In the modern world, psychotherapy is used in order to help a patient with his or her specific set of mental problems. Treatment techniques include experimental relationship building, dialogue and behavioral change. But who came up with the methods and practices associated with psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy dates back throughout the ages as far back as the ancient Greeks, who were the first to classify mental disorders as a medical condition. Before this revelation mental disorders were steeped in superstition. Any abnormal behavior was considered a sign of malevolent entities. After the fall of Rome, the old belief that the supernatural was involved began to rise again, resulting in torture to try to and obtain a confession from the demons. Even still, some enlightened physicians such as Paracelsus began supporting the idea of using psychotherapy to treat patients.

English psychiatrist Walter Cooper Dendy came up with the term psycho-therapeia in 1853. Sigmund Freud then revolutionized the field of psychotherapy with descriptions about unconscious, infantile sexuality, dreams and his model of the mind of humans. After extensive work with neurotic patients, Freud came to believe that mental illness was due to repressing thoughts and memories in the unconscious. He also felt that treatment should include listening to the patient talk about his or her problems, allowing the memories to surface and the symptoms to subside.

For over fifty years, Freud’s methods and practices were mainly practiced in the field of psychotherapy. With the growth of American psychology, new instances of active therapy treatments came about.

Behavior therapy, which helps treat emotional and behavioral problems, provides much more of an emphasis on a person’s thoughts and feelings. As such, this has become a major type of treatment for a large variety of different psychiatric conditions.

In the 1940s, Carl Rogers focused on offering genuine acceptance as part of his interpersonal therapy. By the time the 1970s had arrived, over sixty different varieties of psychotherapy had been adapted. Psychotherapy is now used worldwide to treat patients suffering from various mental disorders.

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