A Psychologist's Dictionary

I found this in a little booklet titled “A Psychologist's Dictionary — defining scientific and technical terms chosen for their usefulness to those members of the learned professions who practise forensically.” My copy was the second edition 1980 revised and enlarged copyright © 1980 Maurice Whitta and Associates.

Maurice Whitta and Associates were a firm of Psychologists whose office was in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. I can no longer track them, to see whether they object to me using their copyrighted material. Given that they are not a firm of lawyers I took the liberty. In any one knows how to contact Mr Whitta I would be pleased to hear from them.


ABSENTMINDEDNESS
When your mind's gone inside to try to work out somehow just what you're supposed to be doing now.
ACCESS
Means of getting at or to something or someone. Hence Access Case: a means of getting at one's spouse under guise of getting to one's child. See also Child Custody Case.
ACCIDENT
Usually “my accident”. A new cause for all the plaintiff's old symptoms.
ACUPUNCTURE
Pin-pricking turned to advantage.
ACUPUNCTURIST
The one who gets the advantage.
ADJUSTMENT
When you come to believe that being tense all the time is one of your assets.
ADULTERY
Learning to love your spouse by practising with someone else.
ADVANCING YEARS
That time of life when a man wants his new calendar to have big numbers instead of big girls.
ALCOHOLIC
One who's invisible at a party.
ALIENIST
(obs) Psychiatrist, so called from the practice of taking a lien on patients by keeping them in the psychiatrist's own hospital. Sometimes mistakenly derived from a Latin word meaning unsympathetic.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY
A wholly objective account of the writer's own life. as “I Am Joe's Adrenal Gland”.
BALANCE SHEET
Accounting summary produced yearly or more often†, purporting to show the true financial standing of an enterprise. So called from its being a balance between what the directors want to claim and what they think will be believed.
In quasi-autonomous non-government authorities, produced every five years or so, or so.
BARRATOR
In USA synonymous with a barrister who acts for plaintiffs in suits for damages. In Australia applicable to hardly anyone who so acts.
CARRION EATER
Animal who feeds on bodies killed by predators or disease. By extension, one whose living comes from those in trouble. Like the jackal and the vulture, the term covers a lot of country.
CENSORSHIP
A form of sadism (see Sadist) in which the censor gets pleasure by denying to others the films, books, or other items which sexually excite him.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
One of the mental defence mechanisms. Used to avoid Shock Treatment (see later).
CHARACTER BUILDING
As in “I make Joe a Man”, vague work undertaken by certain schools who can give no account of their methods and blame their failures on the children.
CHARLATAN
Practitioner beside whose efforts one's own seem timid and unprofitable.
CHILD CUSTODY CASE
Dispute in which one parent, sometimes each of them, hacks their child into handy pieces and pelts the other with them.
CHIROPRACTOR
A man who puts your back into making his pile.
COMMONSENSE
What you can say you have to make up for the low IQ they say you have.
COMPULSION, INNER
A temptation you're not going to resist.
CONCEIT
Ridiculously exaggerated estimate of one's own worth or powers, exemplified by the remark of the rat in the celebrated story of the rat, the elephant, and the coconut tree.
CONSCIENCE
The still small voice within - understandably seldom heard.
CONVERSATION
The vice of idly questioning strangers at parties when all they are interested in is getting back to the original meaning of the word by way of dancing and chatting the girls.
COUNSELLING
Nagging without the formality of marriage.
CRIME
A step to achieving your gaol.
DEBTOR, OVERDUE
How you appear in someone else's books.
DEBTS, PAYING
A gentleman shows his breeding by always arranging to be promptly paid but not hurrying to pay what he owes. Hurry would hint that he believed his creditors to be in difficulties. By keeping his money in his pocket he spares their pride. He also saves money. The councillors of Hamelin got rid of their rats and kept their gilders too, while their insistent creditor the Piper was saddled with a lot of useless screaming kids.
DECISION
The mental act by which you stop fussing over what to do and start worrying that you've done the wrong thing.
DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
Passing hard and unpleasant tasks on to juniors so they will be toughened and learn to be seniors. Tasks especially fit for delegating are dealing with complaints of poorly-served clients, explaining to creditors that a cheque is in the post and later explaining that the post must have been delayed, breaking to clients the news that their file has been lost, and the like.
