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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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Maladaptive: behaviour which compromises the normal adaptation and functioning of a person: for example, an action or activity performed in an irresponsible way.

Malinconia: a term used since ancient times to refer to profound sadness and depression. In Major Depression with melanconic manifestations the patient is incapable of feeling better for even one single moment when something positive occurs.

Mandala: geometrical symbols of Buddhist origin, which C. G. Jung suggested are representations of the psyche of the persons who created them.

Mania: an emotional state of intense but unjustified high spirits, presenting with a torrent of speech, flight of ideas, being easily distracted, grandiose projects and aimless activity undertaken with considerable impetus.

Maniacal control: an excessive need to control events, other people and everything within a subject’s psychological and physical environment.

Manifest content: in psychoanalysis, the term refers to the conscious and immediately evident content of dreams.

Masochism: a marked tendency to procure or increase sexual gratification by submitting others to painful or humiliating experiences. See also ‘Sadism’.

Megalomania: a paranoid delirium of grandeur in which an individual believes he/she is an important person or has to fulfil great ambitions or projects.

Mental retardation: a disorder that produces a level of intellectual functioning significantly below average, with concomitant deficits of adaptational functioning and with onset before age 18.

Metacognition: regulation of the processes of consciousness by means of choices regarding strategies, their control, and the verification, formulation and reformulation of plans for intervention.

Metamemory: the set of processes of management and control of operations performed by the memory.

Mobbing: a situation occurring in the workplace, in which a person suffers vexation from colleagues and/or supervisors and superiors through a variety of psychologically and physically coercive methods and restrictions. For example, taking away gratifying work and entrusting it to other colleagues, or through dequalifying an employee’s duties, which are reduced to simple tasks that procure little or no gratification. See ‘Stress and Work’.

Modelling: in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, a technique which allows for the gradual learning of a certain type of behaviour through observation and imitation of another person’s behaviour.

Moral anxiety: a type of anxiety experienced by the ego produced by moral restrictions and limitations imposed by the super-ego, which hinder the satisfaction of drives emerging from the Id.

Motivation: a dynamic factor underlying behaviour, which activates and directs an organism towards a goal.

MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory): one of the most widely-used tests for clinical/psychiatric screening. Used to identify personality, social and behavioural problems, it is frequently administered to evaluate the attitudes and any possible psychological or character/personality issues in candidates being screened prior to admission to the armed forces.

Multimodal therapy: introduced by Arnold Lazarus, multimodal therapy uses techniques from various approaches in an attempt to help patients achieve positive change.

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