Have you ever wondered, how is behavior therapy different from psychoanalysis? These two therapy approaches have distinct goals, techniques, and processes, but both aim to address and improve mental states.

In this blog post, we will explore the fundamentals of behavior therapy and psychoanalysis, compare their goals and focus, discuss their effectiveness and suitability, and introduce online therapy options for both. Get ready to dive deep into the world of therapy and better understand which approach might be the best fit for you or a loved one.

How is behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis?

Short Summary

  • Behavior therapy and psychoanalysis are two distinct approaches to mental health treatment with different goals, processes, durations and effectiveness.
  • Cost, commitment level and compatibility between patient & therapist influence which is more suitable for an individual case.
  • Online options provide increased accessibility & convenience for clients to access either form of therapy from home.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Understanding cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method that encourages individuals to analyze their thoughts and behaviors, aiming to recognize erroneous thinking and behavioral reactions. It is a popular form of behavioral therapy that focuses on changing behaviors and thoughts to improve mental health.

Various techniques are utilized in CBT, including flooding therapy, aversion therapy, and systematic desensitization. The primary objective of CBT is to confront and substitute undesirable thought patterns with more beneficial ones, resulting in enhanced mental health.

Behavioral therapy is founded on the concept that behavior is acquired and can be modified through reinforcement and punishment. It aims to alter the client’s reaction to occurrences in life and uses techniques such as reinforcement, punishment, shaping, modeling, and associated techniques to modify behavior.

Key Principles of Behavioral Therapy

One of the key principles of behavioral therapy is that behavior is learned and can be changed through reinforcement and punishment. This approach focuses on addressing existing issues and altering detrimental behaviors in the present, rather than delving into a person’s past experiences.

Techniques employed in behavioral therapy include CBT, flooding therapy, aversion therapy, and systematic desensitization. Each of these techniques serves a unique purpose in helping individuals overcome mental health issues and develop healthier thought patterns and behaviors.

Techniques in Behavior Therapy

Techniques in behavior therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on altering detrimental cognitive processes and behaviors. It utilizes exposure therapy and relaxation techniques to help clients confront their fears and anxieties in a controlled and safe environment. CBT focuses on assisting individuals to respond proactively. This approach teaches people the skills to handle issues that become too difficult.

Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy is another technique employed in behavior therapy, wherein a client is administered a medication or participates in an activity that induces an aversion to a particular behavior, such as substance use or unhealthy eating habits. This method aims to help clients associate negative consequences with their problematic behaviors, ultimately leading to changed behavior.

Flooding Therapy

Flooding therapy is a technique employed in behavioral therapy wherein the individual confronts their apprehension immediately rather than gradually. The rationale behind flooding is that initial fear responses are limited to a certain period of time, and once the fear subsides and the individual perceives that they are unharmed, their fear should vanish.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) aims to teach clients how to deal with distressing feelings and interpersonal conflicts by teaching them how to utilize their various skills. It employs mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional control, and interpersonal effectiveness techniques.

Systematic Desensitization

Systematic desensitization, on the other hand, is a relaxation technique that assists clients in gradually replacing fear and anxiety with a relaxation reaction. It is employed to treat anxiety, panic, and phobias, helping individuals cope with their fears in a step-by-step manner.

Delving into Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is a form of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud in the late nineteenth century. This therapy is based on the belief that unconscious desires and conflicts are at the root of psychological issues. Unlike behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors, psychoanalysis delves into prior experiences and their effect on the individual’s current life.

The duration of psychoanalysis is typically longer than that of behavior therapy, often spanning over a number of years and comprising two or more meetings per week. However, it has the potential to reveal repressed memories and unconscious patterns, which can facilitate greater self-awareness and comprehension.

Freud’s Theories and the Birth of Psychoanalysis

Freud's theories and the birth of psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud, the originator of psychoanalysis, developed several theories that form the foundation of this therapy approach. His hypotheses concerning the unconscious psyche, dream deciphering, free association, and transference investigation are essential aspects of psychoanalysis.