DOCTOR
A title taken by dentists.
DOCUMENT EXCHANGE
A message parlour.
DRUGS
Fly now. pay and pay and pay later.
DRUNKENNESS
A state which arises from drinking amounts of alcohol so great that hardly anyone ever reaches it: “I had been drinking but I was not drunk.” Counted an aggravation of any crime committed by rough fellows, but a mitigation of any misdemeanour by gentlemen in evening clothes.
DYING
The annoying business that makes you miss what happens next.
EGO
A means of transport, something like a one-man loveboat.
EGO TRIP
A voyage to view the glories of oneself.
EMERGENCY
Magic word by which blunder or oversight is turned into an act of God. A kindness by which the blame you should get for the blunder is turned into praise for dealing with the emergency.
ENGLISH
Taught as a foreign language in our schools and sometimes spoken in our courts.
EQUALITY
What you want to share with your betters.
EROGENEOUS ZONES
Areas where people are easily sexually stimulated. eg Lovers' Lane, Rottnest Island, Raincoat Cinema.
“EVERYONE TELLS ME THEIR PROBLEMS”
I'm a sticky-beak.
EVIDENCE
Whatever tends to support as fact what otherwise seems an unlikely proposition: “Evidence shows that Austpost is giving better service than ever before”, even though letters now take two days to travel from Brighton to Hawthorn instead of the six hours they used to take.
EXHIBITIONIST
A pessimistic peddler who exposes to the public what no one would ever buy.
FAILURE
1. The easiest career to retire from.
2. A man who's arrived without getting anywhere.
FEE
The monetary reward of one's services, roughly in proportion to their worth. Other practitioners charge very high fees while one's own are always moderate.
FRIEND
(esp. GOOD) One who's always there when he needs you.
FRIGID
What a girl must be if she doesn't fancy you.
HIGH IQ
A psychologist's mistake in arithmetic.
HYPOCHONDRIAC
A man who thinks every heart attack is going to be his last.
IDENTITY CRISIS
Painful doubt as to just who you are. What you go through when you try to cash a cheque far from home.
IMMATURE
Different from me.
INCEST
Illegal try at strengthening family ties.
INEVITABLE
What takes a lot of planning and hard work.
INFERIORITY COMPLEX
What you suffer from when you aren't sure enough of yourself to realise you're in an identity crisis.
INHIBITIONS
What you have too many of and other people don't seem to have enough of.
INSANE
Synonym for mad used by people who think three-letter words are obscene.
INTERCOURSE
A name it was very wrong of that explorer to give to that bay on the WA coast.
LOGIC
The tool of the factless.
LOSS OF MIND
As in “He's lost his mind!” Result of carelessness with small possessions.
LOW BACK PAIN
Alternatively “low threshold of pain”. Both misnomers as they refer not to the back but to the human nose as a means of sniffing out damages: a good nose for money.
MAD DOCTOR
(obsolete colloquial) Psychiatrist.
MARRIAGE
What keeps up your faith in divorce.
MASOCHIST
One who gets pleasure from suffering: someone who gives a party in their own home.
MATURE
Just like you.
MIRROR
The portrait of your true love.
MISTAKE, MAKING A
The only sure way of getting attention.
NARCISSISM
Love of oneself, hence strong and undying love .
NARCISSIST
One who shuns hot showers because they cloud the mirror.
NEGATIVE PERSONALITY
One who enters a room giving a strong impression that someone has just left.
NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
Utter collapse of capacity to cope. Busy people have them about once a day for two minutes. Less busy people have them once or twice a lifetime, for years and years and years.
NEUROTIC
One who goes to a party so as not too enjoy himself.
NOSE
1. Important instrument of communication through which many people talk.
2. Major organ of perception by which we get information on what's happening around us; according to Bierce “It starts between the eyes and ends in someone else's business”.
NUISANCE
A client who hasn't had the best of your service.
NUISANCE VALUE
The only value some of us have.
OLD SCHOOL FRIEND
Someone you meet again in later life whose behaviour convinces you that you went to the wrong school.
OMNISCIENCE, DELUSIONS OF
The strong belief that one knows everything. The job hazard of magistrates and journalists.
OPINION
Prejudice or guesswork, solemnly expressed.
OPINION, EXPERT
The speculative remarks of a man who thinks no one present knows enough to challenge him.
