Deutsch: Einführend / Español: Introductorio / Português: Introdutório / Français: Introductif / Italiano: Introduttivo

Introductory in the psychology context refers to the initial phase or aspects of psychological study, teaching, or therapy that are designed to provide a foundational understanding of psychological concepts, theories, principles, and practices. This term encompasses the early stages of engagement with psychology, whether it be through academic coursework, the beginning sessions of therapy, or the initial exploration of psychological literature. The goal of introductory psychology is to lay the groundwork for deeper understanding, further study, and practical application of psychological knowledge.


Introductory psychology serves as the gateway for individuals to explore the vast field of psychology. It covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to, the history of psychology, basic theoretical approaches, research methods, and the study of behavior, mental processes, and emotional dynamics. In academic settings, introductory psychology courses are often among the first psychology classes taken by students, designed to spark interest and provide a comprehensive overview of the field.

In a therapeutic context, the introductory phase involves building rapport between the therapist and client, setting goals for therapy, and providing an overview of what the client can expect from the process. This phase is crucial for establishing trust, safety, and a mutual understanding of the therapeutic journey ahead.

Application Areas

The introductory aspects of psychology find their application across various domains:

  • Academic Learning: Introductory psychology courses are fundamental in undergraduate programs, offering students a broad overview and understanding of psychological concepts.
  • Therapeutic Settings: Initial sessions in therapy that set the stage for the therapeutic process, focusing on understanding the client's needs and outlining the framework of therapy.
  • Public Education: Outreach programs, workshops, and seminars aimed at the general public to raise awareness about mental health, well-being, and psychological support.

Well-Known Examples

Examples of introductory psychology applications include:

  • Textbooks: Works like "Psychology" by David G. Myers or "Introduction to Psychology" by James W. Kalat, which are widely used in academic settings.
  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): Online courses offered by platforms like Coursera, edX, or Khan Academy that provide accessible introductions to psychology.
  • Initial Therapy Sessions: The first one or two sessions between a therapist and a client, where the groundwork is laid for future work.

Treatment and Risks

In the context of psychology, the introductory phase is generally low risk, as it is about building foundational knowledge and understanding. However, in therapeutic settings, it's important for practitioners to be mindful of clients' vulnerabilities and ensure that the introductory phase is handled with care to foster a positive therapeutic relationship.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Foundational
  • Preliminary
  • Basic
  • Elemental


Introductory psychology is essential for establishing a broad understanding of psychological principles, theories, and practices. Whether in academic, therapeutic, or public education settings, the introductory phase is designed to engage, inform, and lay the foundation for deeper exploration and application of psychological knowledge. This initial engagement is pivotal for fostering interest, understanding, and a positive approach to psychology and mental health.