Freud’s technique of dream interpretation aimed to comprehend his patients’ internal experiences, as dreams were viewed as a gateway to the unconscious mind. Free association, another key technique, involves the client speaking candidly and without direction, allowing the analyst to identify discrepancies or patterns in their articulation of emotions.

Transference analysis focuses on interpreting a patient’s unconscious emotions and reactions towards key figures from their past onto their therapist or analyst.

Core Concepts of Psychoanalysis

The fundamental components of psychoanalysis include the dynamic unconscious, the effect of early life experiences, and the ego/superego/id. The dynamic unconscious is the unconscious mind and the mental processes that are not accessible to conscious awareness. Childhood experiences play a significant role in an individual’s psychological growth, and psychoanalysis attempts to uncover these experiences and their influence on the individual.

The ego/superego/id is a psychoanalytic concept that refers to the three components of the human psyche. The ego is the conscious aspect of the mind, the superego is the moral side of the mind, and the identity is the unconscious part of the mind. These components interact and influence the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Comparing Behavior Therapy and Psychoanalysis

Comparing behavior therapy and psychoanalysis

Comparing behavior therapy and psychoanalysis, both have different goals and focus, treatment process and duration, and effectiveness and suitability. Behavior therapy adopts a proactive stance towards the treatment of mental health issues, focusing on changing thoughts and behaviors, while psychoanalysis involves the examination of unconscious thoughts to address unresolved matters that may be impacting mental health.

The objectives and emphasis of behavior therapy and psychoanalysis also differ. Behavior therapy concentrates on addressing existing issues and altering detrimental behaviors in the present, while psychoanalysis delves into prior experiences and their effect on the patient’s current life.

Goals and Focus

Behavior therapy concentrates on altering cognitions and behaviors, while psychoanalysis concentrates on identifying repressed memories and comprehending unconscious patterns. In behavior therapy, the therapist assists the patient in recognizing and examining detrimental thought patterns and behaviors and facilitates them in altering these thoughts and behaviors.

In psychoanalysis, the therapist assists the patient in exploring their unconscious mind to identify the source of their difficulties and provides interpretation and understanding to facilitate comprehension of these difficulties.

The therapist in psychoanalysis is more passive, aiding the patient in exploring their unconscious mind, while in behavior therapy, the therapist is more proactive and directive, assisting the patient in recognizing and examining negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Treatment Process and Duration

Treatment process and duration

The procedure and length of behavior therapy and psychoanalysis may differ depending on the person and the type of therapy being utilized. The number of sessions required for behavior therapy is generally fewer than those for psychoanalysis, with behavior therapy typically lasting for 3 to 5 months and psychoanalysis extending for several years.

The commitment level also varies between the two therapies. Behavior therapy typically necessitates fewer sessions and a comparatively lower commitment level, while psychoanalysis is a long-term treatment that may extend for years and requires multiple sessions over an extended period.

Effectiveness and Suitability

Research has found that both CBT and psychoanalysis have positive outcomes, but CBT may be more effective for depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that behavior therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), yields a noteworthy improvement in functioning and quality of life.

The best approach for an individual depends on their needs and preferences. Factors that may influence treatment choice include cost, commitment level, and the compatibility of the patient and therapist. For example, CBT is more economical than psychoanalysis sessions in total, and behavior therapy typically requires fewer sessions and a lower commitment level compared to psychoanalysis.

Research Findings and Outcomes

Research findings and outcomes

Studies have demonstrated that behavior therapy is effective in treating a vast array of conditions, and meta-analyses have determined that it is as effective as other psychological treatments. Research assessing predictors of outcome seeks to identify variables that are correlated with better or worse treatment outcomes.

On the other hand, research has also shown that psychoanalysis is an effective psychotherapy for mental health. Both CBT and psychoanalysis have their respective advantages and disadvantages, and it is imperative to consult a mental health professional to discern which method is best suited for you or your loved one.

