Psychology and Methods

The information and definitions below are intended to make our community more aware of the different disorders, illnesses, and symptoms. It is also here to inform you of some basic definitions of psychological terminology that you may come across when seeking or participating in psychotherapy.


Types of Psychology | Types of PsychotherapyLearning and Development | Clinical Terms

Types of Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

the study of cognitive/mental processes such as memory, perception, thinking, language, problem solving and creativity

Clinical Psychology

the study of diagnosis, research and treatment of psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders

Counseling Psychology

the study of facilitation of interpersonal and individual functioning across domains in an individuals life

School Psychology

applied educational, developmental clinical and community psychology in a school setting, with a focus on behavioral analysis to meet the needs of schools, children and adolescents

Developmental Psychology

the study of human development over the lifespan

Education Psychology

the study of the psychology of learning

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

the study of human behavior in the work place

Health Psychology

the study of psychological processes in health, illness and the healthcare system


the study and understanding of the brain and nervous system and its connections to cognitions and behaviors

Social psychology

the study of how thoughts feelings and behaviors are influenced by society and the presence of others

Types of Psychotherapy and Treatments

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Insight-oriented therapy which focuses on unconscious processes and their manifestation in current thinking and behavior. The goal is an increased understanding of past and current influences on the individual’s personality and its relation to behavior and cognition

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

The original form of psychotherapy, which typically takes place multiple times per week. The focus is on unconscious processes and childhood, or past experiences, as well as current experiences and their effects on the personality, behavior and cognition of the individual

Gestalt Therapy

Existential and experiential therapy that focuses on personal responsibility and individuals present experiences, social contexts and social adaptations made by an individual

Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy

a treatment that works to solve problems by changing maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving, usually with an emphasis conscious processes

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Treatment to decrease emotional dysregulation, self-harm, suicidal ideation or substance abuse. This often includes group work, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioral techniques. Most frequently used in the treatment of severe Borderline Personality Disorder

Group Therapy

Therapy of varying disciplines with one or more therapist and a group of patients or clients, typically with similar disorders or issues

Substance abuse treatment

treatment aimed at decreasing or eradicating substance use and abuse


Treatment based on hypnosis to create behavior and cognition on a subconscious level, contemporary uses are most common in substance and food addictions

Some Clinical Terms


When a disorder is frequently diagnosed along-side another disorder, such as an eating disorder with major depressive disorder

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5)

the manual most frequently used by mental health professionals to diagnose and categorize psychological disorders


any talk based treatment provided with the purpose of improving someone’s psychological well-being

Licensed Psychologist

A mental health professional who has earned either a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. (Doctoral Level) in the field of psychology

Social Worker

A mental health professional who has earned an LCSW, MSW or Ph.D. in Social Work (Masters or Doctoral Level).

Mental Health Counselor

A mental health professional who has earned a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling


A medical practitioner (MD) with a specialization in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness

Learning and Development


Long-Term Memory

how the brain stores, manages and retrieves information

Short-Term Memory

working memory, or the information that is immediately accessible i.e. 5-9 unique digits such as a phone number

Declarative Memory

explicit memory, or conscious retrieval of information

Semantic Memory

principles and facts recalled independent of context

Episodic Memory

memories related to sensations, emotions or personal associations

Procedural Memory

implicit memory, primarily related to motor skills, this memory that is automatic and does not require conscious recall, such as riding a bicycle.


Positive punishment

presentation of a negative consequence after an undesired behavior i.e. a teacher moves a child’s seat after talking too much in class.

Negative punishment

removal of stimulus following undesirable behavior (classic punishment) i.e. a child is not allowed to watch TV because he did not do his homework.

Positive reinforcement

reward for a desired behavior i.e. giving a child a sticker for completing their homework

Negative reinforcement

the removal of negative stimulus following desired behavior i.e. parent stops nagging the child after homework is complete

Extinction burst

a temporary increase in an undesirable behavior that occurs when reinforcement is removed i.e. a child’s tantrums will worsen before they improve when a parent ignores them.

Behavior Modification

The systematic use of principles of learning to increase the frequency of desired behaviors and/or decrease the frequency of problem behaviors

Functional Behavioral Assessment

an assessment performed by a trained professional to determine the frequency, duration, intensity and quality typically of a behavior of a school-aged individual

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve behavior


Parenting Practices

specific parenting behaviors based on parenting goals or desired child behaviors.

Authoritarian Parenting

rigid and strict parenting with the expectation that children follow parent-set rules. Breaking of such rules often results in punishment. Encourage children to obey without explanation. The children typically rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.

Authoritative Parenting

more democratic style parenting, that involves rules and guidelines but involve supportive rather than punitive responses. Encourage child’s assertiveness and social responsibility. The children are typically happy, capable and successful.

Permissive Parenting

indulgent parenting, which makes very little demands of children. Discipline is rare and have relatively low expectations of maturity and or self control Children are more likely to experience problems with authority.

Uninvolved Parenting

makes few demands on the children with responsiveness and little communication. Parents fulfill child’s basic needs but are detached. In extreme cases parents are rejecting or neglectful. Children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem.

Social Psychology

Social Learning Theory

The learning theory that stresses the role of observation and the imitation of behaviors observed in others.

Social Norms

rules of behavior that are considered acceptable to the group or to society.


the process by which children and adults learn from one another

Social Support

the perception that one is cared for, has assistance, resources and support from other people or groups


shame or related disgrace or dishonor associated with a certain quality, circumstance or person i.e. mental health stigma, shame associated with schizophrenia


prejudice or discrimination directed towards someone of a specific race based on the belief that ones own race is superior


prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination based on biological sex

Intelligence and Functioning

Intelligence Quotient

A score derived from a standardized test that was designed to measure intelligence, or cognitive functioning (Average=100, Standard Deviation 15)

Learning Disability

a condition resulting in difficulties acquiring knowledge and skills expected at a certain level of development

Intellectual Disability

A neurodevelopment disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning present before age 18

Social Intelligence

the ability to have to get alone well with others and to form cooperative relationships



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