Origin of Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy has been a huge part of our battle against mental illnesses from a long time ago to present. It is the cornerstone to treat disorders spanning from the mental and emotional genre. With importance and the need to address and provide solutions for sufferers of mental conditions, psychotherapy has evolved throughout the years of its existence.

Humans have the tendency to succumb to their thoughts and worries, not discounting the lack of a path to follow in their lives. With an explorative mindset, and tools available to us, we can then move forward in our journey to recovery. To believe in the healing process requires the acts of aid to be a solid pillar of support for these sufferers. It is not only important for the treatments to work the way intended, but also important that these people seeking help adopt an open and brave attitude to reach their goal of fixing themselves.


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Psychotherapy is the skill of treating mental conditions with the use of verbal interaction, to encourage sufferers to open up to their therapists through communication, paving the way forward to identify and potentially solve their conditions. Psychotherapy has been and is still relevant in its success, due to the fact that once someone expresses themselves to a professional completely, or at least of a significant level, they are less trapped in their own bubble, and are without a doubt ready for personal change through the act of counselling and mental support.


History Of Psychotherapy And Some Of Its Pioneers

There are many pioneers of psychotherapy that pushed for its existence with vigour to help the people in need. These engineers of the craft existed many years before our present time, and set the pace for the evolution of psychotherapy. They have set the foundation on which psychotherapy is built on, creating an inclining level and success of the treatment which stays relevant even up till today.


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Purposeful and theoretically based psychotherapy was developed during the 9th century in the Middle East, by Rhazes. He was a psychological thinker and is looked upon as the founding father of psychology and psychotherapy. His work and contributions to medicine and treatment not only included psychotherapy, but also general medicine treatments, which included physical ailments like small pox, measles, and meningitis. He believed that to progress in medicine and treatment, one had to be in tune with their goals, and study their cases with passion and purpose. He was an advocate of the fact that not every highly-trained or educated doctor could cure every illness. Instead, to contribute to their cause well, these professionals need to expand their knowledge to a point where it gave them the proper insight into their tasks of healing people.



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There’s the familiarity of the word “mesmerise”. This came about because of the physician named Franz Anton Mesmer, who lived between the years 1734 and 1815. The well-known trait about Franz was that he pioneered the use of hypnotherapy to treat psychological problems and conditions. “Mesmerising” means to “capture one’s complete attention, as if by magic.” He coined this term as mentioned, due to his then unique way of practice to treat his patients. He made his patients consume high doses of iron, and used magnets to “balance” their bodily structure to eventually fix their illnesses. Although this practice was not received well by fellow practitioners of medicine and psychotherapy, it was a stepping stone to push the idea forward that psychological problems are not to be overlooked, and any, if not every form of treatment is necessary for mental stability in individual sufferers. He eventually dropped his magnetic practice, and was caught up in the idea that he had powers in him which he could use on his patients. Although as farfetched as it may have seemed, his treatment involved ceremonious acts in group sessions which ties him forward to group therapy sessions in present day.

Philippe Pinel practiced during the same period as Franz. He was a catalyst and a founding individual who promoted the use of psychiatry for a more humane treatment to sufferers of mental conditions. He renounced the thinking that psychological or mental problems were linked to the existence of demonology, magic, and the supernatural. He took a forefront standing against inhumane treatment of mental conditions, like the use of chains and whips, and even complete forced solitude for the sufferers.


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Quite some time before Pinel’s work was documented, Ancient Greek physicians in the 5th Century BC came up with rational solutions for mental illnesses. One by the name of Alcmaeon of Croton was prominent in this practice. He came up with the notion of the brain being the centre of intelligence, and cited brain pathology as the trigger for mental problems. He acted upon his belief that a physician should never implement actions of harm and trauma for his patients. He contributed to the present standing of psychiatric treatment, in his words, “whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men … I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets,” which stays relevant as part of the relationship between physicians and patients. Pinel re-invented psychiatry with this cause in mind, and was later during the 19th century brought forward by Aristotle’s theory on mental health, which built itself on the theory that there Is a prominent influence of social environment on the term psychopathology.



The practice of psychotherapy stems from many years ago, and is still refining itself presently. With insight into the past predecessors of this craft, practitioners are given the opportunity to learn and grow with their passion for helping those in need. Without knowing what or who came before them, it’s difficult to find a balance between personal mindset approaches and proven theories. People with mental disorders rely on their own mental strength to begin fixing what they are experiencing, but practitioners too need to have the mindset of growth and a form of mental accessibility of their own, to further enhance psychotherapy and push it to the next level. Humanity is gifted and cursed with knowledge, and it’s up to us as a species to do what we can for each other in a positive and endearing way.


A Word From A Space Between

Psychotherapy has come a long way, and will continue to adapt and grow through changing mindsets and the way we feel about ourselves and each other. What matters most is having the drive to help each other and flourish as individuals, to fight the battle against mental disorders.

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Where private practice meets
A Space Between provides flexible co-working office spaces for rent to therapists and other professionals in Singapore.

A Space Between is a destination for mental health therapy activities. Counsellors utilise our many conducive therapy rooms for consultations. Located conveniently downtown and offering your independent therapists rent by the hour, we house many professional mental health practitioners, including LGBTQ+ friendly ones. To find out more about the therapists practising in A Space Between, write to us at [email protected].

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