A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

Home | About | Alternative Health | Contact

The Evolution of Psychotherapy
However much admiration may be lavished upon the imposing body of psychological knowledge which exists to-day, based as it is upon observation, experiment and clinical study, it must not be forgotten that it had its roots in the much less academically respectable faith-healing, whose history has just been outlined. Mystic and scientist, king and rogue, saint and sinner, physician and quack, have all contributed to its development; and whether they wooed science or sought gold, whether they made discoveries of lasting value or lost themselves in mystical speculations, their efforts were not vain, for the knowledge and technique of our own times were built on the failures of former days. At this point begins the story of psychotherapy as a conscious technique and systematic body of knowledge, an infant science to which the medical world has only recently and grudgingly thrown open its portals. This brief history commences with the derided, defamed founder of ' animal magnetism \ Franz Anton Mesmer.82'253
Tradition has either treated Mesmer as a deluded fool or condemned him as a charlatan. He belonged to an age which was troubled by the stirring of great new movements, but his own inspiration came from the past. His tragedy lay in his loyalty to convictions which had departed for ever from the learned society of Europe. Born in 1734 in a small town on the shores of Lake Constance in the Duchy of Swabia, Mesmer was studious during his youth, and diligently pursued