Book Definition: Therapies based on psychological principles (rather than on the biomedical approach); often called "psychotherapy."


The treatment of mental and emotional disorders through the use of psychological techniques designed to encourage communication of conflicts and insight into problems, with the goal being relief of symptoms, changes in behavior leading to improved social and vocational functioning, and personality growth.

In Your Own Words

  • A therapy that focuses more on changing disordered thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  • Therapy where they don't deal with problems using the biomedical approach, but instead focus on changing your feelings, motives, etc.
  • Two forms of Psychological therapy: Insight therapy, which focuses on feelings/thoughts etc, and Behavior therapy, which focuses on changing our behavior.
  • Therapy that is less likely to involve medication.


  • If a person is having a difficult time forming lasting relationships they may undergo insight therapy that will help them develop different thoughts and motives to form better relationships.
  • If a person has OCD then they may undergo behavior therapy to help eliminate the rituals, and insight therapy to help change their thoughts that may lead to the rituals.
  • If someone is going through a long stage of depression, the therapy will help to figure out what is causing the depression and how to change it into better feeling.

Additional Resources

  1. || Psychological Therapy || Assumed Causes of Disorder || Basic Therapy Methods ||
    || Psychoanalysis ||
    • repressed anxieties about unresolved childhood conflicts
    • "schizophrenic mother" or schizophrenic family system
    • help client to get in touch with repressed feelings & conflicts in order to gain insight; once the client understands the s/he can resolve the conflict.
    • techniques include:
      1) free association to overcome
      2) interpretation of dreams
      3) analyzing transference
  • || Humanistic Therapies ||
    • environmental stressors
    • lack of social support or friends
    • person-centered therapy
      1) unconditional positive regard
      2) active listening
    • Gestalt therapy
  • || Behavioral Therapies ||
    • peculiar reinforcement history
    • overgeneralization
    • classical conditioning
      systematic desensitization & aversive conditioning
    • operant conditioning
      token economies
  • || Cognitive Therapies ||
    • irrational belief systems
    • learned helplessness & attributions of self-blame
    • rational-emotive therapy
    • cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression