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The Use of Psychobabbles in Psychology Essay

The word psychobabble was coined and first used by R. D. Rosen, a journalist and an author, in 1975. The New Times Magazine then used the term as title of the cover story Psychobabble: The New Language of Candor. It was in 1977 though when the term gained popularity through the book entitled Psychobabble: Fast Talk and Quick Cure in the Era of Feeling published by Rosen. The book looks at the explosion of terminologies and treatments in psychology, whether in professional or non-professional scenes.

Psychobabble is defined in the book as a derogatory word signifying a technical jargon in psychology that is being used outside its original purpose. Some people might use a specific psychological term in a different context and without really knowing the word’s real meaning. In that case, a psychobabble is formed. This situation would just denote the speaker’s incapability of understanding the proper use of a certain psychological word or term.

However, in other cases, psychobabbles are perceived as jargon words denoting meanings beyond what scholars and trained practitioners accept. The frequent use of such psychobabbles can lead to the widespread exploitation of some psychological terms. Laypersons might use them to describe a thing inappropriate for the meaning of a psychological word. Worse, they might describe a non-clinical situation as a medical one, even if it is not. Today, psychobabbles are rampant in motivational seminars, management training, and popular psychology.

Examples of Psychobabbles Synergy The word synergy means the event that happens when two or more agents are combined and created an effect greater than what was expected. A person who knows and understand the effects of each agent can better predict their synergy. An example of this is drug synergism, where two or more drugs combined interact to augment the characteristics of their effects. In Psychology, synergy in drugs is often used. However, the word becomes a psychobabble when applied to humans.

In human synergy, two or more people interact to accomplish a bigger and greater goal. For example, if two carpenters combined their strengths, they will be able to finish a house bigger in a faster rate. Although synergy is not used in this manner frequently, still the word is becoming a layman’s term. Holistic The term refers to the thought that all components of a certain scheme or system should be taken as a whole thing and not separated from each other.

In psychology, holistic approach is being observed in psychosomatic medicine, where multiple factors are used to devise a systematic model for the psyche and the soma. Nowadays, the psyche and the soma are not seen as two separated entities but more of two interlinked units. In this manner, holistic approach is also commonly used in the context outside its original scientific meaning. Holistic is also being used in as part of the English vocabulary pertaining to a kind of systematized living where all aspects are connected: biological, psychological, and social way of living.

Abnormality In psychology, the term abnormality is often used to describe a condition that is perceived as rare and dysfunctional. Abnormal behaviors are given constant attention and study in the field of abnormal psychology. The criteria for abnormality are being subjected to studies based on scientific approach. Although the term purely connotes a psychological meaning, still abnormality becomes a layman’s term used to pertain to any unusual or strange characteristic of a person, a thing, an animal, or a situation or condition.


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