Is P on purpose in psychology

Glossary of Psychology Terms

Which terms are used regularly in psychology and what do they mean? Is there a special psychological vocabulary that you should know for your psychology studies and that you will need again and again during your studies? We have put together a comprehensive glossary for you with numerous explanations of technical terms!

Table of Contents

  • The letters A, B, C, D
  • The letters E, F, G, H
  • The letters I, J, K, L
  • The letters M, N, O, P
  • The letters Q, R, S, T
  • The letters U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Have you enrolled in a psychology degree and want to look at your first technical terms? Or is another course in psychology waiting for you? You googled a foreign word and ended up with us? In the professional world of psychology, you should be familiar with certain specialist terms; this is the case in every industry. Get the first overview in our glossary here or look up the terms again and again.

Addiction syndrome

A dependency syndrome manifests itself in the form of mental, cognitive and physical disorders that can develop after regular consumption of psychotropic substances. Typical of the syndrome is the insurmountable desire to take the addictive substance again or to supply yourself. Furthermore, the addict cannot control consumption and neglects his obligations. Getting used to the addictive substance leads to an increase in tolerance over time, which leads to an increase in the dose in order to achieve the desired effect.

With the addiction syndrome, withdrawal symptoms can occur, but these do not induce the addict to stop using it. Instead, the drug continues to be taken. The consumption of the drug is then no longer consumed because of its effectiveness and the associated positive feelings and well-being, but to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The drug has long become the focus of life and dominates thoughts and activities.

Substances that can lead to addiction syndrome include alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, cannabis, sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogens, opioids, and solvents.

The main cause of the addiction syndrome is a decrease in the hormone dopamine. Dopamine acts like a reward system in the human brain. The receptors that respond to the drug increase, while the dopamine decreases. This means that larger amounts of the drug must be consumed to achieve the same effect.


Obesity (also called obesity or obesity) is a metabolic disease that leads to excess weight. The causes lie in a wrong diet, lack of exercise and numerous socio-cultural factors, such as upbringing, stress or eating as a substitute for love. But genetic factors can also promote the disease.

Obesity and overweight can subsequently lead to a number of physical complaints such as shortness of breath and shortness of breath, back and knee problems, high blood sugar, heart disease and also to mental problems such as low self-esteem.

In the course of therapy, the patient's diet and lifestyle must be completely changed, with treatment consisting of diet advice, regular exercise and behavioral therapy aimed at reducing stress and relearning the feeling of hunger and satiety. Drug treatment is only necessary for patients who do not lose enough weight despite exercise and diet. A balanced diet and sufficient exercise can prevent obesity. It is therefore important that a healthy diet and regular meals are a matter of course for children.


Affect is a special kind of arousal. Affects include, for example, sadness, anger, jealousy, curiosity, and affection. The name of the affect derives from the emotion that it sets in motion. For example, anger can appear not only as an affect, but also as an obsessive thought, a feeling or a motive. An affect is therefore determined more by an arousal than by cognitive processes.

The definition of the term goes back to Plato and has been changed or expanded over the centuries by various philosophers, psychologists and physiologists. Today the term is used more scientifically. Cognition is often mentioned as the opposite pole to affect, although it has meanwhile been recognized that cognitive processes influence affective states and vice versa.

In any case, affect is a movement of mind and feeling that appears to be important, energetic, expressive and dynamic. However, perception is narrowed, attention is distorted and a kind of tunnel vision arises. Control of will is also reduced. The motor and vegetative nervous system is also involved, including the release or inhibition of messenger substances and hormones. In short, an affect is a psychosomatic event. And it has consequences for cognition, motivation and communication.

Psychopathologically, affects can be inappropriate or diminished, absent altogether or exaggerated. This is the case with depression, strokes, brain lesions, brain dysfunction, with Alzheimer's disease and as a result of drug poisoning.


Agoraphobia (Greek: agorá = market place, phobós = fear) is the fear of wide spaces or bridges, of crowds and of long journeys that are undertaken alone. A characteristic of this anxiety disorder is the fear of those affected that something bad could happen to them in these places and that they have no possibility of escape. Accompanying persons can alleviate this anxiety; in this way, those affected feel better protected and do not see themselves as helplessly exposed to the situation.

In about 95 percent of cases, agoraphobia is accompanied by a panic disorder. This means that a panic attack is usually the trigger for agoraphobia. If those affected find themselves in a corresponding situation, symptoms arise such as racing or stinging the heart, sweating, dizziness, tremors, shortness of breath, attacks of weakness, visual disturbances, dry mouth, chills, numbness, nausea and vomiting.

The most noticeable feature in such extreme situations is the fear of fear that panics people and makes them fearful of going crazy, embarrassing themselves, having a heart attack, dying on the spot or fainting .

The result is that the sick flee from such situations or do not even go into them at all. It can go so far that they don't even leave their home. Only psychotherapeutic care from a specialist can help. The health insurance company pays the costs for this.

Alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction describes the physical and psychological dependence on alcoholic beverages. It has not yet been conclusively clarified when an alcohol dependency occurs. Due to the physical effects of addiction, it is not only the patient's suffering that is important, as this often does not exist even when the alcohol dependence has already reached a critical point.

