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The purpose of this study is to describe the psychoanalytic theory and cognitive – behavioral theory. The description is done by comparing both the theory and other different facts and figures which makes them apart. The cognitive – behavioral theory and the psychoanalytic theory are both related to theory of development and psychotherapy to treat the people. In this study, main focused is on the difference in the procedure and technique used in both the theory with the help of literature review and also discussed that which theory is better and the different aspects of the particular theory. Comparison is done on the basis of basic definition, historical perspective and other related things (Murray, 2012).
According to Ahmed (2012), Psychoanalytic theory was given by Sigmund Freud, human mind has both conscious and unconscious feelings and people can be cured by investigating unconscious thoughts and motivations and try to make them conscious. The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is used to overcome the repressed emotions and experiences and make the unconscious into conscious. This therapy is commonly used to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders. The personality structure of human is mainly consisting of three elements i.e. the id, the ego and the superego. On the other hand cognitive – behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy which basically deals with the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are causing problems to the people. Cognitive therapy suggests that negative thoughts and behaviors are responsible for the depression and anxiety occurred among the people. This therapy helps people to become aware of the thoughts and behaviors that causing psychological distress.
According to Murray (2012) Psychoanalytic therapy is slow process and sometime takes months or years as it is based on recalling the past events and experts analysis all the unconscious thoughts from the childhood that affects the present behaviour and thoughts of the patient. The basic goal of the psychoanalysis is to determining unconscious behavioral and thoughts in order to identify the problems causing to the patient. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short term process as compared to the psychoanalytic because the aim of this theory is to change the client’s thinking. Cognitive therapy does not emphasize on the past events but considers only the present thinking of the client. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective but it should not be considered that psychoanalytic is less effective. Both the theories have their own importance and treatment is done on considering the patients appearance.
When comparing the similarities between psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapy, focus would generally on the common procedures and approaches used in both therapies. Both CBT and psychoanalytic therapy emphasized on ‘here and now’ principle. There are many incidents related to childhood and young age is taken into consideration during the cognitive behavioral therapy which is also seen in the psychoanalysis process, as Psychoanalytic therapy is basically bringing the unconscious conscious. The CBT and psychoanalytic therapy are used to treat the people who suffered from depression and anxiety, the aim is similar but the procedure is quite different (Tolin, 2010). Both CBT and psychoanalytic therapy are working to process the people’s thought and analyze behaviors for the treatment. The significant feature of CBT which is in contrast to the psychoanalytic therapy is that it lies in ‘here and now’ which enables the individual to know his own problems. CBT analyze all the condition of the person and try to relate with the present. Therapists believe that negative thought processing and behaviors are responsible for the anxiety and the depression of the client and could only be cured by working together on the issues (Monti, Tonetti and Bitti, 2014).
In contrast, the differences in the process of change in the psychoanalytic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are quite unique. In psychoanalytic approach the process of change involves in the encouraging the client to uncover the past events and their associated memories. By obtaining the insight, the client would achieve new perspective which will form the basis of healing and change. On the other hang cognitive behavioral therapy do not focus on the past and deals only with the present symptoms and sometimes missing underlying problems. The cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the assumption that emotional and behavioral change would be overcome by changes in belief and interpretations (Stolorow, 2012).
In contrast, the style of working in both the therapies is quite different and there are various features which can be used to identify the differences like:
Duration – CBT is relatively a short term process as compared to the psychoanalytic therapy. CBT is basically deals with present and therapists are analyzing the client on the basis of his/her thoughts and behaviors and after analysis of their problems they are trying to make client positive with structural procedures and sessions. Near about 12 weeks to 6 months are generally taken for the CBT therapy and on the other hand psychoanalytic is generally a long process and may take six months or longer. Therefore CBT is relatively time limited and Psychoanalytic is time consuming process.
