Cheat Sheet for Commonly Used Therapy Abbreviations

Let’s face it  many medical terms are very long and difficult to say. When writing patient reports or conversing with other medical professionals, it can be much easier to use an abbreviation or an acronym to reference these terms. 

Of course, it’s not typically wise to work shorthand into conversations with patients and their families. In this case, it’s best to use the full term, along with a description of what it means. 

However, if you’re only taking notes for your own reference or are communicating with your peers, feel free to use shortened versions. In fact, your colleagues are likely already doing this.

Use this guide to familiarize yourself with common therapy abbreviations. 

  • ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 
  • CAT: Cognitive Analytic Therapy 
  • CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • CFT: Compassion Focused Therapy 
  • CMT: Concentrative Movement Therapy 
  • DNMS: Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy 
  • DBT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy 
  • ECT: Electroconvulsive Therapy 
  • EFT: Emotionally Focused Therapy 
  • EFT: Emotional Freedom Therapy 
  • EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing 
  • ERP: Exposure and Response Prevention 
  • FAP: Functional Analytic Psychotherapy 
  • IBP: Integrative Body Psychotherapy 
  • ISTDP: Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy 
  • IFS: Internal Family Systems Model 
  • MBCT: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy 
  • MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 
  • MBT: Mentalization-Based Treatment 
  • MDT: Mode Deactivation Therapy 
  • MI: Motivational Interviewing 
  • PCIT: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy 
  • PCT: Person-Centered Therapy 
  • PE: Prolonged Exposure Therapy 
  • REBT: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy 
  • SFBT: Solution Focused (Brief) Therapy 
  • SDT: Status Dynamic Psychotherapy 
  • TFP: Transference Focused Psychotherapy 

Benefits of Knowing Therapy Abbreviations in Your Job Search 

When searching for a new behavioral health job, it’s always wise to sharpen your industry knowledge. Keeping up with the latest news and innovations impacting the field is a must because you need to present your best self to interviewers. 

Having a sharp knowledge of therapy abbreviations will make you look polished and professional. Here’s what you have to gain by studying up on these terms. 

Better Understand Job Descriptions 

Job descriptions are written for behavioral health positions, so it’s not uncommon for them to contain therapy abbreviations. Hiring managers assume anyone reading these descriptions will know what they mean  and rightfully so. If you don’t understand them, you might not fully grasp what the job entails.  

Don’t Get Lost in an Interview 

During a job interview, it’s very likely the hiring manager will use abbreviations to discuss the position. If you don’t understand what they’re talking about, you won’t be able to provide a proper response. This will hurt your chances of getting the job because no one wants to hire a professional who doesn’t speak the language. 

Impress the Hiring Manager  

Show the interviewer you know the lingo by working abbreviations into your response. This will make you look like a well-versed professional who understands these shorthand terms like the back of your hand. Taking the time to learn these terms shows your commitment to the field.  

Contact Us Today

Finding the right opportunity for your skills and interests can be a challenge. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at 

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