Alcohol addiction is already mentioned in some sources when the daily beer or glass of red wine is a must. Often, but not always, psychological distress occurs with alcohol addiction. The patient tries to hide the manifestations of addiction from friends and family. He can react irritably, appear forgetful, disoriented, aggressive and can even become violent if spoken to about alcohol addiction. He denies the problem and hides his addictive behavior. He pursues the consumption of alcohol alone, in secret.

Alcohol addiction is sometimes difficult to recognize because the person concerned does not show any general symptoms and every addiction is different. In addition, an alcohol addict pulls those around him into addiction and makes people who are close to him his accomplices. You hide the consequences of addiction and begin to see the world as he does. That is why it makes sense to advise the people around you on therapy.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Alcoholics regularly drink large amounts of alcohol. If you suddenly stop consuming, alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs, which is associated with a number of different emotional and physical symptoms. A distinction is made between a withdrawal syndrome with and without delirium. The whole process can also be referred to as detoxification. It usually lasts four to fourteen days.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome without delirium begins about ten hours after the last alcoholic drink. The peak is between 24 and 48 hours after the alcohol intake has been interrupted and manifests itself in a variety of symptoms. These include nausea (feeling sick), diarrhea (diarrhea), tachycardia (racing heart), hypertension (high blood pressure) inability to move limbs and joints, as well as insomnia, increased sweating and fever. In addition, articulation and word finding disorders, tremors, anxiety, restlessness and depression can occur. In some cases, epileptiform seizures are even possible.

After exceeding the peak after 48 hours, the withdrawal syndrome can turn into a so-called delirium tremens, the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms of delirium are visual and acoustic hallucinations, disorientation and a strong restlessness. In delirium, alcoholics can endanger themselves or others. In addition, this condition can also occur during a drinking phase, as a so-called continuity delirium.

Anxiety disorder

An anxiety disorder is a disorder of the psyche that can affect both non-specific fears and concrete fears or panic. Anxiety is initially considered a normal feeling, but an anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive fear. People with anxiety disorder may know that they are overreacting, but they find it difficult to fight back.

There are two main distinctions between pathological fear (anxiety disorder) and appropriate or justified fear: the inappropriate overreaction to the threat and the intensity of the fear that leads to strong physical effects. Such a phobic disorder occurs when the person cannot explain, influence or cope with his fears. His life and his interpersonal contacts are noticeably restricted.

Those with anxiety disorders often fail to realize that their real problem is anxiety, as the effects show up in somatoform disorders, such as dizziness, gastrointestinal discomfort, and other physical symptoms. Common anxiety disorders include social phobias, agoraphobia, animal phobias and situational phobias such as fear of flying.

Adjustment disorder

Adjustment disorder is a clinical picture that in medical psychology and psychotherapy describes a certain form of reaction to drastic and stressful biographical events. Whereas after such events processing processes usually set in which constructively convert the experienced events into the inner psychological world of experience and personal behavior, this process did not take place sufficiently and conclusively in patients with an adjustment disorder.

The adjustment disorder describes the unfortunate effect of stressful life events that have taken place in the past of the person concerned. The term is therefore quite broad and characterizes the situational context of mental disorders rather than specific symptoms. Based on the concept of anxiety disorder, very different forms of suffering are categorized with regard to the symptoms that occur. Both depressive and anxiety-related or socially stressful symptoms are described and treated in the course of an adjustment disorder. Mixed forms of different stress symptoms are also diagnosed as an adjustment disorder.

Precisely because the term adjustment disorder can be used in a very abstract and broad way, it is used more for a rough structuring than for a differentiated diagnosis of a patient's stress picture. In addition to the inadequacy of the diagnosis, it must also be noted that every drastic or stressful biographical event naturally leaves its mark on the person's thinking, feeling and behavior. Only if such an event leads to significant stress in the medium and long term should the problem be investigated with regard to a stress disorder and, if necessary, treated.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - often also referred to as hyperkinetic disorder (HKS) or attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder - already occurs in childhood and is characterized by problems with impulsivity, attention and hyperactivity. Children with attention disorder are very easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating on and completing a task. In addition, they are very easily distracted by external stimuli and act without thinking. They also show motor restlessness and frequent mood swings. However, these symptoms must exist in at least two areas of life for at least six months and appear in preschool age.

ADHD is a common cause of school performance problems and behavioral disorders, with a hereditary disposition favoring the disease. In addition, environmental conditions or psychosocial factors also play a decisive role in the development of the disorder. In order to be able to treat ADHD, a comprehensive diagnosis is required by a child and adolescent psychiatrist who can also identify possible comorbidities (e.g. borderline disorder or anxiety disorder). In the course of further treatment, the social skills should then be developed, whereby the therapy is multimodal, i.e. several treatment steps (such as psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and coaching) are carried out in parallel.

But adults can also suffer from attention deficit disorder, although these usually show different symptoms than children. Affected adults are very often plagued by inner restlessness, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and depression can also occur.

