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PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY GLOSSARY

The glossary/dictionary that you can find in this section of our site gathers all the technical terms that are currently used in psychology and psychotherapy. Each term presents a brief and clear description.


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Fabulation [or confabulation] (cfr. Lat. ‘fabulor’, to tell stories, to discuss, to tell lies): a mental disturbance of thought. In psychiatry, the disorder is found in certain cases of delirium, in mythomania and in Korsakov’s Syndrome (psychosis).

Fading: in behaviour therapy, the term indicates a learning procedure based on stimuli which progressively provide less and less help to a subject, with the purpose of stabilizing learned responses.

Familial pattern (in relation to a pathological condition): a term used to indicate the degree of occurrence of a disorder within a family. A disorder that affects a number of members of the same family presents a high family pattern.

Fixation: in psychoanalysis, a psychic phenomenon engendered when a drive or instinctual element fails to follow the process of normal maturation; on account of developmental inhibition, the individual remains at an infantile stage.

Formal operational stage (Piaget): the third stage (of a total of 4) of mental development as formulated by jean Piaget. In this stage, formerly isolated mental actions become coordinated and interconnected. During this stage a child is capable of comprehending concrete operations and the concept of ‘reversibility’, in such a manner that for every action there exists a corresponding inverse action. This stage lasts from age 7 to age 12 approximately.

Flooding: in behaviour therapy, a procedure which consists in exposing a phobic person to feared stimuli for increasingly extended periods of time, with the purpose of extinguishing the reaction of fear.

Free association: a technique adopted by Freud and used in psychoanalytical therapy. The method consists in asking a patient to refer, with no omission, everything that comes to mind during the therapy session concerning dreams, fantasies and memories as stimulated by the therapist through the use of certain words.

Frontal lobe: the upper frontal area of each cerebral hemisphere. Active in reasoning processes and in other superior activities of the mind.

Frotteurism: a paraphilia (sexual perversion) involving touching and rubbing against a non-consenting partner with one’s genitals.

Frustration: the absence of gratification of a desire or the impeded satisfaction of a need. This psychological state occurs when an obstacle blocks fulfilment of an individual’s aims or desires.

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