Working style –Therapists generally followed a structural procedure for the treatment of depression or anxiety in case of CBT therapy. The sessions conducted are highly specific and agenda is set by the therapists for each and every session. Psychoanalytic is less structured and there is no n homework assignment for the client and the agenda of the session is decided by the therapist after talking to the client because in psychoanalysis all the past events are considered to deal with the present condition of the client, whatever incidence strikes the mind of the client will be the agenda for the session (Driessen, and Hollan, 2011).
Procedure -CBT focuses only on here and now and do not considered the personal history and generally discussion is made on present condition. On the other hand psychoanalytic therapy is also emphasis on ‘here and now’ but also gives importance to the personal history. As mentioned earlier psychoanalysis is making unconscious conscious therefore it is necessary to know about the past events for the treatment. That’s why psychoanalytic therapy takes longer time as compared to the CBT (Olatunji, and Deacon, 2010).
Focus of treatment –In CBT relationship with therapist is not considered very much and there is no focus on the therapy. In case of psychoanalytic therapy, the relationship with the therapist is included as focus of the therapy. CBT is generally a specific and precise approach to deal with the client’s problems and researchers observed that the focus is mainly on the treatment not on the relationship. Relationship with therapist would matters the most in psychoanalytic therapy in order to get insights and other personal history. For example while recalling past events, client has to put pressure on the mind and to make client calm therapist involvement is required in this type of therapy.
Cost –CBT is considered as less expensive as compared to the psychoanalytic therapy because CBT is a short term treatment process and do not require long session. In psychoanalytic therapy, the cases are more complex and sensitive which takes long time and some people thought that it is quite expensive and do not opt for the therapy. The cost does not make much difference between the two theories as it totally depends on the condition of the patient that which type of therapy would be beneficial and effective and result oriented.
Advocates of CBT argue that briefer methods are effective and time saving while others argued that deeper treatment is required to produce long lasting changes. As CBT is short process and psychoanalytic is long but it all depends on the therapist to decide which type of approach would benefits the client. Some studies emphasized that for the effective treatment of complex mental disorders, psychoanalytic therapy would be better and good (Huber; Zimmermann; Henrich and Klug, 2012).
Considering the differences in the therapeutic interventions between psychoanalytic and CBT therapy, the key therapeutic interventions used in the psychoanalytic therapy are free association, thematic apperception or Rorschach inkblot test, Para praxis, dream analysis, hypnosis, etc. On the other therapeutic interventions used in Cognitive behavioral therapy would be systematic desensitization, reality testing, identifying negative thoughts and unusual behaviour, etc. Cognitive therapy is a directive and goal oriented therapy and as mentioned earlier do not focuses on the client’s past. In psychoanalytic therapy, the client may depend on the counselor for the further proceedings of the session while in cognitive behavioral therapy, the client is taught to be autonomous and do not need the support of the therapists. These therapeutic differences related to both the therapies make them unique and suggest that CBT and Psychoanalytic therapy are quite different in terms of the techniques used for the treatment. Therapeutic interventions are scientifically evidence based and do not assumed by the therapists (Stolorow, 2012).
Cognitive behavioral therapy was invented by psychiatrist Aaron beck. According to the theory of CBT, it’s not thought that makes us upset or unhappy but how we react to them is important. For example, sometimes we try to learn new things but due to past experience we develop negative thoughts and this led to the depression and anxiety which affects our confidence and creates a kind of fear. Hence Beck called it cognitive therapy as this therapy generally focuses on the thinking of the people and also named as cognitive behavioral as it employs both thinking and behaviour (Dreher, and Sandler, 2013).
In contrast, psychodynamic theory is basically an insight oriented therapy and mainly focuses on the unconscious processes which influence the present behaviour of individuals. Psychodynamic therapy is based on the four psychoanalytic theories: Freudian, Ego Psychology, object relations and Self psychology. It do not considered current the thinking and behaviors but try to connect present with past events and realize the person that whatever happened to his beliefs and thinks, could be the effect of the past events. As mentioned above it is a long process and the healing and changes might take more than one year in some cases. It is a descriptive type of therapy which emphasizes on each and every aspect of the past events and tries to uncover maximum incidence for the effective treatment (Hall, 2013).
