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Mental and emotional disorders vary in severity, as do the treatments employed to address them. Hundreds of types of therapy are employed in the field of psychology to reduce the agony of people suffering from emotional and mental discomfort. These types of therapy can be classified into a few different groups.

Psychoanalysis and behavior therapy, like all other types of therapy, have the same goal of lowering psychological symptoms and improving the patients’ quality of life. Both of these will be successful to varying degrees depending on the aptitude and commitment of the therapist or analyst and the client. Also, the different techniques employed will have a definite role in it. Between behavior therapy and psychoanalysis, there are some significant differences.

The time required for effective treatment varies significantly. Psychoanalysis patients typically meet their analysts 2 or more times a week for several years. These behavior interventions are shorter and more efficient.

The context and methods used in two important types of psychotherapy, behavior therapy and psychoanalysis, will be explained in this article.

Behavior therapy, often known as behavioral modification, employs people’s behaviors in the environment as a means of addressing a wide range of issues, including not only behavioral issues but also issues involving feelings and thoughts. Problem behaviors, according to behavioral psychologists, are formed by encounters between the particular individual and the environment. Problems arise when a person’s environment promotes harmful behaviors, which develop habits over time.

Smoking, substance abuse, eating problems, sleeplessness, and an inability to adequately handle stress are all treated with behavior therapy. Larger psychological issues, such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders can all be treated with behavior therapy.

For instance, a behavioral therapist might gradually train a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder to endure a tolerable level of dirt in their environment or to stop continually washing their hands. Exposure treatment is the name for this method. Positive habits like organization, sports participation, and boundary setting can all benefit from behavior therapy.

Psychoanalysis was developed in the 1890s by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. It comprises ideas and therapy procedures based on the belief that humans have unconscious thoughts, memories, feelings, and desires. The goal of psychoanalytic treatment is to turn unconscious content into conscious information.

Traditionally, the analyst (or psychoanalysis therapist) instructs the client to lie on a couch, out of sight of the analyst. While the analyst gathers information, the client describes their childhood fantasies and desires. Analysts employ free association and dream interpretation to uncover repressed childhood memories that are hidden from the patient’s conscious awareness.

Psychoanalysis takes more time than behavior therapy, frequently requiring 2 or more sessions each week. Psychoanalysis, unlike behavior therapy, concentrates on unseen motivations and desires.

In the past, psychoanalysis was used to manage anxiety and phobias, as well as hypersensitivity and workaholism.

The origins of behavior therapy can be directly traced to the 1920s and 1930s studies of Russian psychologist and scientist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov’s research centered on classical conditioning or learning by association. Two stimuli (things or activities that affect a reaction) are connected together in classical conditioning to develop a new response. Pavlov famously trained dogs to drool when he rang a bell in a famous study because the canines learned to identify the availability of food with the sound of a bell.

B.F. Skinner, a US psychologist who investigated operant conditioning in the 1930s, is also linked to behavior therapy. The term “operant conditioning” refers to the process of learning behavior through the use of rewards and penalties. Skinner discovered that behaviors might be molder or slowly altered when pleasant behaviors are accompanied by desirable outcomes and undesirable behaviors are accompanied by undesired consequences while dealing with patients in a psychiatric facility, 

The work of psychologists like Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck culminated in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which was later established as a therapeutic approach. CBT is founded on the idea that people’s emotions and behavior are influenced by their ideas. As a result, when therapists assist patients in changing their thinking, they can also assist them in changing their lives.

Behavior therapy is founded on the idea that our surroundings impact and teach us. As a result, instead of focusing on what is going on in the mind, behavioral therapists assist clients to change problematic behaviors by concentrating on visible actions. In addition, rather than focusing on insight into the past, behavior therapy focuses on real improvements in the present.

Aspects Of Behavioral Treatment Approaches

The following are examples of several types of behavior therapy:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

In CBT, the psychotherapist helps the client recognize problematic thought processes. Assisting clients in understanding how these patterns relate to self-destructive beliefs (schemas) that cause bad moods and harmful actions. To question toxic thoughts and replace these with wholesome ones requires knowing this.

Flooding Therapy

Flooding therapy is a form of supervised exposure therapy where the therapist subjects the patient to something they fear. Flooding treatment works by teaching a patient that their fear won’t hurt them.

In flooding therapy, the patient is “flooded” with the thing they dread, rather than progressively introduced to it. For a patient scared of snakes, the therapist could bring live snakes to a meeting and make them stay for an hour. The idea behind flooding is that as the first anxiety subsides and the client sees they are not in danger, the worry will vanish.

