chapter  4
9 Pages

Psychotherapy and a Philosophy of Life

So much is psychotherapy the child of practical improvisation that for a long time it had trouble in thinking out its own intellectual foundations. Empirical psychology relied very much at first on physical and then on physiological ideas, and ventured only with some hesitation on the complex phenomena which constitute its proper field. Similarly, psychotherapy was at first simply an auxiliary method; only gradually did it free itself from the world of ideas represented by medical therapeutics and come to understand that its concern lay not merely with physiological but primarily with psychological principles. In other words, it found itself obliged to raise psychological issues which soon burst the framework of the experimental psychology of that day with its elementary statements. The demands of therapy brought

highly complex factors within the purview of this still young science, and its exponents very often lacked the equipment needed to deal with the problems that arose. It is therefore not surprising that a bewildering assortment of ideas, theories, and points of view predominated in all the initial discussions of this new psychology which had been, so to speak, forced into existence by therapeutic experience. An outsider could hardly be blamed if he received an impression of babel. This confusion was inevitable, for sooner or later it was bound to become clear that one cannot treat the psyche without touching on man and life as a whole, including the ultimate and deepest issues, any more than one can treat the sick body without regard to the totality of its functions-or rather, as a few representatives of modern medicine maintain, the totality of the sick man himself.