Burnout syndrome

Burnout is translated in German as "to be burned out" and describes a mental illness. Burnout syndrome is included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) with the diagnosis code Z73.0. The burnout syndrome describes a mental state of complete exhaustion.

Burnout syndrome is characterized by feelings of inner emptiness, constant depression and listlessness. The burnout syndrome can be associated with headaches or diffuse abdominal pain on the psychosomatic level. Burnout mostly occurs in people who are very stressed professionally or privately. It primarily affects adults who are employed. Burnout syndrome is also being diagnosed more and more frequently in young people.

The contact person in the event of a suspected burnout syndrome can initially be the family doctor, who should refer the patient to a psychologist. Burnout is treated primarily through psychotherapy. Behavioral therapy and talk therapy are decisive here. Depending on the individual situation, supportive treatment with psychotropic drugs can be an important pillar in therapy.


Depression is a mental illness that is characterized by, among other things, listlessness, dejection, insomnia, feelings of inferiority and compulsive brooding, a distinction being made between depressive episodes and recurring depressive disorders. There is a relatively high risk of suicide, and depression is the most common mental illness. Antidepressants are used for treatment.

The likelihood of developing depression is partly genetic. In addition to stressful life events and stress, physical illnesses or a lack of daylight can trigger a depressive episode. Women are diagnosed with the disease about twice as often as men - the reasons for this are not fully understood, but depression often occurs after the birth of a child. Since there is also a higher suicide rate in men and depression is the cause of around half of all suicides, it can be assumed that the disease manifests itself in some men in other symptoms or that men are generally less willing to seek treatment.

Depression does not have to lead to the numbness and dejection commonly associated with the disease: aggressive behavior or uncontrolled use of addictive substances are possible symptoms.In other cases, the disease manifests itself solely through physical symptoms, such as headache or back pain.


The diagnosis is the clear recognition of a pathological, deviating from the norm psychological problem and the basis of the treatment. A diagnosis can be made on the basis of an anamnesis, but more tests are usually required to ensure that the diagnosis of the psychological problem is being carried out correctly and that the treatment will lead to a long-term improvement in the psychological problem.

As in other areas of medicine, in psychology, in addition to the diagnosis itself, the differential diagnosis also plays a role. Various possible diseases are brought up and either excluded on this basis or recognized as a problem. Diagnosis in psychology is often difficult because the procedures for clear identification are lengthy and the patient's suffering should be alleviated as quickly as possible. A psychological diagnosis is also often ramified and has different causes and triggers that must also be identified for targeted treatment. In psychology, typical diagnostic procedures include not only taking the anamnesis to identify symptoms that the patient perceives as problematic, but also other tests such as staying in a sleep laboratory or a depth psychological analysis. Until a diagnosis is made in psychology, several appointments with the treating psychologist often pass, who, however, needs this certainty.

Dissociative personality

Dissociative personalities suffer from memory, perception and identity disorders. This leads to the formation of a wide variety of personalities, whereby the patients can no longer remember the actions of the individual persons later. These personalities always appear in turns and have separate behaviors and feelings. However, the patient does not notice the change between the different identities.

The causes of a dissociative personality disorder are mostly found in severe traumatic experiences in childhood, including, for example, sexual abuse, neglect or mistreatment. But war, murder or serious accidents are also reasons for the development of this disease. In addition, those affected also have a very high comorbidity with depression, borderline personality disorders or anxiety disorders.

A therapy that usually lasts for years includes trauma-adapted, hypnotherapeutic or depth psychological methods, and screen technology or EMDR technology are also used. These procedures enable the trauma experienced to be dealt with, which leads to a significant improvement in the quality of life of the patient.


Dysthymia is a depressive mood, the symptoms of which are lighter than those of depression, but have lasted for at least two years. During this chronic development, however, some sufferers certainly experience depressive episodes (double depression).

Some patients understand the relatively slight signs of dysthymia as part of their being and therefore do not discuss them with those around them. The number of unreported cases is likely to be quite high, while a diagnosis usually only occurs many years after the onset of the disorder.

One form of dysthymia shows up as a mild bipolar disorder: cyclothymia. The mood changes a little (dysthymic) and then brightens (marginally euphoric) in order to slightly darken again, etc.

Another variant of dysthymia as an affective disorder is endo-reactive: This syndrome has both endogenous and reactive features. The basic fear of illness (hypochondria) often rests on top of the depressive mood, while the environment is a constant physical and mental burden on the mostly unstable patient.

People affected by dysthymia respond better to sertraline than to placebos: As a selective inhibitor of the reuptake of serotonin (SSRI), it acts as a typical antidepressant for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Eclectic psychotherapy

Eclectic psychotherapy follows the approach of combining different psychotherapeutic models and methods. Whereas the classic forms of therapy (psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy, etc.) are based on largely complete theoretical and practical systems, eclectic psychotherapy assumes that the various methods should be combined with the aim of achieving the greatest possible effectiveness.

