Deutsch: Beschleuniger / Español: Acelerante / Português: Acelerador / Français: Accélérateur / Italiano: Accelerante

Accelerant in the psychology context refers to any factor, condition, or stimulus that significantly speeds up or intensifies a psychological process, reaction, or change. This term is often used to describe elements that can rapidly enhance the development of certain mental states, behaviors, or therapeutic outcomes.


In psychology, an accelerant might be an event, an environmental condition, a piece of information, or a therapeutic technique that catalyzes rapid change or development within an individual's mental or emotional state. For instance, a positive feedback loop can serve as an accelerant in boosting a person's self-esteem, while certain therapeutic interventions can accelerate the process of healing and recovery from trauma.

Application Areas

Accelerants play a crucial role in various areas within psychology, including:

  • Therapeutic Settings: Utilizing specific techniques or interventions designed to expedite emotional healing or cognitive restructuring.
  • Behavioral Psychology: Identifying conditions or stimuli that rapidly influence behavior change, such as reinforcement schedules that accelerate learning.
  • Developmental Psychology: Understanding how certain experiences or environmental factors can fast-track cognitive or emotional development in children and adolescents.

Well-Known Examples

Examples of accelerants in psychology include:

  • Exposure therapy for phobias, where controlled exposure to the feared object or situation can accelerate the process of overcoming the fear.
  • Positive reinforcement used in behavior modification, where rewards for desired behaviors can quickly establish those behaviors.
  • Critical life events, such as the loss of a loved one, which can accelerate personal growth or changes in perspective.

Treatment and Risks

While accelerants can be beneficial in promoting rapid progress, there are risks associated with their use. Accelerating psychological processes without adequate support or preparation can lead to increased stress, anxiety, or even a backlash effect, where the individual resists the change. It is crucial to apply accelerants within a supportive and controlled environment, ensuring that the individual is ready and able to cope with rapid changes.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Catalyst
  • Stimulus
  • Enhancer
  • Facilitator


In the psychology context, an accelerant refers to anything that significantly speeds up or intensifies psychological processes, behaviors, or therapeutic outcomes. Whether in therapy, behavior change, or developmental growth, accelerants can be powerful tools for facilitating rapid progress. However, their application must be managed carefully to avoid potential negative effects, ensuring that individuals are supported throughout the process of accelerated change.


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