a b c d e f g h i k l m n o p r s t u
v w z
Canadian Mental Health Association: A national organization that
provides information about mental illness and acts as an advocate for
mentally ill people.
Cannabis sativa: See marijuana.
cardiovascular disorder: A medical problem involving the heart
and the blood circulation system, such as hypertension or coronary heart
case study: The collection of historical or biographical information
on a single individual, often including experiences in therapy.
castration: The surgical removal of the testes.
castration anxiety: The fear of having the genitals removed or
catastrophization: A cognitive tendency that involves magnifying
or amplifying the impact of a problem, symptom, or stressful situation
by interpreting it is a major catastrophe.
catatonic immobility: A fixity of posture, sometimes grotesque,
maintained for long periods, with accompanying muscular rigidity, trancelike
state of consciousness, and waxy flexibility.
catatonic schizophrenia: A subtype of schizophrenia whose primary
symptoms alternate between stuporous immobility and excited agitation.
catecholamines: Monoamine compounds, each having a catechol portion.
Catecholamines known to be neurotransmitters of the central nervous system
are norepinephrine and dopamine; another, epinephrine, is principally
categorical classification: An approach to assessment in which
the basic decision is whether a person is or is not a member of a discrete
grouping. Contrast with dimensional classification.
cathartic method: A therapeutic procedure introduced by Breuer
and developed further by Freud in the late nineteenth century whereby
a patient recalls and relives an earlier emotional catastrophe and re-experiences
the tension and unhappiness, the goal being to relieve emotional suffering.
central nervous system: The part of the nervous system that in
vertebrates consists of the brain and spinal cord, to which all sensory
impulses are transmitted and from which motor impulses pass out; it also
supervises and coordinates the activities of the entire nervous system.
cerebellum: An area of the hindbrain concerned with balance, posture,
and motor coordination.
cerebral atherosclerosis: A chronic disease impairing intellectual
and emotional life, caused by a reduction in the brain’s blood supply
through a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries.
cerebral contusion: A bruising of neural tissue marked by swelling
and hemorrhage and resulting in coma; it may permanently impair intellectual
cerebral cortex: The thin outer covering of each of the cerebral
hemispheres; it is highly convoluted and composed of nerve cell bodies
which constitute the gray matter of the brain.
cerebral hemisphere: Either of the two halves that make up the
cerebral hemorrhage: Bleeding onto brain tissue from a ruptured
cerebral thrombosis: The formation of a blood clot in a cerebral
artery that blocks circulation in that area of brain tissue and causes
paralysis, loss of sensory functions, and possibly death.
cerebrovascular disease: An illness that disrupts blood supply
to the brain, such as a stroke.
cerebrum: The two-lobed structure extending from the brain stem
and constituting the anterior (frontal) part of the brain. The largest
and most recently developed portion of the brain, it coordinates sensory and motor activities and is the seat of
higher cognitive processes.
character disorder: The old term for personality disorder.
child sexual abuse: Sexual abuse of children that involves direct
physical contact, such as pedophilia or incest.
childhood disintegrative disorder: A lifelong developmental disorder
characterized by significant loss of social, play, language, and motor
skills after the second year of life. Abnormalities in social interaction
and communication are similar to autism.
chlorpromazine: One of the phenothiazines, the generic term for
one of the most widely prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, sold under the
cholinergic system: All the nerve cells for which acetylcholine
is the transmitter substance, in contrast to the adrenergic
choreiform: Pertaining to the involuntary, spasmodic, jerking
movements of the limbs and head found in Huntington’s chorea and other
chromosomes: The threadlike bodies within the nucleus of the cell,
composed primarily of DNA and bearing the genetic information of the organism.
chronic: Of lengthy duration or recurring frequently, often with
chronic brain syndrome: See
chronic pain: Persistent and debilitating pain that continues
to be present long after the anticipated time for healing has passed.
chronic schizophrenic: A psychotic patient who deteriorated over
a long period of time and has been hospitalized for more than two years.
civil commitment: A procedure whereby a person can be legally
certified as mentally ill and hospitalized, even against his or her will.
classical conditioning: A basic form of learning, sometimes referred
to as Pavlovian conditioning, in which a neutral stimulus is repeatedly
paired with another stimulus (called the unconditioned stimulus, UCS)
that naturally elicits a certain desired response (called the unconditioned
response, UCR). After repeated trials the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned
stimulus (CS) and evokes the same or a similar response, now called the
conditioned response (CR).
