Biography and History of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Entries in this section focus primarily on the history of a field or of a particular figure's thinking, without necessarily engaging with that thought in detail. Additional historical material is available in many of the entries included under Theory and Research in Counselling.

Biography and History of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Ellenberger, H.F. (1970) The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books.

This volume reveals the error in the notion -- popular in some psychoanalytic circles -- that Freud somehow 'discovered' the idea of the unconscious. On the contrary, several authors had been explicitly concerned with the idea well before Freud, and in fact it has been present in many cultures throughout history. Of course, this is not to say that there necessarily is an unconscious; that is another question... Also see Whyte (1962).

Jung, C.G. (1963/1989) Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Revised edition. Recorded and edited by A. Jaffé; translated from German by R. and C. Winston. New York: Vintage Books.

This combination biography/auto-biography may be the single best resource for understanding the life of Carl Jung, one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers. From childhood to Jung's final years, this book is comprehensive.

Thorne, B. (1992) Carl Rogers. London: Sage.

Primarily an historical summary and a now familiar explication of Rogers's approach, this book would be much less interesting were it not for the inclusion of a very stimulating outline of leading criticisms of person-centred counselling and their respective rebuttals. At only 25 pages, this chapter's brevity does not afford Thorne the opportunity to engage the literature at any great depth, but nonetheless there is a refreshing hint of serious scholarship at work. More than the basic exposition filling much of the rest of the book, this chapter promises to challenge and deepen the reader's understanding of the person-centred approach.

Whyte, L.L. (1962) The Unconscious Before Freud. London: Tavistock.

Really a history of philosophy book, this volume explores the history of ideas about the unconscious, largely from the 18th century onward, but also from well before. Also see Ellenberger (1970).


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.