring, and whether it is healthy for your progress? Learn more about this common process.

Treatment Plan
Definition of Treatment Plan

Treatment Team
Definition of Treatment Team

Trigger
Definition of Trigger

Vertigo
Definition of vertigo

White Coat Hypertension
Definition of white coat hypertension

Behavior Modeling
Behavior modeling occurs throughout our lives, as well as in therapeutic environments. How can behavior modeling affect our behaviors?

Treatment Outcome
The treatment outcome should, ideally, meet the goals of therapy. Mental health professionals work hard to create a positive outcome, but clients also play an active role.

Parapsychology
Parapsychology is discounted by mainstream psychology, yet a belief in the paranormal is an important part of many religious systems. How do therapists find balance when treating phobias that are rooted in the supernatural, and how can clients help?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Many anxiety disorders mirror the symptoms of phobias. In particular, Generalized Anxiety Disorder can strongly resemble severe social phobia or agoraphobia. How can we distinguish between these disorders?

Racing Thoughts
By definition, racing thoughts are obsessive and often circular in nature. Is it possible to break through the pattern and find psychological peace?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Neuro-linguistic programming is a popular adjunct to traditional therapy. Does it work? What is it exactly? Find out here!

Legend Trip
Although legend trips are common and generally harmless, people with phobias should be cautious. Designed to tap into fears, legend trips sometimes reinforce existing phobias.

Urban Legend
Although urban legends are extraordinarily popular, these cautionary tales are often designed to scare. As such, they could trigger a phobic reaction in those with underlying phobias.

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)
Proof of the existence of spirits or a sign of disordered thinking? Perhaps no aspect of parapsychology is currently more hotly debated than EVP. But what is EVP?

Unconditional Positive Regard
Unconditional positive regard has become a bit of a catchphrase. But what is unconditional positive regard and is it appropriate in all applications?

Client-Centered Therapy
Also known as person-centered therapy or Rogerian therapy, client-centered therapy focuses on unconditional positive regard for the client as a human being. Does it work? What are the theories and practices? Find out here!

Risk Aversion
Although it is often heard in the financial sector, the term "risk aversion" also applies to mental health. Risk averse people may have increased difficulty in battling their fears. Here's why.

Empathy
Empathy is a critical skill for mental health therapists. What is the difference between empathy and sympathy, and why is empathy so important?

Fear of Being a Passenger
Barely noticeable to those who walk everywhere but devastating to those who must travel frequently, amaxophobia is the fear of being a passenger. What is so scary about the experience?

Revolving Door Syndrome
In mental health, revolving door syndrome is a common problem. But why do we relapse and what can we do about it?

Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome can strike anyone, but it seems more prevalent among those who are truly successful, making us feel like frauds. What causes this common yet unofficial disorder? What can we do about it? Find out here.

Psycho-Education
What is psycho-education? Is it helpful or harmful for those with phobias? Find out here.

Couples Therapy
Sometimes used to address phobias that affect a relationship, couples therapy brings both partners into the treatment plan.

Fear of Accidents
Dystychiphobia, the fear of accidents, is uncommon but often life-limiting. What is this fear and how can we cope with it?

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