Factors Influencing Treatment Choice

Several factors can affect the selection of behavior therapy or psychoanalysis as a treatment, such as cost, the amount of dedication required, and the compatibility of the patient and therapist. For instance, behavior therapy typically necessitates fewer sessions than psychoanalysis, and the commitment level is comparatively lower.

The relationship between the patient and therapist in each treatment also plays a role in treatment choice. In behavior therapy, the relationship is characterized by collaboration and an emphasis on problem-solving, while in psychoanalysis, the focus is on exploring the patient’s unconscious.

Online Therapy Options

Online therapy options

In today’s technology-driven world, online therapy options are available for both CBT and psychoanalysis. The primary benefit of online therapy is that one does not have to contend with traffic or make time in their workday to drive to the appointment. Instead, one may converse with their certified therapist from any location with an internet connection.

With the convenience of online therapy options, individuals can access the mental health support they need from the comfort of their own homes. This can be particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules or limited access to in-person therapy resources.

Online Behavior Therapy

Online behavior therapy involves the process of reframing negative thoughts into more positive ones. This type of therapy functions by assisting individuals in recognizing and confronting pessimistic thoughts and convictions, and replacing them with more constructive and realistic ones.

The advantages of online behavior therapy include enhancement of self-esteem, augmented confidence, and improved coping skills. With the flexibility of online therapy, clients can work on their mental health from the comfort of their own homes, at a time that suits them best.

Online Psychoanalysis

Online psychoanalysis is a form of psychoanalytic therapy that is conducted virtually, likely involving video sessions or other forms of online communication. This therapy primarily involves examining the unconscious mind and the relationship between the therapist and patient.

The advantages of online psychoanalysis are similar to those of online behavior therapy, with increased accessibility and convenience being key benefits. Clients can engage in therapy sessions from any location with an internet connection, making it easier for them to commit to the therapeutic process and work on their mental health.



In summary, both behavior therapy and psychoanalysis offer distinct approaches to addressing mental health issues, with behavior therapy focusing on changing thoughts and behaviors, and psychoanalysis delving into unconscious desires and conflicts. Research has shown that both therapies can be effective, but the best approach depends on individual needs and preferences.

With the availability of online therapy options, accessing the support and guidance needed to improve mental health is more convenient than ever. It is essential to consult a mental health professional to determine which therapy approach is the best fit for you or a loved one on the journey towards better mental well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the major difference between behavior therapist and psychoanalysis quizlet?

Behavior therapists focus on changing behaviors and modifying responses in the present, whereas psychoanalysis attempts to uncover underlying unconscious motivations from one’s past.

What is the difference between psychotherapy and behavioral therapy?

What is the difference between psychotherapy and behavioral therapy?

Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are two different approaches to mental health care that can both be effective in treating emotional or psychological difficulties. Psychotherapy focuses on identifying and exploring deeper root causes, while behavioral therapy targets behaviors as well as the thoughts and emotions underlying them.

This makes behavioral therapy more structured and action-oriented.

How are psychoanalysis and behavior therapy similar?

Psychoanalysis and behavior therapy share the common goal of helping people cope with psychological difficulties and improve their quality of life. Both approaches rely on uncovering unconscious conflicts and utilizing evidence-based techniques to facilitate change.

However, they differ in terms of how each approach focuses on different elements of a person’s inner world.

Is psychoanalysis a technique of Behaviour therapy?

Is psychoanalysis a technique of Behaviour therapy?

No, psychoanalysis is not a technique of behavior therapy. Rather, it is a different approach to helping people understand their psychological issues.

Behavioral therapy focuses on changing the person’s current behavior to improve outcomes.

What is the major difference between behavior therapist and psychoanalysis quizlet?

The major difference between behavior therapy and psychoanalysis is that behavior therapy focuses on modifying current behaviors, while psychoanalysis looks at past experiences to gain a better understanding of current behaviors.