An Overview of Behavioral Medicine

  • C. Eugene Walker
  • Terri L. Shelton


Psychological treatment has a long past. In the days of Plato and Aristotle, psychological treatment was the province of the philosopher. Philosophers were the experts in the realm of words and thoughts. Individuals who suffered from mental or emotional problems caused by disordered thoughts were helped by philosophers who cured through rational argument and persuasion (Pivnicki, 1969). The first known psychotherapist was Antiphon, a contemporary of Socrates. Antiphon was a sophist who is reported by Plutarch to have had a door plate on his home in Corinth indicating that he was qualified to heal, by words, those who suffered from grief and melancholy. Antiphon claimed to know the art of combating sorrow. No transcripts of Antiphon–s therapy sessions are extant, but it is quite possible that they would bear a resemblance to modern day cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. Certainly Socrates’ belief that the answer to all questions was inside the person and only needed to be elicited by skillful questioning is compatible with modern concepts of the process of psychotherapy. Numerous other philosophers of the time were also known for their ability to counsel those in distress. Some used exhortation or “beautiful speeches” as well as rational argument.


Heart Attack Behavioral Medicine Rheumatic Heart Disease Psychosomatic Medicine Rational Argument 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Eugene Walker
    • 1
  • Terri L. Shelton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA

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