Religion and Psychotherapy

  • Graham Richards
Part of the Library of the History of Psychological Theories book series (LHPT)


If, as previously argued, claims of expertise on the child provided the major original route of contact between psychologists and religious constituencies, expertise on mental distress was soon assuming a distinct place of its own. It was in psychotherapy that Psychologists (including psychotherapists) and religious professionals came to work closest together throughout most of the last century. Mental distress had long been considered a province of medicine, and psychiatry (or proto-psychiatry) a fertile source of Psychological ideas. The Psychology/psychiatry borderline often becomes blurred when considering late nineteenth century and early twentieth century claims to scientific expertise on human nature. It was in this border zone that various forms of psychotherapy appeared around 1900, the term itself generally being traced to Swiss psychiatrist Dr Paul Dubois’ 1904 usage, Dubois’ best known English-language exposition is Dubois (1909). although two Dutch doctors, F. W. van Eeden and A. W. van Renterghem published their Clinique de Psycho-therapie Suggestive in 1889, having set up a clinic of ‘suggestive psychotherapy’ two years previously. In 1887 the English word ‘psycho-therapeutics’ had first appeared in a Contemporary Review article and in 1889, again hyphenated, in the title of C. L. Tucker’s Psycho-therapeutics or Treatment by Hypnotism and Suggestion. Numerous other early equivalent terms in German, French and Italian are given in Baldwin (1925). A mediating factor in this fusion of psychiatry and Psychology was the contemporary interest in hypnotic phenomena and the role of ‘suggestion’.


Mental Distress Spiritual Healing Religious Attitude Interwar Period Pastoral Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graham Richards BooksTunbridge WellsUnited Kingdom

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