Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience


aka Why Are There So Many Bloody Acronyms In Psychology?!
Here be definitions 🙂

NB: These definitions are taken from various sources around the Web. I have always made clear where the definition is from and linked to the source page.



“The American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States.”[APA]
“The autism spectrum, also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or autism spectrum conditions (ASC), with the word autistic sometimes replacing autism, is a spectrum of psychological conditions characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, as well as severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior.”[wiki]


“Bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder (also referred to as bipolar affective disorder or manic depression) is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood and one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time.”[wiki]
“Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder described as a prolonged disturbance of personality function in a person, characterized by depth and variability of moods. The disorder typically involves unusual levels of instability in mood; black and white thinking, or splitting; the disorder often manifests itself in idealization and devaluation episodes, as well as chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior; as well as a disturbance in the individual’s sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation.”[wiki]


“Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) is a brief therapy that was developed in the context of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom with the aim of providing effective and affordable psychological treatment which could be realistically provided in a resource constrained National Health Service.
Typically the therapy comprises 16 sessions. In the first 4 – 6 sessions the therapist collects all the relevant information. After that, the therapist writes a reformulation letter to the client. This letter summarises the therapist’s understanding of the client’s problems. Particular attention is given to understanding the connection between childhood patterns of behaviour and their impact on adult life.”
“Cognitive behavioral therapy (or cognitive behavioral therapies or CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. The title is used in diverse ways to designate behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to refer to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive research.”[wiki]
You can take a free online CCBT course at Living Life to the Full
Computerised CBT. You can take a free online CCBT course at Living Life to the Full
“Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology. The Clearing House processes applications to, and provides information about, 29 clinical psychology courses in Great Britain. It was set up in 1979 and is based at the University of Leeds.”[CHPCCP]
Community Mental Health Teams; “A group of mental health professionals who work together to help people with a wide range of mental health problems. The different professions all have different knowledge and skills which can be used to tackle problems together”[Royal College of Psychiatrists]
Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, a part of the British Psychological Society that aims to use psychological theory and expertise to promote the increased effectiveness of a broad range of health care interventions. [CORE]
Continuing Professional Development; “CPD can also be defined as the conscious updating of professional knowledge and the improvement of professional competence throughout a person’s working life. It is a commitment to being professional, keeping up to date and continuously seeking to improve.It is the key to optimizing a person’s career opportunities, both today and for the future (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2000)).”[wiki]


“Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a system of therapy originally developed to treat persons with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Research indicates that DBT is also effective in treating patients who present varied symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury. Recent work suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors and chemical dependency.”[wiki]
“The Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) represents over 9000 Clinical Psychologists in the UK. The DCP is the largest of the British Psychological Society’s Divisions and is run by elected national and local committees.”[DCP]
“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.” – [wiki]


“The term evidence-based treatment (EBT) or empirically-supported treatment (EST) refers to preferential use of mental and behavioral health interventions for which systematic empirical research has provided evidence of statistically significant effectiveness as treatments for specific problems. In recent years, EBP has been stressed by professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association, which have also strongly encouraged their members to carry out investigations to provide evidence supporting or rejecting the use of specific interventions. Pressure toward EBT has also come from public and private health insurance providers, which have sometimes refused coverage of practices lacking in systematic evidence of usefulness.”[wiki]
Early Childhood Special Education
“Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and unresolved life experiences.”[wiki]



“Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system. The term is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to forensic document examination.”[wiki]
[related posts]


“Health Professionals Council is a regulator, and was set up to protect the public. To do this, HPC keeps a register of health professionals who meet their standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health.”[HPC]


“The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) is a coding of diseases and signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases, as classified by the World Health Organization. (WHO).”[wiki]
Chapter V of the ICD-10 relates to mental and behavioural disorders.
[ICD-10 Online]
“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a United States federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to age 21 in cases that involve 13 specified categories of disability.”[wiki]
“In the United States an Individualized Education Program, commonly referred to as an IEP, is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In Canada and the United Kingdom, an equivalent document is called an Individual Education Plan.