Flooding can help phobias. Behaviorists believe that phobias are learned by association, that is, through associating environmental stimuli (– for example, snakes) with danger (coming in contact with a snake and being bitten). After the initial encounter, the person gets anxious that it will occur again, leading to PTSD. Patients learn to relax through exposure therapies like flooding.

Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy combines an unpleasant behavior with an undesired stimulus. Aversion therapy is commonly used to treat substance abuse. Antabuse makes a client nauseous when they consume alcohol. This strategy teaches the client to link alcohol with sickness. Thus, this type of behavior therapy encourages breaking bad habits.

Systemic Desensitization

Exposure therapy is systematic desensitization (or progressive exposure therapy). But it’s gentler and more progressive than flooding. Through systematic desensitization, the patient learns to associate disturbing things and experiences with safety and tranquility. Clients can learn to breathe deeply, relax their muscles, and/or focus while gradually exposing themselves to feared stimuli.

Gradual exposure implies facing phobias one by one. Assume you are afraid of leaving your home. Your therapist may suggest that you get ready for an outing while taking deep breaths and listening to relaxing music. Next, you might well be told to relax as you step out the door. Finally, you would visit a family member or close friend, keeping your body calm. During this process, you will be encouraged to envision solutions to potential difficulties. It takes more time than flooding.

Psychoanalysis is the original form of psychotherapy. Along with Sigmund Freud, other influential theorists include Anna Freud, Erik Erikson, and Carl Jung. Erikson expanded on Freud’s ideas by studying human development and emphasizing growth across life.

Six Core Principles Of Psychoanalysis

  • The unconscious mind shapes our actions in the major part.
  • Early life events shape personality (between the ages of 1 to 5).
  • Catharsis awakens the unconscious, allowing us to cope with underlying concerns.
  • Discovering unconscious experiences through dreams.
  • People utilize defense mechanisms to avoid being aware of their unconscious desires and memories.
  • Mental collapse occurs when the unconscious and conscious minds clash.

Psychoanalytic Treatment Plans

Free Association

Free association is utilized in psychoanalysis to retrieve unconscious memories. The analyst reads a list of terms, and the patient says what comes to mind. These remarks, according to Freud, show repressed traumatic experiences that could help patients heal.

Dream Interpretation

Freud felt dreams opened the unconscious. So he devised a system of dream interpretation to better comprehend his patients. Freud believed that many dreams had concealed sexual undertones within their literal substance.

Inkblot Tests

A Rorschach Test (1921) is another method of accessing the unconscious mind. Projective tests use inkblots to cast the patient’s thoughts onto an impartial image. Projection of secret aspects of the patient’s personality Patients are shown ten inkblots and asked, “What could this be?” This is done by comparing the results of several tests to the personalities and psychiatric conditions of the test takers. Inkblot testing has been the subject of debate, with some claiming its clinical relevance and others claiming its lack of validity.

Transference Analysis

Patients’ feelings toward crucial persons from their past are “transferred” to their analyst or therapist. The analyst analyzes the patient’s transference, bringing past feelings to consciousness. Transference analysis may assist patients in better comprehending their early connections by revealing relational patterns.

Behavior therapy differs from psychoanalysis in that Behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis, like all therapies, aim to reduce psychiatric symptoms and improve quality of life. Also, the strength of the client-therapist relationship may be more important than the treatments used. It’s important to note that behavior therapy and psychoanalysis are not identical. behavior therapy differs from psychoanalysis in the following aspects:

Time Frame

Behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis have quite different treatment timelines. Psychoanalysts see patients twice a week for years. Some courses of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) last only five sessions.

Belief System

Professionals in behavior therapy think that a person’s mental or emotional instability is caused by their thoughts and ideas, not their past experiences.

Psychoanalysts believe that suppressed emotions in the collective unconscious cause mental health relapse. To overcome mental or emotional instability, you must awaken your unconscious mind.


A psychoanalyst approaches client issues differently than a behaviorist. The analyst may only speak briefly and gather information while the client free associates. The goal is for the patient to acquire insight into their past and release associated anguish. Conversely, behaviorists focus on quantifiable outcomes and carefully plan therapy sessions to achieve them.

