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How Is Behavior Therapy Different than Psychoanalysis?

two people discuss how Behavior therapy different than psychoanalysis

Today, psychotherapy is the most widely used treatment for people with substance use disorders. It also plays a significant role in treating other mental health conditions. When many people hear the word therapy, they think of traditional psychoanalysis. However, many of the most useful options—including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—are not based on analysis. Instead, they belong to a newer school of treatment known as behavior therapy. Analysis and behavior therapy share some elements in common. But there are also some crucial differences between them.

Finding the right treatment plan to help overcome addiction and navigate the road to recovery can be overwhelming. The team at Northpoint Colorado can help you create a behavior therapy treatment plan that works to achieve your goals. Get started today by calling 888.231.1281.

How Is Behavior Therapy Different than Psychoanalysis?

Psychoanalysis and behavior therapy focus on a similar set of broad treatment goals. These goals include:

  • Relieving the specific symptoms affecting you
  • Improving your overall sense of mental wellness
  • Boosting your general quality of life

However, the two schools of therapy are based on different underlying principles. As its name indicates, behavior therapy focuses on your behavior. It seeks to help you eliminate behaviors that harm your well-being. At the same time, it enables you to strengthen behaviors that support your well-being.

Meanwhile, psychoanalysis focuses mainly on your unconscious life. It seeks to reveal repressed emotions that are harming your mental health. In this way, it aims to bring about positive change.

Behavior Therapy vs. Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is also sometimes known as talk therapy. That’s true because it primarily centers around your verbal expression of your thoughts, dreams, fantasies, and experiences.

There is also a talk-oriented element to behavior therapy. However, overall, the treatment is less verbal than psychoanalysis. Instead, it takes a more active approach. Specific methods may include things such as:

  • Role-playing
  • Behavior modeling
  • Providing rewards for positive results

You may also receive tips on how to maintain your recovery over time.

Goal-Oriented Differences Between Behavior Therapy and Psychoanalysis

As noted, behavior therapy and psychoanalysis share many treatment goals. However, they tend to view those goals in different terms. In addition to being action-based, behavior therapy typically sets specific objectives. You and your therapist both determine the nature of these recovery milestones. Progress is measured in terms of your ability to reach them.

Psychoanalysis is not as intensely focused on measurable objectives. Instead, it follows a much looser model for progress and improvement. Analysts also play a less prominent role. They may provide relatively minimal guidance as you explore your unconscious in any given session.

Duration Differences in Psychoanalysis vs. Behavior Therapy

Duration is another way in which behavior therapy is different than psychoanalysis. As a rule, behavior therapy is a short-term treatment. Some forms of this therapy can produce their intended results in weeks. Others may require you to receive several months of treatment. In addition, you may need behavior therapy for a year or more.

Still, even a long course of behavior therapy might not last as long as psychoanalysis. It’s not uncommon to stay in psychoanalysis for multiple years. That’s not to say that this form of treatment is open-ended. It can just take much longer to complete than behavior therapy.

Learn More About How Behavior Therapy Differs from Psychoanalysis at Northpoint

Want more information on how psychoanalysis differs from behavior therapy? Talk to the specialists at Northpoint Colorado. We can provide a full rundown on the differences between the two approaches. We can also explain more about the things they share in common.

Northpoint Colorado proudly features behavior therapy. Your treatment plan may also include medication. Our goal is to provide the best possible support for your recovery. In all cases, treatment is fully customized. You’ll always receive help suited to your unique personal circumstances. Call us today at 888.231.1281 to learn more. We’re also available through our online form.