OPPORTUNIST
One who gets into mischief while you're only thinking about it.
OPTIMIST
An inexperienced person.
PATIENCE
The capacity to put up with people you'd rather put down.
PAVLOV
A name that rings bells. Or makes you drool.
PERVERT
Someone more imaginative than you.
PESSIMIST
1. One who burns his bridges before he comes to them.
2. An optimist with more information.
PHOBIA
Irrational fear of some situation or happening which most people consider harmless or unlikely. Examples: brontophobia (rare), fear of meeting a brontosaurus; alpophobia, fear that Labor will get in; Benchley's phobia, fear that one's knees will bend backwards.
PREFRONTAL LOBOTOMY
(obsolete) A short cut to mental health.
PSYCHIATRIST
The doctor you cling to when you break down and scorn when he tells you how to avoid doing it again.
PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORT
A strangely mixed document setting out the simple truths about your strengths and baseless libels on your supposed weaknesses.
PSYCHOLOGIST'S DILEMMA
If you agree with his opinion, he's told you nothing you didn't know. If you disagree he's wrong. Ergo, he's either useless or incompetent.
RAT
Aggressive thieving creature much used in psychological and medical experiments as being the animal most like man.
REASONABLE MAN
One whose opinions match your prejudices.
REASONABLE WOMAN
One who does just what a man wants her to, with no Woman's Lib nonsense about rights and equality.
SADIST
Beats me.
SCHOOL
The mouse race that gets kids ready for the rat race.
SERIOUSLY
How the psychologist is expected to take his clients, and how no client ever takes him.
SEX
Much-talked-about but seldom-seen activity, popular because so centrally located.
SEX EDUCATION
Important part of human rearing formerly done by parents. Now passed to schools, who do it as well as they teach reading and writing, so that the population boom is over.
SEX OFFENDER
A man braver than you. No woman is ever a sex offender; this is an example of male discrimination against women.
SHOCK TREATMENT
Client's reaction to your professional fees.
SLOW LEARNER
Unintelligent child of well-to-do parents. Other parents have morons.
SNOB
One who knows it takes all kinds to make a world and is happy he's not one of them.
SUCCESSFUL MAN
One with an astonished mother-in-law.
SWEET REASON
Tiny pink flower some people plant as a border round their prejudices.
TAKEOVER
Slang for 'merger', come into use because legislation is likely to take over a century to catch up. The ancient game of bandits and burgesses, played at least since the founding of Sumer; the fall of Jericho is a late example. Bandits ride around the burgh or company, making grabbing noises, while the stodgy burgesses or incumbent directors hang on frantically to what they've got. The “murdoch”, or takeover-feint, is just as old. Bandits wanting not possession with all the wearing cares of government, but a quick cash profit, make such noises that panic among the burgesses results in their being bought off. See Danegeld. In the suburbs a bid to take over is known as “pestering my wife”, or “trying to get off with my girl”, and fosters fighting on Saturday nights at the Fawkner Club.
TAX AVERSION
1. The feeling of not wanting to pay income tax.
2. The borderland between tax avoidance and tax evasion.
See Industry, Government-sponsored.
TEMPTATION
A solicitor's trust account.
TIME SENSE
The ability to see that half an hour is a morning and charge fees accordingly.
TRAINED PSYCHOLOGIST
One who can do tricks, such as balancing a ball on his nose or sitting up to beg.
TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
You've said it to yourself so many times.
TRAVEL
Moving from place to place on the hypothesis that what's outside one's head is more interesting than what's inside it. For most people the hypothesis seems valid.
TRUTH
According to Pilate indefinable and thus rarely used.
UNPOPULAR
They have your farewell party after you've left.
“WE JUST CAN'T COMMUNICATE”
I just can't dominate him.
WHIPLASH
An alternative to winning Tattslotto.
WIGS
Part of the dress of judges and barristers in our courts and a picturesque reminder of the importance and long history of these professions. Traditionally grey horsehair, legal wigs are now usually made in nylon and almost white. Of late their prestige has led to a fashion of expert witnesses wearing them in orange, yellow, henna, and burnt sienna, under the name of 'undetectable hairpieces'.
YOGA
Ways to get a healthy mind in a bent body.
YOURSELF
The only thing you're really qualified to be.
YOUTH
That time of life when you want to change the world. Leads to middle age, when you want to change youth.
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