The typically eclectic method consists in orienting oneself on the individual case and combining the available therapeutic approaches accordingly. The advantage of this form of therapy is the wide range of methods that can be used. Psychotherapy can therefore always be designed in a completely individual and goal-oriented manner. The focus here is not on the claim to truth of a particular line of psychotherapeutic tradition, but on the individual needs of the client. In addition, eclectic psychotherapy follows the theoretical insight that every form of psychotherapy has particular advantages, but none of the forms of therapy alone can adequately support a holistic change.

After decades of being strictly restricted to one particular therapy method, the eclectic approach has now found favor with the broad mass of therapists. The followers of the classical lines of tradition are now also combining other methods with the theoretical approaches. The theoretical underpinning of eclectic psychotherapy consists in the concentration on the individual case and the conviction that the combination of different therapeutic aspects can lead to an all-encompassing therapeutic success.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence describes the ability of a person to interact successfully with others based on their feelings. This factor is a collective term for empathy and the ability to use the knowledge gained about the inner life of another person for one's own goals and purposes without the emotional intelligence drifting into an attempt at manipulation.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that is particularly valued by other people. In this way, a friend, acquaintance or colleague can put himself in the shoes of his counterpart, understand the foreign point of view and work towards finding a solution or a way that satisfies all parties equally.

However, emotional intelligence also enables people to put themselves in the shoes of others in order to achieve their own goals and needs and in this way to more easily achieve what they want - of course in a way that is actually okay for everyone involved and not based on manipulation. Emotional intelligence is downright innate in some people, but it can also be trained in order to perfect the interpersonal skills that arise from it and to be able to use them for one's own goals and purposes.


Empathy is the ability of a person to empathize with his fellow human beings and to understand their emotional motives. Whether people let themselves be carried away by the feelings of their fellow human beings or whether they can set themselves apart and still show empathy is closely related to empathy, but is not to be equated with it. Everyone handles empathy differently.

Empathy is shown, for example, when a person questions how his actions and words could influence others. Whether or not he acts accordingly is another question. As a rule, however, empathy leads the empathic person to think about what effects his decisions will have on others and how they will feel about them. In a conversation, thanks to empathy, he is able to respond to subconscious signals and messages and to understand his counterpart - because full understanding requires that the subliminal messages of the other person are also understood and not just the words he utters.

Empathy is an important key competence of every person. It enables in-depth, understanding communication and conversation with one another and makes it easier to find a place in the social fabric and to build close friendships and relationships with other people. However, it is important to differentiate yourself from the feelings of others in order not to be influenced too much.

Relaxation procedure

Relaxation sets in in the body when the muscle tone is reduced. This generally happens at the beginning of falling asleep, but it can also be brought about consciously using various techniques. In the relaxed state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the sympathetic nervous system is weakened, the muscle tone is reduced, the blood pressure is lowered, the blood vessels expand and the neural activity and the heartbeat decrease. This has a direct impact on the psyche. The relaxed person experiences satisfaction, serenity and well-being and can concentrate better.

Relaxation exercises have an extremely positive effect on various mental and physical disorders. These disorders include nervousness, psychosomatic disorders, weak nerves, burnout and the diverse physical and psychological consequences of negative stress.

In the course of the last few decades, various relaxation techniques have been established in Europe, some of which stem from Asian philosophy. These include yoga, meditation, tai chi, quigong, and taijiquan. Other methods developed in the western world include autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, hypnosis, biofeedback and imaginative methods. The latter are, for example, fantasy journeys and visualizations that serve to deepen the relaxation that has already taken place. The biofeedback process was developed in the 1970s. With the help of electronic aids, brain waves, pulse and skin conductance can be made aware. The aim is to influence the body's functions, but this requires a learning process.

Fear of expectation

Anticipatory fear is the future-oriented fear of certain psychological events, situations, feelings or thoughts. It is therefore close to the "fear of fear" or phobiophobia. However, unlike phobiophobia, anticipatory anxiety can also be directed against unpleasant emotions, which are generally not referred to as fear. Grief, guilt or feelings of inferiority can also become the subject of future-related fears.

Usually the fear of expectation arises in relation to certain situations and their consequences. With the increasing cultivation of negative behavior patterns, the fear of the person concerned is then often increasingly generalized. Whereas originally only certain situations - such as an exam or a job interview - were perceived as threatening, suddenly similar moments and their consequences are suddenly fearfully expected.

The fear of expectation usually arises from the occurrence of a negative event, the consequences of which the person concerned was exposed to significant psychological stress. As a result of such an event, corresponding situations are then unconsciously or consciously avoided. A vicious circle develops in which the fear of corresponding events is intensified and solidified. In appropriate therapy, those affected learn that the dreaded emotions also fulfill a meaningful function. The constructive confrontation with one's own feelings is tried out and the therapist explains the mechanisms of anticipatory fears.


Upbringing begins in infancy and continues throughout life. Although the parents no longer have a legal right to education after the age of 18, they will never completely stop raising their offspring or feeling like advisers to their children if the relationship is right. However, the importance of upbringing for the personal development of an individual decreases with increasing age.