classificatory variables: The characteristics that people bring
with them to scientific investigations, such as sex, age, and mental status;
studied by correlational research and mixed designs.
client-centred therapy: A humanistic-existential insight therapy,
developed by Carl Rogers, which emphasizes the importance of the therapist’s
understanding the client’s subjective experiences and assisting the client
to gain more awareness of current motivations for behaviour; the goal
is not only to reduce anxieties but also to foster actualization of the
clinical interview: General term for conversation between a clinician
and a patient that is aimed at determining diagnosis, history, causes
for problems, and possible treatment options.
clinical psychologist: An individual who has earned a Ph.D. degree
in psychology or a Psy.D. and whose training has included an internship
in a mental hospital or clinic.
clinical psychology: The special area of psychology concerned
with the study of psychopathology, its diagnosis, causes, prevention,
clinician: A health professional authorized to provide services
to people suffering from one or more pathologies.
clitoris: The small, heavily innervated structure located above
the vaginal opening; the primary site of female responsiveness to sexual
clonidine: An anti-hypertensive drug that shows some promise in
helping people wean themselves from substance
cocaine: A pain-reducing, stimulating, and addictive alkaloid
obtained from coca leaves, which increases mental powers, produces euphoria,
heightens sexual desire, and in large doses causes paranoia and hallucinations.
cognition: The process of knowing; the thinking, judging, reasoning,
and planning activities of the human mind; behaviour is now often explained
as depending on these processes.
cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT): Behaviour therapy which incorporates
theory and research on cognitive processes such as thoughts, perceptions,
judgments, self-statements, and tacit assumptions. A blend of both the
cognitive and behavioural paradigms.
cognitive paradigm: General view that people can best be understood
by studying how they perceive and structure their experiences.
cognitive restructuring: Any behaviour therapy procedure that
attempts to alter the manner in which a client thinks about life so that
he or she changes overt behaviour and emotions.
cognitive therapy (CT): A cognitive restructuring therapy associated
with the psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck, concerned with changing negative
schemata and certain cognitive biases or distortions that influence a
person to construe life in a depressing or otherwise maladaptive way.
cohort effects: The consequences of having been born in a given
year and having grown up during a particular time period with its own
unique pressures, problems, challenges, and opportunities. To be distinguished
from age effects.
coitus: Sexual intercourse.
collective unconscious: Jung’s concept that every human being
has within, the wisdom, ideas, and strivings of those who have come before.
communication disorders: Learning disabilities in a child who
fails to develop to the degree expected by his or her intellectual level
in a specific language skill area. Includes expressive language disorder,
phonological disorder, and stuttering.
community mental health: The delivery of services to needy, under-served
groups through centres that offer outpatient therapy, short-term inpatient
care, day hospitalization, twenty-four-hour emergency services, and consultation
and education to other community agencies, such as the police.
community psychology: An approach to therapy that emphasizes prevention
and the seeking out of potential difficulties rather than waiting for
troubled individuals to initiate consultation. The location for professional
activities tends to be in the person’s natural surroundings rather than
in the therapist’s office. See prevention.
community treatment orders (CTOs): A legal tool that specifies
the terms of treatment that must be adhered to in order for a mentally
ill person to be released and live in the community.
comorbidity: The co-occurrence of two disorders, as when a person
is both depressed and alcoholic.
competency to stand trial: A legal decision as to whether a person
can participate meaningfully in his or her own defence.
compulsion: The irresistible impulse to repeat an irrational act
over and over again.
concordance: As applied in behaviour genetics, the similarity
in psychiatric diagnosis or in other traits within a pair of twins.
concurrent validity: See validity.
concussion: A jarring injury to the brain produced by a blow to
the head that usually involves a momentary loss of consciousness followed
by transient disorientation and memory loss.
conditioned response (CR): See classical conditioning.
conditioned stimulus (CS): See classical conditioning.
conditioning theory of tolerance: A theory that involves the notion
that tolerance and extinction are learned responses and environmental
cues become associated with addictive substances through Pavlovian conditioning.
conduct disorder: Patterns of extreme disobedience in youngsters,
including theft, vandalism, lying, and early drug use; may be precursor
of antisocial personality disorder.
confabulation: Filling in gaps in memory caused by brain dysfunction
with made-up and often improbable stories that the person accepts as true.
confidentiality: A principle observed by lawyers, doctors, pastors,
psychologists, and psychiatrists that dictates that the goings-on in a
professional and private relationship are not divulged to anyone else.
conflict: A state of being torn between competing forces.
