The beginning of the history of psychology is hard to pinpoint, mainly because it is difficult to establish exactly what psychology is.
Since the dawn of civilization and the establishment of the earliest religions and spiritual beliefs, various priests, shamans and spiritual leaders were responsible for the mental wellbeing of their people. From shamen to Jewish Qabbalists, curing the mind was a huge part of the spiritual path, even if treatment was couched in magic and mystery, using rituals to drive out demons.
If we define psychology as a formal study of the mind and a more systematic approach to understanding and curing mental conditions, then the Ancient Greeks were certainly leading proponents. As with many scientific studies, Aristotle was at the forefront of developing the foundations of the history of psychology. Aristotle’s psychology, as would be expected, was intertwined with his philosophy of the mind, reasoning and Nicomachean ethics, but the psychological method started with his brilliant mind and empirical approach.
Of course, it would be unfair to concentrate fully on Aristotle’s psychology without studying some of the other great thinkers who contributed to the history of psychology, but his work certainly is the basis of modern methods. Any modern psychologist of note fully understands the basics of Aristotelian thought and recognizes his contribution to the history of psychology.
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