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The Bethesda Therapy Glossary


Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

A neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty maintaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness, often hindering academic and social functioning.


An anxiety disorder characterized by an intense fear of being in places where escape might be difficult or help unavailable, often leading to avoidance of such situations.


A mental health condition characterized by persistent and excessive worry, fear, and nervousness, which can disrupt daily activities and emotional well-being, often accompanied by physical symptoms like restlessness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Bipolar Disorder

A mental disorder characterized by extreme mood swings, including emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression), affecting a person’s energy levels, activity, judgment, and ability to think clearly.


Borderline Personality Disorder

A complex mental health disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships, often requiring specialized therapeutic approaches.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A therapy that helps clients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, leading to improved mental health and coping strategies.


Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly, aimed at reducing distress or preventing a dreaded event or situation.

Couples Therapy

A therapy for romantic partners focusing on improving communication, resolving conflicts, and strengthening the relationship through guided discussions and interventions.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy

A type of therapy which combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness, helping clients manage emotions, reduce conflict, and improve relationships.


A common mental health disorder characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and feelings of hopelessness, often affecting daily functioning and overall well-being.

Distress Tolerance

Skills in DBT aimed at increasing an individual’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it.


Painful intercourse experienced in the genital area, often caused by medical or psychological factors, impacting sexual activity and quality of life.


Emotionally Focused Therapy

A structured approach to psychotherapy that aims to improve attachment and bonding in couples and families by focusing on emotions and their role in relationship dynamics.


An intense fear of vomiting or seeing others vomit, often leading to extreme avoidance behaviors and significant distress.

Emotion Regulation

Techniques in DBT to help individuals learn to manage and change intense, disruptive emotions, fostering better emotional stability and improved responses to emotional challenges.


Exposure and Response Prevention

A therapeutic approach for OCD that combines exposure to feared thoughts or situations with training to resist engaging in compulsive responses, aimed at reducing obsessive thoughts and anxiety over time.

Evidence-Based Approach

A therapeutic approach that relies on scientific evidence and research to guide treatment decisions and techniques, ensuring the therapy is effective and tailored to the client’s specific needs.

Family Therapy

A therapy involving family members to address dynamics, improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance overall family functioning and relationships.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

A mental health condition characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry about everyday things, often causing physical symptoms like fatigue or restlessness.


Inference-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

A variant of CBT focusing on altering distorted inferences and interpretations, particularly effective in treating OCD and related disorders by challenging and changing unhelpful beliefs.


Internal Family Systems

A form of psychotherapy that recognizes and addresses multiple sub-personalities or “parts” within each individual, helping to heal wounded parts and restore mental balance by promoting internal harmony and self-leadership.

Individual Therapy

A one-on-one therapeutic session where a client works with a therapist to explore personal issues, develop coping strategies, and foster self-growth.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

DBT skills for improving communication, asserting needs, and managing conflicts in relationships.


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

A therapy combining mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy, aiding in managing thoughts and emotions, particularly effective in preventing depression relapse.


A technique of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, often used to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Mood Disorders

A category of mental health disorders characterized by significant changes in mood, typically involving periods of intense sadness or excessively elevated mood, affecting daily functioning.


Involuntary, persistent thoughts, images, or impulses that cause significant anxiety or distress, often recognized as irrational by the person experiencing them.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

A disorder where persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions), significantly affecting daily life and stress levels.

Panic Disorder

A type of anxiety disorder marked by sudden, recurrent panic attacks involving intense fear and physical symptoms like heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

Pelvic Pain Disorders

A range of conditions causing chronic or intermittent pain in the pelvic region, often associated with symptoms like urinary or bowel distress and impacting daily activities and quality of life.

Personality Disorders

Mental health conditions characterized by enduring, inflexible patterns of behavior and inner experience that differ significantly from cultural norms, causing distress or impairment in personal and social functioning.


Intense, irrational fears of specific objects or situations, often leading to avoidance behavior and significant distress, affecting an individual’s daily life and well-being.


A therapeutic approach developed by Sigmund Freud, focusing on exploring unconscious thoughts and feelings, often through techniques like dream analysis and free association, to understand and resolve deep-seated emotional issues.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Involves exploring unconscious patterns and the influence of past relationships to understand and resolve deep emotional issues.


A form of therapy where a trained professional helps individuals work through emotional, mental, or behavioral challenges to improve well-being and personal growth.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, characterized by flashbacks, anxiety, and changes in mood and behavior.

Sexual Dysfunction

A broad term covering difficulties experienced during any phase of the sexual response cycle, including desire, arousal, and orgasm, which prevent the individual from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity.


Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

A goal-directed therapeutic approach that emphasizes finding solutions in the present time and exploring hope for the future.

Social Anxiety Disorder

A condition where social interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment due to a fear of being scrutinized or judged by others.


Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions

A program designed to help parents reduce accommodation and support children in managing anxiety, rather than reinforcing it.


A response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causing feelings of helplessness, diminishing their sense of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.


A condition where there is involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles, causing discomfort, pain, and difficulty in vaginal penetration, often linked to anxiety and fear of pain.

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