Hence Cognitive Behavioral therapy and psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy are quite similar in the approach but the procedures and technique involved in both the therapies are different and can be very effective for the person suffering from mental disorders. CBT is problem focused and action oriented therapy, the patient is active participant in the CBT and correcting the negative and thus quite aware of the treatment procedure. In psychoanalytic therapy, the patient is generally not aware about the treatment procedure because it based on the dream analysis or hypnosis and other activities which performed with unconscious mind (Orfanos, 2106).
The main drawback of psychoanalytic therapy is that it can span several years and hence quite costly because for more serious cases sessions are arranged for two or three times a week as well as there is no guarantee of success as the final outcome depends on the type of client’s mental ability and attitude. The overall procedure involves in psychoanalytic therapy quite long and sometimes the patients would get irritated because therapist probe their inner psyche, sometimes people are not comfortable and leave the therapy in between. In contrast, cognitive behavioral therapies is quite specific and short term process and give specific results but there are some factors which also criticizes CBT therapy. CBT therapy cannot long last and sometimes the patient would get affected by the depression and anxiety after some time. CBT also does not give any guarantee of success but more effective as compared to the psychoanalytic therapy. It is not time consuming and client is comfortable with procedure as the whole agenda is decided by the therapist and patient need to think positively in order to overcome the depression and anxiety (Orfanos, 2106).
Differences and Similarities can also be explained on the basis of pros and cons of the CBT and psychoanalytic therapy. There are various studies which showed that both the therapies have their own advantages and disadvantages. Comparing both the therapies on the basis of pros and cons could more clear understanding.
CBT is brief and goal oriented and more affordable therapy and therapy is also supported by scientific evidence. It is a collaborative approach, the client and the therapist both work together to overcome the problems and works as a team. CBT is very effective and affordable as compared to the psychoanalytic therapy. On other hand this type of therapy is specific and do not have any relevance to the childhood activities, issues related to the past cannot be addressed which makes it less effective. The Structure of CBT is highly complex and the process is also fast, therefore individuals suffering from high mental disorders would find difficulties and do not get benefit from this type of therapy (Back, 2011).
On the other hand psychodynamic therapy is long and addresses the root cause of the psychological distress and complexity of human behaviour. It is not specific to particular activities but has focus on overall personality of the person and encourages free association and there are no rules and regulations made by the therapist in this psychoanalytic therapy and hence allow the patient to freely express the past events. There are certain disadvantages to this therapy like it is less structure as compared to CBT and discuss childhood and personal history which is uncomfortable. This therapy is totally based unconscious mind and the patient is not aware of the procedures and rely on the therapist for the analysis of the treatment (Kendall, and Hollan, 2013).
It is concluded that CBT and psychoanalytic therapy are very effective to treat mental disorders. In addition, there are also various types of therapies used by the professionals for the counseling of the patient. CBT is assumed to be more effective as compared to psychoanalytic therapy because of various factors like short term process, goal oriented and affordable. CBT is time limited, short term therapy and mainly emphasis on learning new patterns rather than analyzing why the dysfunctional patterns are there. Psychoanalytic therapy on the other hand works on basis of the theories and practices suggested by the Freudian. Psychoanalytic therapy works on the principle that the person’s behaviour is affected by the unconscious mind and by the past experiences. It is a long practical based therapy which analyze by recalling events related to childhood and the behaviour of family members is also taken into consideration. Psychodynamic therapy is less intense than other formal psychoanalysis. Sessions are not frequently unlike CBT where sessions are organized in formal and structural way and agenda for each session is decided by the therapist. In contrasting, psychoanalytic therapy sessions are open ended and based on free association. Hence in conclusion, each model has its own strength and weakness and individuals may find one approach more effective, appropriate and specific. It all depends on the severity and depth of the problem that which type of therapy would be effective. Both CBT and psychoanalytic therapies are most commonly used by the practitioners (Tolin, 2010).
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