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All that fancy talk, spouted by lay people having boned up on their self-help literature. Used to try and explain the human condition.

The truth at the core is unfortunately obscured by the "pop-phenomena" status self-help has achieved.

According to A.Word.A.Day and the Columbia World of Quotations, the word "psychobabble" was coined in 1977 by journalist Richard Dean Rosen. He was originally referring to the way people in the San Francisco Bay Area spoke, using words from psychology without really getting their meanings straight, but later expanded the term.

Here is how Rosen describes the term in his book "Psychobabble: Fast Talk and Quick Cure in the Era of Feeling":

"Psychobabble is ... a set of repetitive verbal formalities that kills off the very spontaneity, candor, and understanding it pretends to promote. It's an idiom that reduces psychological insight to a collection of standardized observations, that provides a frozen lexicon to deal with an infinite variety of problems."
It's apparently also the name of a web game available at http://www.popcap.com/multiplayer.php?theGame=psychobabble, described as "like magnetic poetry, only with up to 11 other players. Hilarious sentence-scrambling fun for everyone!"

Sources: A.Word.A.Day 31 January 2002 and http://www.bartleby.com/66/27/47127.html

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