In the US, the IDEA requires public schools to develop an IEP for every student with a disability who is found to meet the federal and state requirements for special education. The IEP must be designed to provide the child with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The IEP refers both to the educational program to be provided to a child with a disability and to the written document that describes that educational program. At the end of twelfth grade, students with disabilities will receive an IEP diploma if they have successfully met the IEP goals. If they have not met the requirements for the high school diploma, then the IEP diploma is not awarded.”[wiki]

“Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on the interpersonal context and on building interpersonal skills. IPT is based on the belief that interpersonal factors may contribute heavily to psychological problems. It is commonly distinguished from other forms of therapy in its emphasis on interpersonal processes rather than intrapsychic processes. IPT aims to change the person’s interpersonal behavior by fostering adaptation to current interpersonal roles and situations.”[wiki]


Jung, Carl
“Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is “by nature religious” and to explore it in depth. Though not the first to analyze dreams, he has become perhaps the most well known pioneer in the field of dream analysis. “[wiki]




“Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is an innovative form of psychodynamic psychotherapy. MBT has been designed for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), who suffer from disorganised attachment and allegedly failed to develop a mentalization capacity within the context of an attachment relationship. The major goals of MBT are: (1) better behavioral control, (2) increased affect regulation, (3) more intimate and gratifying relationships and (4) the ability to pursue life goals. This is believed to be accomplished through increasing the patient’s capacity for mentalization in order to stabilize the client’s sense of self and to enhance stability in emotions and relationships.”[wiki]


NHS Education for Scotland, the educational wing of NHS Scotland
The National Health Service, the publicly funded health service in the UK that covers physical and mental health. You can read more about the NHS and its history on the NHS website.
“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidance, sets quality standards and manages a national database to improve people’s health and prevent and treat ill health. NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health.”[Nice]



An NHS primary care trust (PCT) is a type of NHS trust, part of the National Health Service in England, that provides some primary and community services or commission them from other providers, and are involved in commissioning secondary care. Many PCTs are now calling themselves NHS and then the name of their geographical area to make it easier for local people to understand how the NHS is managed locally. Collectively PCTs are responsible for spending around 80% of the total NHS budget.”[wiki]
“The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication.
The pervasive developmental disorders are:

* Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), which includes atypical autism, and is the most common;
* Autism, the best-known;
* Asperger syndrome;
* Rett syndrome; and
* Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD).

The first three of these disorders are commonly called the autism spectrum disorders; the last two disorders are much rarer, and are sometimes placed in the autism spectrum and sometimes not.”[wiki]

“Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)/autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While those with it have some characteristics of disorders on the autistic spectrum, they don’t fit the diagnostic criteria of any of the other disorders thereon. While PDD-NOS shares similarities with autism, it tends to be milder. PDD-NOS is sometimes referred to as “atypical autism” by autism specialists. The boundaries between it and non-autistic conditions are not fully resolved.
In the proposed DSM-V, PDD-NOS would disappear, and be replaced by Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
“Primary Health Care Team – The doctors work in close contact with our Nurse Practitioner, practice nurses, district nurses, community midwives and health visitors. This is collectively known as the Primary Health Care Team.” – [Crossley Street Surgery]
A more in depth explanation is available on []
“Posttraumatic stress disorder (post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen acute stress response.” – [wiki]



“Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), previously called rational therapy and rational emotive therapy, is a comprehensive, active-directive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses on resolving emotional and behavioral problems and disturbances and enabling people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.” – [wiki]


Scottish Council for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education
“Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), often referred to as simply ‘solution focused therapy’ or ‘brief therapy’, is a type of talking therapy that is based upon social constructionist philosophy. It focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them to seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The therapist/counselor uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending to any moves towards it whether these are small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem.”[wiki]
“In order to be registered as a Chartered Clinical Psychologist in the UK, practitioners must satisfy the British Psychological Society (BPS) that they have completed an appropriate period of study and supervised practice. This usually amounts to the satisfactory completion of a three-year full time UK Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, accredited by the BPS. However, it was also possible for Clinical Psychologists who qualified outside the UK to apply for a ‘Statement of Equivalence in Clinical Psychology’ (SoE) through the BPS. This option was terminated in March 2009 when the BPS stopped offering the SoE to new applicants. “[]








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