• Timothy J. Petersen
  • Susan E. Sprich
  • Sabine Wilhelm
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


Psychotherapy has rich and complicated historical roots, and has evolved considerably into what we today consider generally accepted, modern forms of treatment. One of the earliest forms of psychotherapy, developed over 2,000 years ago, was based on the principles of Buddhism and posited that mental suffering was caused by ignorance stemming from a craving for attachment. If an individual followed the “Noble Eightfold Path to Enlightenment,” this craving would be eased (The Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path, [1]). Other notable, early forms of psychotherapy, spanning antiquity through the early nineteenth century, include Hippocrates’ focus on bringing the “four humors” into balance (Hippocrates, ca. 460 BC–ca. 370 BC [2]), emphasis on balancing the forces of Yin and Yang [3], various forms of hypnotherapy [4, 5], and exorcism [6]. More formalized models of “talk therapy” were not developed until the late nineteenth century, when Freud and subsequent followers began their transformative clinical work.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Eating Disorder Binge Eating Disorder Dialectical Behavior Therapy Borderline Personality Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy J. Petersen
    • 1
  • Susan E. Sprich
    • 2
  • Sabine Wilhelm
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ProgramMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.OCD and Related Disorders ProgramMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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