Because this is a personal self-perception, identification or discovery over time, the ways in which a person describes his or her self-identification as a therianthrope vary considerably. Some therians pretend to carry physical traits of their animal in their human form. This is the case of the large black eyebrows or long nose of the lycanthropes. In the most sever forms, society would typically refers to them as freaks because of their unusual appearances.
Many who report such a scenario do such as personal experience, and do not claim to understand its cause or be sure of their interpretation. Different therians may believe that the reason for this feeling is psychological, mystical, spiritual, neurobiological, or metaphysical in nature, or the result of some combination of these or other factors.
The terms therian, therianthrope, and were are more or less interchangeable in the community, but there is a shift towards encouraging people to use the term "therian" instead of "were", to avoid confusion with the idea of fictional, mythological, or "hollywood" werewolves.