Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are maddest of all.

VOLTAIRE (1694-1778)




Psychotherapy is an English word of Greek origin, deriving from the Ancient Greek psyche meaning ‘breath, spirit, soul’ and therapia meaning ‘healing, medical treatment’.
The purpose of psychotherapy is to explore people’s thoughts, feelings and/or behaviour with the aim of solving personal problems or achieving higher levels of functioning and well-being. Famous psychotherapists include Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Nathan Ackerman, Aaron Beck and Mary Ainsworth.
It’s claimed that 38% of all writers and artists have been treated for some form of mood disorder. Poets fare worse than novelists: 50% of poets have been prescribed lithium. The most depressed people are playwrights, with 63% receiving treatment - more than via psychotherapy. 89% of creative writers report at least some periods of abnormally productive activity, whether or not they seek treatment for it.

High Street Psychotherapists

Philosopher and writer Alain de Botton has suggested that we have High Street Psychotherapists. ‘On the High Street we’ve got provisions for almost everything; we can get our nails done, our hair, buy food. But what you can’t do is get your head fixed', he says, 'So why not have a drop-in place where we can all go when we need some help to make sense of things? If you contact a psychotherapist, it’s a bit daunting. Firstly it’s usually a referral by a GP but then you get some person, like a receptionist, that is very professional and serious and makes you an appointment. Imagine if it was like that every time you wanted to buy a pint of milk? We’ve made doctors and dentists approachable and friendly … so why not psychotherapists? What could be nicer, when you have a problem with your job or your family or your existence, to go and have a chat about your troubles with someone nice … someone who will listen for a whole hour while you talk through all your problems?’.


Think of your head as an unsafe neighbourhood; don't go there alone.

Psychic Wholeness

In 1922, after the death of his mother, Carl Jung felt: ‘I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired’.

He began to build a regular two-story house on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland but, as the years passed, he added a tower-like annex with a ‘retiring room’ for withdrawal and contemplation, and a courtyard and loggia. At 80, after his wife’s death, he suddenly realised that, ‘the small central section which crouched so low, so hidden, was myself!’ He therefore added an upper storey as an extension of his own personality no longer hidden behind the ‘maternal’ and ‘spiritual’ towers.

The final building, he claimed, symbolised the structure of his own psyche. He wrote: ‘Unconsciously built at the time, only afterward did I see how all the parts fitted together and that a meaningful form had resulted: a symbol of psychic wholeness.’

Grinning Greeters

In Seattle, the FBI started the Safecatch system – bank employees are trained to terrify bank robbers by smiling at them. If you’re a legitimate customer you think, this guy is friendly, if you’re a bad guy you’re alarmed.

Bank robberies halved year on year after the scheme became widespread. Smiling pierces the anonymity thieves cultivate, creating precisely the connection they’re desperate to avoid. That’s why there are grinning ‘greeters’ in big shops.

JOHNNY CARSON (1925-2005)

In Hollywood if you don't have a shrink, people think you're crazy.

Feline Psychotherapist

Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, is certified by three major hypnotherapy associations and holds a Diploma in psychotherapy. She is also a cat. In 2002, her owner added her as a user on his credit card then got her first credential. Zoe was subsequently certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association, and is a Professional Member of the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. She also has a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and a M.S. in Clinical Hypnotherapy from well-known mail order universities.

In 2004 Dr Ben Goldacre did something similar for his cat Henrietta. He got her a certified as a member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, just like Gillian McKeith. The certificate cost $60. Not bad for a cat who was not only a mongrel, but had died a year before. 

Sigmund Freud

Perhaps the most famous spychotherapist of all, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), once published a thesis called ‘Observations of the form and fine structure of the looped organs of the eels considered as testes’.

He didn't have a girlfriend until he was 25 and his first crush, at the age of 30, was on the mother of a friend.

Freud believed so fervently that every son is driven towards deadly competition with his father that his own sons weren't even allowed to study medicine, let alone psychoanalysis.

Freud was extremely fastidious, and had his beard trimmed every morning by a barber who arrived at the house for that specific purpose. He was also rather distant - rather than talk to his family at meals, Freud would often put his newest statuette in front of him and examine it. To educate his children about the facts of life, he sent them all to the family paediatrician.

Freud had an Oedipus complex as a result of seeing his mother naked on a train, and so assumed that everyone else did too.

During the first years of his medical practice (1886-8), he treated his patients (who had neuroses, hysteria, neurasthenia, or real neurological conditions) with a mixture of rest, isolation, and electrotherapy. Then he started to use hypnosis, before developing his psychological method. He did not invent the phrase ‘talking cure’ – one of his patients, Bertha Pappenheim, did.

Sweat therapy is the combination of group counselling/psychotherapy with group sweating. It usually takes place in a sauna.


There are two forms of psychotherapy that have been medically proven to be effective; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy.

The first psychotherapy centre in the world was opened in Leipzig in 1875 by Wilhelm Wundt.

Sigmund Freud exhaustively psychoanalysed his daughter Anna, who shared her sexual fantasies and forays into masturbation.

In the 1960s psychologist Paul Bindrim invented a form of psychotherapy that involved everyone getting naked.

The Id, Ego & Super-Ego 

In his psychoanalytic theory of personality Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) suggested that the human psyche consists of three parts: the Id, ego and super-ego.
The Id is the unorganised part of our minds; the ancient unconscious brain that is all basic instinct and drives such as hunger, lust etc. It operates on the pleasure principle; it drives us to gratification. Freud believed that it was the only part of our psyche that we are born with.
The Ego is our conscious awareness. It governs things such as tolerance, judgement, control and planning. It’s reason and common sense. It acts as a brake for the Id’s more basic instincts. It operates on the reality principle; it works to satisfy the Id’s desires but in a realistic and appropriate way.
Then there’s the Super-Ego. This is the internalisation of all of the authority figures in your life – your parents, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, deities etc. It acts like a conscience, as your inner police officer, and it mediates between the Id and the Ego.
Freud believed that a healthy personality was one where there is a balance between the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego. With so many competing forces, it is easy to see how internal conflict might arise but a person with good ‘Ego strength’ is able to manage these pressures. 

SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939)

Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.


Freud translated the play ‘King Oedipus’ from the Greek for his final exam at high school.

According to Freud, walking up or down steps, ladders or staircases symbolised the sexual act.

Freud viewed urinating in public as a sign of strong subconscious ambition.

Freud was the uncle of Ed Bernays, the man who invented Public Relations.

Freud viewed shoes or slippers as a symbol for the female genitals.