confounds: Variables whose effects are so intermixed that they
cannot be measured separately, making the design of an experiment internally
invalid and its results impossible to interpret.
congenital: Existing at or before birth but not acquired through
congruency hypothesis: This hypothesis is derived from research
on personality, stress, and depression. The congruency hypothesis involves
the prediction that people are likely to be depressed if they have a personality
vulnerability that is matched by congruent life events (i.e., perfectionists
who experience a failure to achieve).
conjoint therapy: Couples or family therapy where partners are
seen together and children are seen with their parents and possibly with
an extended family.
construct: An entity inferred by a scientist to explain observed
phenomena. See also mediator.
construct validity: The extent to which scores or ratings on an
assessment instrument relate to other variables or behaviours according
to some theory or hypothesis.
constructivist-narrative approach: An approach that focuses on
the cognitive meaning that people attach to life events by assessing the
stories they have constructed to account for their personal situation.
content validity: See validity.
contingency: A close relationship, especially of a causal nature,
between two events, one of which regularly follows the other.
control group: Those in an experiment for whom the independent
variable is not manipulated, thus forming a baseline against which the
effects of the manipulation of the experimental group can be evaluated.
controlled drinking: A pattern of alcohol consumption that is
moderate and avoids the extremes of total abstinence and of inebriation.
conversion disorder: A somatoform disorder in which sensory or
muscular functions are impaired, usually suggesting neurological disease,
even though the bodily organs themselves are sound; anaesthesias and paralyses
of limbs are examples.
convulsive therapy: See electroconvulsive therapy.
coronary heart disease (CHD): Angina pectoris, chest pains caused
by insufficient supply of blood and thus oxygen to the heart; and myocardial
infarction, or heart attack, in which the blood and oxygen supply is reduced
so much that heart muscles are damaged.
corpus callosum: The large band of nerve fibres connecting the
two cerebral hemispheres.
correlation: The tendency for two variables, such as height and
weight, to co-vary.
correlation coefficient: A statistic that measures the degree
to which two variables are related.
correlational method: The research strategy used to establish
whether two or more variables are related. Relationships may be positive—as
values for one variable increase, those for the other do also—or negative—as
values for one variable increase, those for the other decrease.
cortisol: A hormone secreted by the adrenal cortices.
co-twin: In behaviour genetics research using the twin method,
the member of the pair who is tested later to determine whether he or
she has the same diagnosis or trait discovered earlier in the birth partner.
counselling psychologist: A doctoral level mental health professional
whose training is similar to that of a clinical psychologist, though usually
with less emphasis on research and serious psychopathology.
counterconditioning: Relearning achieved by eliciting a new response
in the presence of a particular stimulus.
countertransference: Feelings that the psychoanalyst unconsciously
directs to the patient, stemming from his or her own emotional vulnerabilities
and unresolved conflicts.
couples (marital) therapy: Any professional intervention that
treats relationship problems of a couple.
covert sensitization: A form of aversion therapy in which the
person is told to imagine undesirably attractive situations and activities
while unpleasant feelings are being induced by imagery.
criminal commitment: A procedure whereby a person is confined
in a mental institution either for determination of competency to stand
trial or after acquittal by reason of insanity.
criterion validity: See validity.
critical period: A stage of early development in which an organism
is susceptible to certain influences and during which important irreversible
patterns of behaviour are acquired.
cross-dependent: Acting on the same receptors, as methadone does
with heroin. See heroin substitutes.
cross-sectional studies: Studies in which different age groups
are compared at the same time. Compare with longitudinal
CT scan: Refers to computerized axial tomography, a method of
diagnosis in which X- rays are taken from different angles and then analyzed
by computer to produce a representation of the part of the body in cross
section; often used on the brain.
cultural bias: The degree to which assessment devices, such as
intelligence tests, have content that is not representative and meaningful
for individuals from various cultural backgrounds.
cultural diversity: The differences that exist in an area or region
due to the heterogeneity and varying backgrounds of the members of that
cultural-familial retardation: A mild backwardness in mental development
with no indication of brain pathology but evidence of similar limitation
in at least one of the parents or siblings.
cunnilingus: The oral stimulation of female genitalia.
Cushing’s syndrome: An endocrine disorder usually affecting young
women, produced by oversecretion of cortisone and marked by mood swings,
irritability, agitation, and physical disfigurement.
cyclical psychodynamics: The reciprocal relations between current
behaviour and repressed conflicts, such that they mutually reinforce each
cyclothymic disorder: Chronic swings between elation and depression
not severe enough to warrant the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.