Funder by the Department of Human Services Auspiced by Our Community

Language Matters at Our Consumer Place

Language is hugely powerful, and so we believe it's worth paying attention to it!

This section of our website is rapidly expanding, so stay tuned!

"Psychobabble: the Little Red Book of Psychiatric Jargon"

Psychobabble has been put together by Merinda Epstein at Our Consumer Place in response to a demand from people diagnosed with 'mental illness' for a collection of psychiatric jargon, acronyms and what we think are some of the silly expressions used in psychiatry - it's our take on the words used by them (and sometimes us) about us.

While some of the explanations are provided simply to define terms and acronyms that people are very confused about, Psychobabble is also an attempt to provide a consumer perspective on concepts that many people (including some clinicians and consumers) haven't thought through or may be happy to leave as they are.

Of course, some parts of Psychobabble are also about having a light-hearted spray at the pontification and judgements made about us - consumers - by some clinicians and medical researchers. We don't believe that such a publication, written from a consumer perspective, has been produced in Australia before. Although Psychobabble is based on Victorian bureaucratic language, experience tells us that many of the words and explanations are transferable interstate and internationally.

We want others to contribute to this work. Please send your ideas, disagreements, reinterpretations, silly stuff, acronyms, and new bureaucratic-speak to Merinda at Our Consumer Place (

Download a copy here (1.4MB).

Our language choices

We have consciously chosen to use some particular words in this website that may be unfamiliar to you. Here, we try to be clear about our language choices.