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psycho- comb. form + therapy n., probably after French psychothérapie

Psychotherapy is an English word of Greek origin, deriving from Ancient Greek psyche (ψυχή meaning "breath; spirit; soul") and therapia (θεραπεία "healing; medical treatment").

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, psychotherapy first meant "hypnotherapy" instead of "psychotherapy". The original meaning, "the treatment of disease by ‘psychic’ [i.e., hypnotic] methods", was first recorded in 1853 as "Psychotherapeia, or the remedial influence of mind". The modern meaning, "the treatment of disorders of the mind or personality by psychological or psychophysiological methods", was first used in 1892 by Frederik van Eeden translating "Suggestive Psycho-therapy" for his French "Psychothérapie Suggestive". Van Eeden credited borrowing this term from Daniel Hack Tuke and noted, "Psycho-therapy ... had the misfortune to be taken in tow by hypnotism."

For lessons on the topic of Psychotherapy, follow this link.



Psychotherapy, or personal counseling with a psychotherapist, is an intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client or patient in problems of living.

It aims to increase the individual's sense of their own well-being. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family).

Psychotherapy may also be performed by practitioners with a number of different qualifications, including psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work, counseling psychology, mental health counseling, clinical or psychiatric social work, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, play therapy, music therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, dance/movement therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing, psychoanalysis and those from other psychotherapies. It may be legally regulated, voluntarily regulated or unregulated, depending on the jurisdiction. Requirements of these professions vary, but often require graduate school and supervised clinical experience. Psychotherapy in Europe is increasingly being seen as an independent profession, rather than being restricted to being practiced only by psychologists and psychiatrists as is stipulated in some countries.


There are several main broad systems of psychotherapy:

There are hundreds of psychotherapeutic approaches or schools of thought. By 1980 there were more than 250; by 1996 there were more than 450. The development of new and hybrid approaches continues around the wide variety of theoretical backgrounds. Many practitioners use several approaches in their work and alter their approach based on client need.[1]