Upbringing is particularly essential for the healthy development of the psyche in toddlers, children and adolescents. Parents teach their offspring social manners and show them how they can integrate into the existing society in order to lead an unproblematic and happy life. The parents shape the child according to their own life experiences and have the best interests of the child in mind. But upbringing goes even further - it shapes our patterns of thought and behavior and defines what kind of person we become. In adolescence, education begins to serve as a benchmark for our self-driven realization of personality; we either orient ourselves to the values ​​that were imparted to us at a young age, or we turn completely against upbringing. In both ways, however, upbringing shapes the character that man develops.

eating disorder

The collective term of eating disorders describes mental illnesses that change the eating behavior of the person affected. Anorexia (anorexia) and bulimia (eating and vomiting addiction) are particularly well known; The focus of attention has now also shifted to the binge eating disorder, in which the person affected eats or grazes, as in bulimia, without vomiting afterwards.

The causes of eating disorders have not yet been conclusively clarified. The story of how it came about is probably a combination of society's ideals of beauty, the pressure of a social group to which those affected want to belong, a lack of knowledge about the effects of our food and underlying psychological illnesses such as inferiority complexes or low self-esteem.

Depending on the severity of the eating disorder, the focus is first on symptomatic treatment; However, treatment of the causes can rarely be avoided in order to ensure long-term therapeutic success. Most eating disorders are accompanied by one or more necessary stays in a mental health facility.

Eating disorders are difficult to recognize by the patient himself, as it gives him a distorted view of reality. For example, in anorexia, if a slim patient looks in a mirror, he sees a fat person who has to lose weight. As a result, the disturbed eating behavior appears normal and functional and the patient is not able to recognize the disease behind it.


In psychology, exposure stands for the method of bringing the patient into contact with a problematic stimulus or trigger. It is an important part of shock therapy, but is still used in modern procedures. Ultimately, the exposure also serves as a practical test of whether the patient has learned to deal better with the trigger after the therapy has ended and whether the exposure can now be processed.

The purpose of exposure is to bring a patient into contact with a spider, for example, if he is afraid of the animals, in order to show him that the fear is unfounded. This is never done in the first step, otherwise he would react as usual. In addition to therapy or hypnosis treatment, the patient can be expected to be exposed after the first measurable successes - because the purpose of the treatment is to take away his fear of the spider. As a final step, he must therefore recognize that spiders are harmless and that what he was afraid of will not occur. The exposure ultimately also proves to the patient that he has learned to deal with his previous problems and can now react differently when exposed to a stimulus.


In the context of behavioral learning theories, extinction or extinction is a method of reducing behavior.

In the context of classical conditioning, extinction takes place in that a conditioned / conditional stimulus (CS) is repeatedly not coupled with the unconditioned / unconditional stimulus (UCS). According to the theory of operant conditioning, extinction is achieved by not reinforcing the behavior to be deleted. The fact that some behaviors are more resistant to deletion than others is primarily due to the conditions under which they were acquired (e.g. different reinforcement plans).

A number of phenomena have been described in connection with the extinction: For example, at the beginning of the extinction process there may initially be an increase in the behavior to be deleted (extinction burst), which is caused by the sudden failure of the amplifier. In addition, the experimental research showed that an extinction is mostly context-dependent. Behavior that is considered deleted in one situation or environment may still occur in other circumstances. If, on the other hand, the conditioned reaction occurs sporadically during or after the extinction process has been completed, this is referred to as spontaneous recovery.

Family constellation

The family constellation is a diagnostic and therapeutic approach to identify structures within a patient's family. People who do not belong to the family are assigned a role within the family. The patient positions the participants within the room as he assesses the relationships in his family.From this list of people, therapists can gain insights that flow into the therapy.

A family constellation initially serves to identify the patient's perspective on his family. The concept of constellation also works with other social networks, but in this case it serves to identify possible sources of conflict and problems in the family environment. Psychological problems, the cause of which lies in the family, can be recognized in this way and it becomes clear where the therapist has to start if he wants to help the person affected or if he wants to recognize what the problem is.

Family constellations are used in several psychological contexts. They are popular in systemic family therapy, because this is about recognizing and interpreting the constellation of the family from the perspective of each family member. Family constellations are also relevant in terms of depth psychology, because based on the patient's reaction to the task, the therapist can foresee at which points he has to look deeper.

Generalized anxiety disorder

According to the ICD-10, generalized anxiety disorder is classified as "other anxiety disorders", with patients experiencing persistent anxiety that is not tied to specific environmental conditions. For example, there are fears of illness or panic of public transport and elevators or crowds of people.

The anxiety states manifest themselves in the form of physical complaints such as racing heart, tremors, nausea, inner restlessness, sleep disorders, tension headaches or muscle tension, which makes it very difficult to lead a normal lifestyle. These symptoms must appear on most days for several weeks or months. Social and genetic factors are cited as the cause of the development of a generalized anxiety disorder, with social factors mostly representing decisive life events.

Treatment can be done with the help of psychotherapy or behavioral therapy. As part of psychotherapy, both the fears and the situations that trigger this fear are dealt with. Behavioral therapy confronts the patient with their fear, which makes it possible to learn new behavior patterns. Another element of therapy is applied relaxation; in particularly severe cases, drug treatment is also used.


