Written by Rachel Arieff
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Therapy has been around in some form or another for centuries. However, it's pretty safe to say that the theories and techniques of ancient days would generally be considered appalling by today's standards. That's because the field of psychology didn't yet exist. Disturbances in human emotions and behavior were considered to be the result of demons and mystical conflicts, and treatments were prescribed accordingly.

So much has changed since the days of exorcisms and cruel imprisonment of people with disorders that no one understood. Modern psychotherapy began, in its earliest form, in the early 20th century with Freudian analysis. Since then, the therapeutic field has exploded and branched off into many different practices, encompassing everything from the traditional techniques to alternative therapies.

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Another fundamental and frankly fortunate change has occurred in the field of psychotherapeutic counseling: the weakening of the secrecy factor. In decades past, to admit that you were receiving psychological help was to divulge a shameful secret. Admitting to having problems was seen as weakness, and being open about treatment was strictly taboo.

Since then, therapy has become part of the mainstream lexicon. Today, celebrities and government officials openly admit to receiving treatment. More is known about common problems such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and eating disorders, so these subjects are not as scary as they may have been in the past. Today more than ever, strength is derived not from hiding one's problems, but from addressing them.

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