American Therapy

American Therapy

The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States

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Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781440629785
  • 368 Pages
  • Avery
  • Adult


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.


“Studded with fascinating tidbits […] The story Engel does tell is plenty interesting and his conflicting view of Freudianism well worth absorbing.” – The New York Times Book Review

“A thorough yet concise history of the talking cure. […] A capable explanation of a complicated field.” -Kirkus Reviews

“An authoritative, readable book, this is highly recommended for large general libraries and collections in health and social science.” -Library Journal