Conscience is an emotional response to one's actions, words, and decisions. It defines whether we think a decision is good or bad, as we can identify with it in one way or another. A guilty conscience can lead us to try to make amends for a decision by offering or performing an opposite act that is intended to make the previous mistake less serious.

A good conscience is the hallmark of a person who lives in harmony with his words and deeds and assumes that he is doing the right thing. The bad conscience signals a contradiction between a decision and our internal value system and can lead to us revising it afterwards.

A decision of conscience can also be persuaded from the outside; For example, disappointed ex-lovers like to try to persuade their former companion to feel guilty that he has hurt them, in the hope of getting him back. Depending on how well we can demarcate ourselves from the outside, our conscience can be easily influenced or becomes immune to external attempts. A lack of conscience can also be a sign of mental illness; as a result, the person concerned makes decisions that are not accepted in society and that lead to problems as a result.


The term habituation goes back to William Thorpe and describes a learned behavioral suppression. It is learned not to show any reaction to certain stimuli, which means that the stimulus patterns can be faded out and negative reactions avoided.

The pediatrician Albrecht Peiper discovered in 1925 that newborns react to acoustic stimuli immediately after birth. He then tested whether such reactions also occur in the unborn and was able to see that the reactions became weaker and weaker through frequent repetition.

Habituation should not be confused with fatigue, however. When the body is tired, reactions are generally less severe. In a habituation, the reaction occurs only in connection with a certain stimulus. However, if another stimulus occurs, the organism reacts to it again undiminished strongly.

In addition, a distinction can be made between long-term and short-term habituation. The long-term habituation lasts for a relatively long time: You look at a picture that you see for the first time with a lot of attention, but the next time you will not spend as much time looking at it because the picture is already known is. The short-term habituation lasts for a relatively short time. For example, if you visit a discotheque where very loud music is played, you will get used to it very quickly and will hardly notice the volume. However, if the restaurant is left and re-entered some time later, the volume is annoying again and the habituation effect was only short-lived.

Helper syndrome

Helper syndrome is the ability to help interfere in other people's lives, whether they want it or not. The helping activity extends to the point of sacrifice and the person concerned is no longer doing well, but he can usually no longer remedy the helper syndrome on his own.

A helper syndrome is just as stressful for those affected as it is for the environment. For those affected, it is important that they inevitably have to help if they themselves recognize the need for help and support in a certain situation. Whether his helping hand is actually wanted does not matter to him. The helper syndrome can lead to the victim imposing himself on someone who does not want or need any help. Stress tests for the social fabric also arise from the fact that people with helper syndrome can easily be exploited.

Those who really need help and support willingly agree to help a person as much as possible - and will not stop doing so even if the other takes advantage of them or demands that they sacrifice themselves. The helper syndrome is often associated with suffering even if no one takes advantage of the person affected, as they had to recognize for themselves that they offend their social structure.


Clinical hypnosis is a recognized psychological therapy concept that brings the patient's subconscious and intellectual levels to a common denominator. The level of reason can tend in one direction, but if the subconscious does not go along with it, it results, for example, in an anxiety disorder that the patient cannot overcome on his own. Under hypnosis he can recognize this connection and work out a way to deal with the control by his subconscious.

Under hypnosis, the patient is between the waking phase and sleep. He can then access his subconscious more directly and obtain from it, for example, the consent for certain actions, decisions and ways of thinking. After finishing the hypnosis he will find that it is easier for him to overcome hurdles because his subconscious now "plays along" again.

As a therapeutic method, hypnosis is suitable to dissolve blocked states. This is the state of affairs in many fears. The patient would like to take an action on the level of reason that does not represent any danger, but the subconscious perceives it as danger and, through its sheer speed with respect to the mind, ensures that resistance arises. Hypnosis brings the two levels back into harmony with one another and thus resolves anxiety disorders, for example.


The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems - ICD-10 for short - is a classification system that is recognized worldwide and used by doctors and health institutions to make diagnoses.

The origins of this system go back to Jacques Bertillon, who introduced the so-called International Directory of Causes of Death (Bertillon Classification) in 1893. The older systems were only used to record possible causes of death, with the first version only having 44 disease names. As a result, the ICD system developed from this and is constantly being further developed by the World Health Organization. In Germany, all contract doctors and all medically managed institutions are obliged to encrypt their outpatient and inpatient diagnoses in accordance with ICD-10 (German Modification). In some countries such as Austria, Australia or the USA, country-specific ICD extensions are also in use, and there are also special editions for the specialist areas of rheumatology, orthopedics, oncology, neurology, paediatrics, dermatology and ophthalmology.

The ICD-10 consists of a total of three volumes: the systematic directory, the set of rules and the alphabetical directory. Each class of the system is assigned an alphanumeric key containing up to five digits. The first digit is always a letter, followed by digits, whereby the fourth digit is separated from the others by a point (for example A95.0: Bush yellow fever) and can have the value 0 to 9. The subcategories that end in 8 or 9 denote the remaining groups "other specified" or "unspecified" states within this category. The letters identify the diagnosis groups, such as diseases of the nervous system, diseases of the skin or diseases of the blood.

