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Learn a few terms from Therapy 101

A NAMI contributor and mental health advocate raised a important question in a recent blog post: “If we all have mental health, shouldn’t we all learn about it?” Here are a few terms from Therapy 101 to help you reflect on and make tangible changes to improve your mental health. This is an adaptation and summary, but to read the full blog post by Shainna Ali, visit the NAMI blog.

Metacognition is ‘thinking about thinking,’ or having awareness about your own thoughts … you can work on your metacognition by exploring the impacts your thoughts have, where they come from, and if you wish to keep them as is or alter them.

Congruence is matching who you are on the inside with what values you convey … a congruent choice may likely bring you happiness, but an incongruent choice may cause discontent.

Dissonance is the discomfort that arises when there is a mismatch between your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Many times, we may experience dissonance, but do not recognize that the cause is the lack of congruence. We strive for consistency, and the lack thereof prompts psychological stressors.

Enmeshment is when blurred boundaries may exist in a relationship. One can become entangled and may find it difficult to differentiate between their thoughts, feelings, and values, and those of another person … to avoid enmeshment, take a step back and consider your sense of self: who you are, who influences you, and what aspects of your personality are ones you might want to change.

Projection occurs when you attribute your concerns with yourself to another person … this typically happens as a defense mechanism to protect the ego. It can be useful to tap into your emotional intelligence when someone triggers a negative emotion in you before reacting.

Schema is a combined system of categorizing new information. Schemas are flexible, especially in our early years, and develop as we expand our knowledge … while cognitive processes cause learning to be harder as we age, we know we can continue to learn throughout the course of our lives.

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