Important Lessons You Can Learn From The History Of Therapy

Records of “healing through words” have been around as early as more than 3,500 years ago. That means therapy has been present for at least that long, way before the professional term used to describe it was coined. Along the way, people started thinking possession by spirits or punishments from otherworldly beings cause mental illnesses. Those undesirable labels gave rise to the stigma surrounding mental health.

Over the following years, mental health became a taboo topic. In turn, seeing a therapist became unspeakable as well. Those who did were labeled a sinner, insane or demonic. And since mental health and therapy became taboo, many stopped talking about them. That led to fewer people understanding and studying the subject matter.


Nowadays, the general public is more open to discussing mental health. However, the previous years haven’t been as kind. And in the time before people became accepting, those who suffered from mental illnesses were shunned. They didn’t have the resources and support to get access to treatment.

But as much as the past was a dark time concerning mental health and therapy, you can learn from their history. Here are a few insights you can get from the development and evolution of the two topics:

It’s Worth Exploring The Unknown

Much of the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy comes from the fear of the unknown. It’s only natural to be wary of unusual things, but sometimes, people go overboard and shun new concepts entirely. It gets more difficult for some to accept changes when those new ideas conflict with their existing belief systems.

Gender and sexuality fell under the same treatment. Many people rebuke homosexuality because they grew up with heteronormative views and lack an understanding of other identities. In the same way, some people brush off mental health illnesses because they don’t understand them yet.

History has shown us time and time again that the only way forward is to explore the unknown. It’s okay to be cautious of unusual things, and it’s alright to be afraid of changes. However, being open to new things can help you grow holistically. Embrace change and explore the unknown!

Your Feelings Are Valid, Even If They’re Different Sometimes

Sometimes, you may find yourself feeling unusual. It may be a perfectly fine day, but you suddenly feel down. Or maybe you’re surrounded by happy people who are dear to you, but you still feel alone. In those instances, you may think you shouldn’t be feeling that way. After all, nothing happened to make you feel a certain way.


You can’t force yourself to exhibit emotions based on a specific list of events. It’s okay to feel sad even if nothing bad happened that day. It’s not just a thing of the present too. Your feelings didn’t just suddenly become valid when people started discussing mental health. Instead, history shows us that people have always been that way.

Then and now, human emotions have always been complex. That means everyone’s feelings are valid and have always been that way. It’s just that the response to those emotions wasn’t supportive back then.

What Works For Others May Work Differently For You

Therapy has branched out through time. There’s psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and interpersonal therapy, to name a few. There are many other types, and more are being developed every year. That’s because the more we understand how people work, the more we discover how unique everyone is.

That’s the strength and beauty of therapy. It grows and branches out the more we discover. In that sense, when you see a therapist, you should remember that what works for others may work differently for you. First of all, there’s no one type of treatment that can cure all illnesses. Your therapist will recommend the one most suited for your needs.

Therapy Isn’t Just For People With Problems.

The aim of therapy has always been to improve the quality of life of people. That often meant solving problems, treating illnesses, and addressing conditions. But it’s also more than that. Therapy is also about finding ways to help you feel better and live a fuller life.

This concept of therapy being a holistic treatment isn’t new. It has always been an avenue to aid people in making the most out of their lives. It exists as a support system where everyone can aspire to elevate their life with the guidance of a professional.

Of course, your therapist will treat your mental illness if you have one. But if you’re looking for ways to feel better, know yourself more, or set goals, then therapy can also help you. It all boils down to finding the appropriate process for you and helping you build good habits and break bad ones.

Kindness Is The Way To Go

History shows us how brutal the world can be, especially to those who don’t subscribe to the norm. Often, those with mental illnesses experience the same treatment. People are more open now, but the stigma surrounding mental health persists.

Historial accounts tell us about the persecution faced by sick people and those who sought treatment. They didn’t get the support they needed back then. It’s up to us to prevent the future generation from experiencing this again. We need to learn how to show a little more kindness, understanding, and compassion. After all, everyone deserves it, more so those who are suffering.


To Wrap Up

The long history of mental health and therapy teaches us many things. For one, it tells us that it’s worth exploring the unknown. After all, that’s how we start learning. It’s okay to be wary of changes, but don’t close yourself off because they lead to progress.

The history of therapy also shows us that your feelings are always valid. Others have felt before what you may feel now, and your emotion’s validity doesn’t rely on what the public says. Help is available to those who need it, but what works for some may work differently for others. It’s all about finding the right kind of therapy for yourself.

Remember, you can go to therapy even if you don’t have a mental illness. Your therapist can help you feel better and improve the quality of your life. But with all that said, the history of therapy shows that kindness is the way to go. Be compassionate to others, and be kind to yourself.