Overall, the ICD-10 consists of 22 disease chapters, 261 disease groups, 2037 disease classes (three-digit), 12161 sub-categories (four-digit).

The classification categories change between pathology, etiology and topography. The core area consists of so-called organ-specific diseases that cannot be specifically assigned to any organ. In principle, coding should be as specific as possible, i.e. if there are sub-categories, these should also be used. In some chapters there are also five-digit subcategories available.

Before each chapter there is also a chapter leader with a list of all groups that are contained in the chapter. Inclusion and exclusion notes are marked with "Incl." or "Excl." and indicate whether certain diseases fit into this category or not. Additional indicators can also be specified for each diagnosis. The indicators "V" (suspected diagnosis), "G" (confirmed diagnosis), "A" (excluded diagnosis) and "Z" (status after diagnosis) are available for selection. The laterality is also often given, for example R (right), L (left) or B (both sides).

In the systematic directory there is also an additional classification with which neoplasms can be classified histologically. The classifications have six digits and always begin with the letter "M" (M-axis), followed by four digits, a slash and a number with which the pathological behavior can be coded. The ICD-10 also shows many diseases with a double classification. The primary classification is based on the etiology, the secondary classification is based on the organ manifestation. The primary key is then shown with a cross sign (+), the secondary key is shown with an asterisk (*). This is why this notation is also known as the cross-star system, the cross notation mainly being used for statistical purposes and the star notation being used for cost allocation.


Kinesiology bridges the gap between modern and traditional medicine. A few words about the origin of this term: It is derived from two ancient Greek words, namely from "Kinesis" and "Logos", ie from movement and teaching.

As I said, in addition to traditional knowledge, modern medical knowledge, for example with regard to motor skills, muscles or blood circulation, is also taken into account. One could also say that it is a collective term for procedures in which the muscle test is used.

Kinesiology is extremely effective when it comes to finding blockages, triggers of stress or weak points in order to restore balance in the next step. This is done through movements on the physical, mental, mental and emotional level.

Kinesiology is based on four pillars:

  • balancing the levels
  • the regulation of the flow of the meridians
  • the activation of the left and right hemispheres of the brain
  • the behavior of the muscles

The application possibilities are diverse: In addition to the areas of health care and health care, work processes can be optimized and the ability to learn can be increased.

There are different directions in the alternative medical method, but they all have the same goal. Before the therapy, however, the diagnosis is made, and the therapists make this on the basis of muscle tests. When the result is available, the further treatment steps are planned and carried out on the basis of this.


In the broadest sense, cognition means thinking. Cognition includes will, belief, imagination, orientation, creativity, memory, learning, attention, planning, introspection, and reasoning. This multitude of cognitive abilities offers a vast field for different scientists, be they neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists or educators. Cognition is also an important parameter in research into artificial intelligence.

In psychology, the mental processes like desires, intentions, attitudes, opinions and thoughts of the person are interesting. In the cognitive processes, the past, present and future play a major role, especially in relation to oneself and the social environment. Accordingly, cognitions are ideas that a person can construct of himself and of the world. Scientists are also increasingly studying the cognitive processes of animals.

However, human cognitive performance has its limits. What is perceived through the sensory organs is filtered and changed in the brain before it becomes conscious. The working memory, which is used to understand language, as a temporary store of memory, as a short-term store of knowledge and as a problem solver, has only a small capacity. The information in long-term memory is often changed in advance as well as afterwards. In addition, much of the information is not available. In addition, distractibility, stress, tiredness and listlessness can lead to impaired performance.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy developed in the 1960s and was founded by Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck. This method focuses on cognitions, which include all processes of cognition, perception, evaluation and judgment.

As part of a therapy, these cognitions should be made aware, checked and corrected. Both cognitive and behavioral methods are used for this. The aim of cognitive processes is to correct negative cognitions and replace them with more rational ones. The behavioral methods should activate the client and change his behavior in a positive way.

The therapist and client are to be seen as equal partners, which means that the patient's active participation is essential. Furthermore, in contrast to psychoanalysis or depth psychology, the cognitive methods do not start in the past but in the present. This means that the aim is to find out which attitudes lead to the existing problems and how these can be improved. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective in the treatment of depression, panic attacks, phobias and eating disorders.

Confrontation proceedings

Exposure methods are used in so-called exposure therapies. These are psychotherapeutic methods in the context of behavior therapy. In recent years, these procedures have proven their worth, especially in the treatment of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These disorders include social phobias, agoraphobias, and specific phobias such as fears of spiders, disease, great heights, exams, flights, and other fears. Good results are also achieved with panic attacks.

In therapy, the patient is confronted with the stimuli that trigger fear. It is about "unlearning" fear. The patient learns that fear does not go beyond a certain level, even if he remains in the situation. In the therapy, anxious thoughts, fears and expectations are made aware, concretized and, if necessary, relativized. The feelings experienced in conversation change the neural engrams in the brain in the long term and accelerate the learning process.

