Therapy for the body has been practiced essentially since the beginning of human history, but therapy for the mind, or psychotherapy, has only been practiced seriously since the early twentieth century. In many ways, the stereotypes of psychotherapy sessions are correct: a patient laying on a couch talking about his past while a therapist sits behind him trying to make sense of the patient's memories. Although there may not be a couch, this stereotype encompasses the general process of a psychotherapy session. The patient is encouraged to talk about whatever comes to his mind, a process called 'free association.' The therapist then attempts to interpret these thoughts, along with the patient's dreams, and deduce what is disturbing the patient. The patient may initially resist the process, and may even project emotions from their past onto the therapist. Eventually, though, the process is usually very effective.
Chapter 16: Psychological and Biological Treatments
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