The Insane History of Psychology: Goofy Skits


If you are looking for some goofy skits depicting the history of psychology from ancient to pre-modern times, you have come to the right place. Today we will be taking you on a whirlwind tour of the history of psychology, including the thoughts of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and onward to the 1800’s. We stop abruptly before Freud was born, which we will pick up in the next episode.

This is the fourth episode (fifth chapter) of our psychology course from 7 Sisters (link at the bottom of this post, if you are dying to see what it is…)

The History of Psychology: Goofy Skits

Ancient History

Since ancient times, people have been trying to understand the psyche, wanting to figure out the mind and how it functions, and why some people have mental illness. It used to be that people would cast out demons, and in New Testament times, this actually worked, curing the person… especially if Jesus was the one that ministered to them. Of course, Jesus healed physical ailments as well as mental ones because He is God. His disciples also had this power to heal physical and mental sickness.

But before the time of Christ, some people who blamed strange behavior on demons thought it would be a good idea to drill a small hole in the patient’s skull to let the demon out. It seems that the people trying to “help” were more insane than the so-called crazy person. Seriously…

Ancient Egyptians

Besides exorcism, the ancient Egyptians tried to make “medicines” made out of sheep dung and wine to cure the ailments of the mentally ill.


Ancient Greece, Hippocrates, Plato, & Aristotle

Along with exorcisms, the ancient Greeks would treat their patients kindly and gave them theater to entertain them. Hippocrates felt that mental illness had more to do with what was wrong with the brain. He divided brain disorders into mania, melancholia, brain fever, and hysteria. (The malady of hysteria was a woman-only disease.)

Plato and Aristotle believed that the mentally ill should be kept out of the public eye and be treated gently. If they committed a crime, Plato and Aristotle believed they were not responsible for their behavior.

Later Greek and Roman Ideas

Asclepiades divided mental illness into two categories: acute and chronic (short-term and long-term illness). Cicero believed that emotions could cause mental illness. Aretreus felt that normal personality traits taken to an extreme were what caused mental illness, while Galen believed that injuries to the head, adolescence, alcoholism, or a relationship break-up could cause a person to go insane (or have other mental illness like depression, which makes sense).

Middle Ages: Mass Manias

In the Middle Ages, besides taking the mentally ill to monasteries, they had two crazy mass manias of the public: tarantism (people thinking they had been bit by tarantulas) and lycanthropy (people thinking they were possessed by wolves). These two mass manias probably had natural causes, but historians are still trying to figure out what caused them.

Renaissance & King Henry VIII

During the Renaissance, people were taken to mental institutions called madhouses, and sadly, they were treated like animals. Henry VIII changed a monastery into a madhouse. Some of the mentally ill were exhibited at circuses, and others were sent out to the streets to beg.


Europe, Humanitarian Reformers, & Mesmer

Finally asylums were constructed throughout Europe where people were taught life skills and given fresh air and exercise. They were taken to the countryside to recuperate, and many patients were healed with this much more humane treatment.

It’s actually quite heartbreaking how horrible the mentally ill have been treated, from ancient times to pre-modern times. Our next episode will introduce Freud, Adler, and Jung, three of the most famous psychologists of all time. Sign up for our newsletter below to not miss a single post in the series! (Our series will pick up again in January, so stay tuned…)

The psychology curriculum we are using can be found here: {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology by 7 Sisters Homeschool.

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16 Responses to “The Insane History of Psychology: Goofy Skits”

  1. DONNA says:

    So educational and silly all at the same time. I love her laugh, made me laugh too lolol. Thank you for sharing this Susan! ❀

  2. Nya Rashell says:

    I always learn so much from your videos! πŸ™‚

  3. Onyinye says:

    Funny and interesting how history plays an important role in what we do…thank you Susan for this inspiration in a time like this….God bless you

  4. Such a wonderful overview! Your material was a great refresher to me from the classes I took in college in Abnormal Psych and the History of Psychology. Now I don’t remember my professors teaching about the two manias in the middles ages- how interesting that they were classified into the groups of tarantism and lycanthropy! Thanks so much for providing such an informative post!

  5. Chrissie says:

    Another excellent adventure in your household

  6. Yaa Attobrah says:

    Insightful video. Learning and having fun while you are at it. Now that is my cup of tea. Well done.

  7. Rachel says:

    She’s definitely enjoying herself! Way to go with making learning fun!

  8. Beth Jones says:

    She laughs so much. She reminds me so much of you with her joy, drama, etc. Your kids have had such a fun, thorough education. Wish we lived closer and my kids could have had some classes with you. For that matter, I would have liked them, too! πŸ™‚ I love the study of psychology. I have a BA degree in this field from seminary classes. It is fascinating. Some of the ways they used to treat the mentally ill were so horrible. Thank God there are kinder treatments now!

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