First, the ego, the I, or the active authority with which you make everyday decisions is the subject of psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is concerned with the unconscious – those perceptions that are beyond words and beyond our consciousness; the part of us that has been mostly suppressed by society, social conventions, laws, and regulations. Second, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have different objectives. Psychotherapy aims to re-establish a person’s relationship with social norms and rules, whereas psychoanalysis aims to re-establish a person’s relationship with sexuality.

Psychotherapy focuses on the ego, whereas psychoanalysis focuses on the subject’s interaction with their own unconscious. Psychotherapists use their discussions with you, the patient, to alter your decision-making, teach coping methods, change habits or thoughts, and transform your interpersonal relationships. Psychoanalysts use their interaction with you to assist you in reorganizing your relationship with yourself and your body, including all of its human features. What unfolds with your relations after that is completely up to you!

The distinctions between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychoanalysis will next be discussed in terms of three main aspects: treatment method, empirical research evidence, and patient information.

Treatment Method

The psychoanalyst primarily employs the technique of “free association,” rather than procedures directed at behavioral change, because it is based on the belief (now widely questioned by other methods) that a genuine “cure” takes place only when the patient “discovers” previously “hidden” facets of the “unconscious.”

The cognitive-behavioral therapist uses therapeutic strategies with the goal of changing the patient’s suffering-causing behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. To put it another way, the patient’s concern is directly addressed.

Treatments With Empirical Support

Psychoanalysis has its roots in Sigmund Freud’s theoretical framework, which he developed about 1885 and 1938.

The current practice of psychoanalysis is built on hypotheses and theories of numerous authors, which, to differing degrees, are coherent and supplement the author’s original proposals.

As a result, there are numerous diverging currents within Psychoanalysis. To be more specific, there are roughly 200 psychoanalytic schools. The analyst uses the theory that he accepts or convinces him, irrespective of the empirical backing he has in supervised investigations.

Regardless of whether or not he agrees with a theory, the cognitive-behavioral therapist must prioritize methods that have been empirically validated in past studies that show a technique’s efficacy in certain diseases.

A scientific study in the clinical field has been encouraged in several countries, with the goal of establishing exact criteria for which therapies are beneficial for certain illnesses.

As a result, when determining which approaches to use to aid their patients, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist must examine such characteristics.

The Patient Is Given Information About The Techniques

The patient is frequently not aware that the analyst will not explicitly address their concerns or grounds for consultation in psychoanalysis.

Furthermore, in Freud-Lacanian psychoanalysis, the person must “suppose” that the analyst has “knowledge”; in principle, he cannot directly reply to the patient’s request for aid by altering the symptom, as this “blocks” or “interferes” with free association.

For instance, if the person has anxiety, the analyst will not use relaxation techniques because this would imply dealing on the “surface” rather than the ostensible “conflict.”

Naturally, the ethical issue that arises as a result of the absence of factual information about the psychoanalytic approach is that the patient spends months, if not years, thinking that the analyst uses techniques to solve his condition.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the therapist must make the techniques he will use transparent to the patient. Psychoeducation, or the explanation of core theoretical concepts and technical methods, is an inescapable component of most psychiatric illness treatment regimens.

As a result of the fact that he is told in a transparent manner about the intervention techniques that will be executed and the reasons for them, the patient is given the opportunity to choose.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a broad, adaptable, and successful treatment option. It produces substantial improvements in a short period of time in a wide range of illnesses and conditions.

It is also the psychological viewpoint with the most scientific evidence of effectiveness. When going to therapy, however, it is advisable to learn about the various options and select the method with which you feel most comfortable.

The impact of psychoanalysis developed during the early twentieth century. It did not, however, go unnoticed by its critics. Psychoanalysis, despite its shortcomings, continued playing an important part in the development of psychology. It shaped our approach to the treatment of mental illnesses, and it still has an impact on psychology today.


  • Despite the fact that most psychodynamic theories did not depend on experimental research, psychoanalysis thought helped in the development of experimental psychology through its methodologies and theories.
  • Several of the psychodynamic theorists’ ideas of personality, like Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage theory and Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory, continue to influence the area today.
  • Psychoanalysis gave rise to a new perspective on mental illness, namely that talking out concerns with a psychoanalytic specialist could help a person feel less depressed.


  • The unconscious mind, aggression, sex, and childhood experiences were all overemphasized in Freud’s beliefs.
  • Several of the psychoanalytic theorists’ beliefs are difficult to assess and define.
  • Instead of empirical, scientific study, much of Freud’s views were based on case studies and clinical findings.


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