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The History of Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counseling has a long and rich history, and one that is quite interesting if you study it. In this post, we’ll give you a brief overview of counseling’s history. 

Early History 

The idea of strong mental health preventing you from illness stems from ancient Greece. One philosopher, Hippocrates, looked at how someone’s temperament affected their body fluid balance. If the fluids were unbalanced, the mental health would be poor. Plato believed that poor behavior was due to an issue of the community at large. Epicurus believed that your mental health could suffer if your pleasures were taken away. Epictetus believed that peace of mind of how you view life is the key for success. While many of these views are no longer valid, it’s quite interesting to see the beginnings. 

In the Middle Ages, mental health treatments were everywhere, and some of the treatments were ground in superstition. Sometimes, a person who was mentally ill was believed to be possessed by a demon or other evil spirit. As such, inhumane exorcisms and test were developed. However, there were some places, such as Baghdad, where there were more humane treatments. In the 16thcentury, asylums were created, and the conditions in it were terrible, with some people drowning in their own waste. Over time, the asylum system became more reformed and closer to what we know today.

Early Counseling 

In the start of the 20thcentury, counseling was for education, and not a mental health treatment. There were early developments at this time, however. More counseling happened during the Great Depression, and it was discovered counseling could be used for more than occupation or education. It wasn’t until the 1940s when Carl Rogers began forming psychotherapy. He thought that the client was the one who could explain their problems and figure out which path to take when it comes to counseling.

World War II was when people realized how valuable counseling was. Many counselors were there to talk to the soldiers before the war and after the war, and this proved that counseling could be important. Soldiers needed to be mentally prepared to fight, and once they fought, they needed counseling to return them to home. 

Modern Counseling

Modern health counseling first originated in the 1950s, when the mental health system was being scrutinized. In 1963, the Community Health Act helped to develop the modern counseling we all know today. John F. Kennedy believed that treatment centers, as opposed to mental hospitals ran by the state, could help people’s mental health quite immensely.  This helped to create a demand for counselors.

At first, the qualifications to be a counselor were not as strong as they were, but by the 1970s, it was discovered that there needed to be licensures to make sure the counselors were up to quality. Virginia was the first state that implemented licensure, and then it spread to other states. 

The Future 

The future of mental health counseling is always up in the air. New methods to help people are being developed, and older methods are being refined. What worked greatly a few years ago may not work so good nowadays. Many factors can determine if a certain form of counseling can be beneficial, and our understanding is growing. 

Also, thanks to the Internet, counseling is easier than ever. No matter where you live, you can speak to a counselor who can help you and allow you to live a better life. 

If you want to speak to a counselor, there is no shame in doing so. A counselor can make your life better.