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The term “psychotherapy” comes from the Greek words for soul and healing. Ancient Greeks may have been the first to view mental health issues as physical and mental conditions. At the time, some other cultures understood them as the result of demonic possession. Still, the Greeks' understanding of mental health issues was limited. They did recognize the benefits of using encouraging words when speaking to people with mental health issues. But, they also had many false beliefs about mental health. For example, they thought only women experienced hysteria. The also believed bathing was an effective treatment for people with depression.


Treatment for severe mental health conditions was often harsh and inhumane until reformers worked for better conditions during the 18th century. In 1773, the first asylum in North America was founded. By the end of the 19th century, most American towns had an asylum. However, individuals admitted to an asylum rarely left the facility. This led to a steadily increasing population of institutionalized people. It was not uncommon for care at asylums to include the use of restraints and violent t