- The history of counselling and psychotherapy
The history of counselling and psychotherapy
Counselling and Psychotherapy theories were being developed during the beginning of the 20th century, however it is thought that the roots of this subject originated a long time before this. The most renowned work is that of Sigmund Freud (left) whose research into the human mind began in Vienna in 1881. He received training to become a neurologist and began working with patients who were classed as hysterical. Freud named his method psychoanalysis and continued to practice his theories until the 1930's.
Although Freud is thought of as the oldest psychological theorist, it was Franz Anton Mesmer, an 18th century physician who discovered animal magnetism (also known as mesmerism) and James Braid who developed hypnotherapy using inspiration from Mesmer's ideas. Hypnosis was a technique Freud adopted in his early work to treat mind disorders but then concentrated on developing his own theories after recognising that hypnotherapy was only a useful technique with certain problems. However Freud's work remains the most well known in recent times. Freud proposed the division of the mind into ego, superego and id. He also believed that infants pass through oral, anal and phallic stages and becoming 'stuck' in one of the phases could lead to disastrous consequences.
Carl Jung was a close colleague of Freud, but eventually split from Freud to pursue his own school of analytical psychology. His ideas are also widely recognised in recent times. Alfred Adler, Sandor Ferenczi, Karl Abraham and Otto Rank are other influential theorists who worked closely with Freud. Carl Jung, and other descendants of Freud's approach, focused heavily on psychodynamic theories.
The 1940's and 1950's marked an important expansion in the field of counselling. The US psychologist Carl Rogers (influenced by Alfred Adler and Otto Rank) established the person centred approach, which is at the heart of most current practice. The person centred approach is now listed under the 'humanistic' branch of psychotherapy. There are now thought to be three general types of psychological therapies; behavioural therapies, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies and humanistic therapies.
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