A Short Introduction to Psychotherapy is an accessible guide to the field for anyone embarking on training or simply interested in finding out more about psychotherapy. Mapping the development and dimensions of contemporary practice, the book explores the origins of psychotherapy; its applications in terms of modalities, settings and client populations; central theoretical concepts; the nature of training and career paths for qualified practitioners; and main critiques, both from within and outside psychotherapy. A team of well-known and highly-regarded contributors examine issues which have particular bearing on psychotherapy today.

An Historical Overview of Psychotherapy

An historical overview of psychotherapy

Early Views of Mental Illness

Since the earliest recording of human culture there has been evidence of human mental and emotional distress and also ways to explain and alleviate it. Responses have ranged from demonisation and execution to some form of ‘treatment’. Hippocrates in the third century bc considered that mental distress must have a physical cause. However, the predominant view in most cultures has been to define mental disturbance in terms of spiritual distress and the task of healing it has been seen as belonging to the realm of priests and of shamans who used trance states to effect emotional healing, for example through ‘soul retrieval’ (Ingerman, 1991).

The predominant Christian view of mental distress has been ...

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