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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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T.A.T (Thematic Apperception Test): an instrument of the projective type developed by Murray. Composed of a series of drawings, about which a subject should construct a story, which he/she has invented on the spur of the moment. After Rorschach’s inkblot test, the TAT is the most widely-used projective test and the object of many studies and research.

Temperament: the complex of individual, biologically-based differences that can be detected in behaviour, which appears at a very early age and remains relatively stable over time and in different situations.

Temporal lobe: a vast area of the cerebral hemispheres situated in front of the occipital lobe and below it. Active in auditory projection and associative processes.

Thanatos: in psychoanalysis, this term refers to the death instinct. According to Freud, this drive underlies self-destructive behaviour typical of various psychic disorders, including the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, in which the patient feels obliged to obsessively repeat certain actions. The opposite of Eros.

Theory of mind: a typically human capacity to understand and reflect on one’s own state of mind and on that of other people, and also on one’s personal perceptions and those of others in such a manner as to be able to predict one’s behaviour and that of other people around us.

Trait (personality trait): a significant and relatively stable factor of the personality. See also ‘State’.

Trance: a psychophysiological state which can be induced by hypnosis and is characterised by phenomena such as insensibility to external stimuli and an attenuation of consciousness. See ‘Hypnosis’ and ‘Hypnotherapy’.

Transactional Analysis: a psychological theory and therapeutic approach invented by Eric Berne in the 1950s.

Transference: in psychoanalysis, a mechanism by means of which each individual tends to project and transfer mental schemes and thought patterns deriving from a significant former relationship onto a person with whom the subject is involved at the present time. For example, a patient might relate to a male therapist in the same way he/she would with his/her father.

Tree test (Baum test): a test produced by K. Koch belonging to the category of projective tests, which aims at obtaining a description of the personality on the basis of a drawing of a tree made by the subject examined. Over the years, a large quantity of literature has accumulated concerning this technique, now providing more stable and objective elements of interpretation.

Trichotillomania: a disorder in which a subject recurrently tears out his/her body hair and which eventually results in a considerable loss of the same. Any part of the body which is covered by hair may be involved in the phenomenon, but the most common sites are the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.


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