The confrontations, so-called exposure exercises, take place in the company of the therapist.Since the patient has avoided the fear-inducing situation in the past, the confrontation with fear can now lead to new experiences. The exercises are usually carried out in small steps and, if successful, strengthen the patient's self-confidence. In addition, the patient should get used to the situation through independent practice, so that the fear is further reduced and ultimately disappears completely.


The term conversion was first used by Sigmund Freud. He discovered that affects such as anger, fear, anger, guilt and sexual instinctual desires are transferred to organs. Psychosomatic illnesses and phenomena such as blushing, fainting, migraines and erectile dysfunction were also forms of transmission in his view.

Conversion or conversion disorder refers to the suppression of unbearable mental states that ultimately manifest themselves as organic diseases. This shift into the somatic, i.e. into the body, serves the defense, a mechanism that is supposed to keep unbearable states and conflicts away from the ego. This makes it impossible for the unconscious to face the problem, deal with it and process it adequately. In this respect, conversion is a protective function of the ego. But since it causes physical suffering, it is pathogenic and can be treated with psychological means.

The affect equivalent is a special form of conversion. Mental reactions and the associated physical phenomena are decoupled from one another. This means that the patient only feels the physical reactions. Here, too, there are different defense mechanisms. Physical-vegetative symptoms such as palpitations, sweating or shortness of breath can be an expression of fear, for example. They are therefore referred to as "masked anxiety states". The practitioner must make it clear to the patient that his physical symptoms are an expression of emotional conflicts, which in turn have to be uncovered and dealt with.


Although the term abuse is broadly defined, it is now only used in psychology when it comes to the abuse of people: In these cases it describes the degradation of a person to an object in order to satisfy one's own needs. In addition to physical violence, abuse can also take the form of sexual or emotional violence.

Abuse usually takes place in partnerships, among friends or in the family environment. Perpetrators take advantage of the victim's dependency while at the same time relying on the fact that they will not seek help or that they will not be believed. In the case of abuse in the family, in particular, it is not uncommon for other family members to deny the abuse, trivialize it or blame the victim.

Studies have shown that the perpetrators are more often affected by personality disorders. Addiction problems, low self-esteem and personal experiences of abuse can be further factors that favor the creation of an abuse situation. In the case of sexual violence against children, a distinction is made between different groups of perpetrators, with the proportion of pedophile perpetrators estimated at between ten and 65 percent.

In addition to the physical consequences, the victims' experiences of abuse can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or, in more severe cases with persistent abuse, personality disorders or the (controversial) dissociative identity disorder.


Morality is a collective term for ideals and standards of value in our social life. These ideas do not ensure individual survival, but rather define an optimal state that would be desirable and to which we align our own behavior, thinking and acting. Morals are also a cultural question, as they are also shaped by our cultural background.

It is part of the moral concept of traditional Christian society, for example, to only sleep with each other after the wedding and to use sexual intercourse to produce children, but not for any other purpose. In addition to socially indoctrinated and individually designed moral concepts, every person also develops their own interpretation of morality. He does not have to communicate this openly, but lives according to it or at least tries to do so. Often morality is set higher than the individual can fulfill. He still strives for it and in this way reaches a point with which he can be satisfied and which still remains expandable.

Morality can also restrict people in their development and personal development in such a way that they see these social rules as a cage from which to break out. In phases of rebellion against existing values, arguments are often made against morality, but it is always just a matter of rebellion against foreign morals; every human being retains his or her own morality.

Narcissistic personality

A narcissistic personality is characterized by a lack of self-confidence, and narcissists often reject their own person, but appear outwardly with extremely pronounced self-confidence and are constantly looking for recognition and admiration. In addition, they lack empathy and are very sensitive to any criticism.

The perception of a narcissistic personality is usually very blurred, which often falsifies reality out of self-protection. Furthermore, they hardly have any feelings of guilt or shame and have a pathological urge to tell lies.

Many people with a narcissistic illness did not receive enough recognition and love from parents or caregivers in their early childhood, or they and their desires were constantly the focus. A narcissistic personality disorder can be treated as part of psychotherapy. Here the patient has to learn to take himself back and not always look for problems in others. However, treatment is often very difficult because narcissists see themselves as completely normal, but their partners and relatives suffer from their behavior.


The term neurasthenia is generally defined as "nerve weakness", a so-called irritable weakness. Since the causes have not yet been fully researched, there is disagreement as to whether it is a mental disorder or a medical illness.

The symptom picture is diverse. Those affected suffer from exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, neuralgia, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, melancholy and sexual inappetence. The symptoms can be caused by external stimuli and exertion, but also by monotony. Decisive are a low resilience and an often chronic exhaustion. Today the term neurasthenia is rarely used, but rather the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The low resilience relates to both cognitive and physical exertion and entails a longer recovery phase than in healthy people.

What is certain is that there are no organic changes in the nerves, which distinguishes neurasthenia from neuropathy. It must also be distinguished from burnout, the symptoms of which are more likely to be caused by external circumstances, such as working conditions.

Treatment of neurasthenia is difficult. It ranges from mental hygiene and changing thought patterns to individual physical training. The principle of therapy is that as much activity and stress as possible, but as much care as necessary, should be carried out and adhered to.