American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States

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Penguin, Oct 30, 2008 - Psychology - 368 pages
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From Freud to Zoloft, the first comprehensive history of American Psychotherapy

Fifty percent of Americans will undergo some form of psychotherapy in their lifetimes, but the origins of the field are rarely known to patients. Yet the story of psychotherapy in America brims with colorful characters, intriguing experimental treatments, and intense debates within this community of healers.

American Therapy begins, as psychotherapy itself does, with the monumental figure of Sigmund Freud. The book outlines the basics of Freudian theory and discusses the peculiarly powerful influence of Freud on the world of American mental health. The book moves through the emergence of group therapy, the rise of psychosurgery, the evolution of uniquely American therapies such as Gestalt, rebirthing, and primal scream therapy, and concludes with the modern world of psychopharmacology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and highly targeted short-term therapies.

For a counseled nation that freely uses terms such as “emotional baggage” and no longer stigmatizes mental health care, American Therapy is a remarkable history of an extraordinary enterprise.

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American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States

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Medical historian Engel (public & health-care administration, Seton Hall Univ.; Poor People's Medicine: Medicaid and American Charity Care Since 1965; Doctors and Reformers: Discussion and Debate over ... Read full review


Child Guidance
A New Awareness
Training Psychiatrists
Psychiatric Social Workers
Shock and Surgery
Ossifying Orthodoxy
Religion and Psychotherapy
Social Work
Multiplying Therapies
Drug Culture

Alcoholics Anonymous
Group Therapy
Community Mental Health
WhiteCollar Use
Advances in Treatment
New Cures
Advances in Cognitive Therapy
Professional Shifts
The Age of Biology
Managed Care

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About the author (2008)

Jonathan Engel holds a Ph.D. in the history of science and medicine from Yale, and has written extensively about the historical development of U.S. medicine and health policy. His previous books are Doctors and Reformers: Discussion and Debate Over Health Policy 1925-1950, Poor People’s Medicine: Medicaid and American Charity Care Since 1965, and The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS. A professor of health care policy and management at Seton Hall University, he lives in New Jersey.

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