Body System,  Health Care

How is Behavior Therapy Different Than Psychoanalysis?

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The methods utilized to treat mental and emotional issues differ from one another. Learn more about how behavior therapy, psychoanalysis, and other modalities vary by reading this article.

The methods utilized to treat mental and emotional issues differ from one another. Psychology employs thousands of different types of therapy to help people suffering from mental and emotional discomfort feel better. There are a few broad categories in which these types of therapy—including online therapy—fall.

How does behavior therapy operate?

Based on the idea that behaviors are the result of lessons learned in the past, behavioral therapy takes an action-oriented approach to mental health. Distress results from learned bad behavioral patterns.

It is therefore feasible to learn new, desired behaviors and diminish or eliminate undesirable and harmful behaviors since behavior is learned. People who battle: can benefit from behavioral treatment.

  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Disordered hyperactivity and attention deficit (ADHD)
  • The disordered use of drugs
  • Disorder of compulsive behavior (OCD)
  • Behavioral problems brought on by communication problems
  • Behavioral problems brought on by emotional difficulties
  • Defiant actions

How does psychoanalysis operate?

Since psychological problems are believed to be rooted in these latent disturbances, psychoanalysis tries to bring unconscious thoughts, wants, feelings, and memories into consciousness.

Repressed trauma and unresolved developmental and childhood issues are thought to be causes of mental health problems. Making the unconscious conscious and gaining insight into it allows individuals to deal with it and aids in issue solving.

People who battle: can benefit from psychoanalysis.

  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Fear strikes
  • Depression
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Sexually inappropriate
  • Workaholism

How is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis and behavior therapy both attempt to lessen psychological symptoms, enhance mental health, and enhance the patient’s quality of life.

Success depends on a number of variables, including the ailment being treated, the techniques used, and the client-therapist dynamic.

These two types of therapy do have some significant distinctions from one another, though.

Belief structure

According to behaviorists, undesirable and harmful behaviors can be taught. As a result, new knowledge may result in altered behavior. Reinforcing beneficial behaviors and eradicating negative ones are the basic objectives of behavioral therapy. Behavior therapy does not prioritize a person’s past experiences.

Psychoanalysis holds that people’s mental health problems are caused by repressed emotions in the unconscious mind.

We must therefore explore the unconscious mind to bring it to light in order for long-lasting, effective adjustments to take place.

Time period

Psychoanalysis and behavioral treatment have quite different time frames. Psychoanalysis treatment involves two or more sessions each week for the patient. This may last for a number of years.

The length of behavior therapy is shorter. In fact, five sessions are often enough to finish various cognitive behavioral therapy courses. Keep in mind that the patient’s response will also affect how long the two therapies last.


Therapy approaches taken by behaviorists and psychoanalysts are very dissimilar. Behavioral therapy is intensely concentrated and action-oriented, frequently with predetermined, quantifiable goals. By encouraging the client’s preferred or good actions, the therapist aids in behavioral transformation.

Psychoanalysis sessions are typically guided by the patient. In certain sessions, the analyst might not even speak at all. To relieve pain brought on by ideas, memories, and feelings, the patient’s train of thinking is crucial.

Techniques and strategies

Techniques used in behavioral therapy are based on the concepts of classical and operant conditioning. These consist of:

  • Orthodox conditioning
  • Comprehensive desensitization
  • Aversion treatment
  • Flooding
  • Conditioning operations
  • Contingency planning
  • The token economy
  • Extinction
  • Modeling of behavior

Strategies used in psychoanalytic therapy include:

  • Freely combining
  • Interpretation of dreams
  • Analysis of the transference of inkblots

What to choose- psychoanalysis or behavior therapy?

Despite the enormous success these therapies have had, there is no proof that they are the most efficient.

Before making a final choice, take into account the following:

  • Unconscious drives and tensions are investigated in psychoanalysis. Consider getting psychoanalytic treatment if you wish to delve deeper into your unconscious thoughts and emotions.The only issue is that while behavior therapy provides the option of insurance coverage, psychoanalysis is relatively pricey. Behavior therapy is frequently more economical than psychoanalysis if you have insurance.
  • Behavior therapy is the real thing for patients who are willing to alter their outward behavior.For instance, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), therapists concentrate on assisting clients in recognizing and critiquing the ideas and assumptions that keep them enmeshed in their issues.In contrast to psychoanalysis, patients are able to immediately and quickly alter their behavior in this way.
  • Another thing to think about is how long you want to spend in therapy. The duration of psychoanalysis sessions might be prolonged, whereas behavior therapy sessions are often shorter.
  • Psychoanalysis looks at the past, whereas behavior therapy concentrates on the present and is more evidence-based.


Psychotherapy’s goals include assisting individuals in changing and developing as well as reducing the symptoms of illnesses like anxiety and sadness. You should think about your goals, problems, and preferred method of therapeutic treatment while selecting the one that will best address your mental health issues.

What makes behavior therapy unique from psychoanalysis, and which should you pick? As we’ve established, one of the key distinctions between behavior therapy and psychoanalysis is that the former focuses on altering behavior, while the latter analyzes thinking. However, there is evidence that both behavior therapy and psychoanalysis are effective treatments for many people.

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