Back to homepage

Getting the Hang of Psychobabble

Getting the Hang of Psychobabble


Getting the Hang of Psychobabble


Like other professionals, counselors speak their own language to communicate with members of their profession and to distinguish them as a unique group. They use certain psychiatric terms that may confuse individuals outside that group.


Psychobabble 101

Wikipedia defines psychobabble as a form of speech or writing that uses psychological jargon and expressions coined by health practitioners, researchers, and scholars. It is derived from the words “psychology” and “babble,” which means unintelligible or meaningless sounds. Although psychobabble is intended to create an impression of truth, it is often difficult to follow and may unnecessarily complicate a simple idea.

Many professionals often speak in psychobabble while performing therapeutic work and conveying observations about clients. However, those with little training in psychology may also use psychobabble in improper contexts or without truly understanding the meanings of the terms. We could blame it on the proliferation of self-help books that use diagnostic terms in the guise of aiding the general public on mental health without an actual diagnosis from a professional.


Psychobabble: Is It a Barrier to Counseling Services?

Legitimate members of the counseling field are concerned that psychobabble is doing a disservice to clients by becoming a barrier to clarity. When it is used to describe a serious health issue, people tend to dismiss the issue as not real. This can result in prejudice and loss of trust toward the profession, causing individuals not to seek treatment for actual conditions.

For example, parents may disregard the symptoms of child depression as just sadness, thinking their child will grow out of it. While other children of the same age may eventually outgrow sadness, your child’s depression can significantly impair his or her normal function if left untreated.

Psychobabble has also become a part of everyday conversation to describe life difficulties. People may say a friend is “bipolar” because of frequent mood swings, or may claim to have “OCD” if they like order and cleanliness. Many parents refer to their child’s bad behavior as “acting out,” when in reality there is an internal emotional struggle that needs to be diagnosed and evaluated by a specialist.

People receiving treatment for their psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues may be confused when professionals use psychobabble instead of discussing matters clearly and coherently. The language may interfere with an individual’s ability to understand the ongoing treatment. It may be beneficial for therapists or counselors to refrain from using psychobabble to ensure that people under their care have adequate understanding of any diagnosis given.


Demystifying Mental Health Practitioners

Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC, stands by its commitment to provide assistance to people seeking help for their psychological, emotional, and behavioral concerns. Help is available in a safe, caring, and nonjudgmental setting where independently contracted counselors wait to serve you.

In your search for the right therapist, you may find yourself deluged with multiple titles and labels. Don’t think this is a psychobabble tactic. Behind all those acronyms are real professionals with experience, training, and credentials. Although there are different professions in the mental health field, they are collectively known as “Mental Health Counselors.” They are often referred to interchangeably, but each one offers distinct services.


Knowing the specific differences between the professionals contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC, will guide you when it’s time to make a decision.

  • Psychiatrists: These are professional doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various psychiatric conditions. Since they have medical training, they are licensed to prescribe medications.

Due to a shortage of psychiatrists in the state of NC, they limit the first session to between 30 minutes and an hour, and subsequent meetings are shorter in duration—just enough time to oversee the client’s requirement for psychotropic medications.

  • Psychologists: With a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) in psychology, these experts have an average of five to seven years of education after receiving their bachelor’s degree. Licensed psychologists must have at least two years of supervised work and pass a national exam.

Those with PhDs specialize in clinical practice, research, training, and assessment, while PsyD holders have primary training in counseling, psychotherapy, and psychological testing. Unlike psychiatrists, however, psychologists cannot prescribe medicine.

  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW): These specialists hold a master’s degree in social work and have satisfied the licensing requirements of the state where they practice professionally. They must spend two years of work supervised by an LCSW and successfully pass an extensive licensure exam.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT): These professionals have graduate training in marriage and family therapy, and must have at least two years of clinical experience before taking the state licensing exam. They provide counseling within the context of marriage and family systems.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC): To become LPCs, these counselors must have either a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling and 3,000 hours of post-master’s experience. Passing the national counseling exam makes them licensed or certified to diagnose and treat psychological and emotional issues affecting individuals and families.


Seeking Help, Notwithstanding the Psychobabble Buzzwords

Maybe you find yourself confused by the terms “behavioral” and “mental.”  Although they appear to be synonymous, there is a distinction to be made. “Behavioral” denotes a person’s actions, while “mental” refers to one’s way of thinking. A post at Psychology Today states that there seems to be less stigma around the word “behavioral,” as it implies a positive, hopeful, and gentle reference, and that’s why it’s preferred over the word “mental” in many facilities.

The overall point is that counseling should be accessible even if you hear psychobabble jargon during the process. Being aware of and able to understand the language shared by those you choose to work with when you decide to get counseling will open doors that were closed before.

This may not be everything you need to know, but you may find it useful when you need help from a professional. When life becomes challenging and your feelings become difficult to handle, don’t hesitate to reach out to Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC for help. Whatever your concerns are, they will not be lost in translation. Call now to request an appointment.


Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
Insurance: BCBSTricare Prime/Select, Medicare and Cash
Credit Cards:  
Location: Pinehurst, NC

Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash
Credit Cards:  
Location: Pinehurst, NC

Counseling Information

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: 910-420-3600 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Other Contact Info

If you have a compliment, concern or comments please contact:

Contact Management: click here

If you need to speak specifically to the owner Click here and use our Contact Form

Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

45 Dowd Circle Suite 5
PinehurstNC 28374

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311