Psychodynamic therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are two of the most prominent psychotherapeutic treatments. Both are extremely successful talk-based therapy for a variety of difficulties and concerns.

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Psychodynamic Therapy vs CBT

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What is Psychodynamic Therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy aims to gain insight. In other words, this method focuses on assisting you in understanding how your early life experiences have influenced your current life.

Examining your relationship with your parents, your early attachment style, and how you behaved with your siblings as a child are all examples of this.

You will learn deep-seated elements of yourself, such as long-term relationship patterns, interpersonal conflicts, components of your personality, and emotional growth stages.

How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?

This type of treatment emphasizes the importance of our early childhood experiences and how they affect us as adults.

It also claims that both conscious and unconscious impulses drive human behavior, and that simply talking about difficulties can assist people in gaining a better grasp of how their history impacts their current behavior.

Who is Psychodynamic Therapy For?

Psychodynamic therapy is a typical approach to treat people with mental diseases and can be used to aid individuals who are struggling with substance dependence.

This sort of treatment is also beneficial to people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or personality problems.

Patients who get psychodynamic therapy have a greater understanding of their feelings and why they act the way they do.

The patient can develop greater confidence and discover better ways to interact with others, resulting in stronger relationships.

What Happens During Psychodynamic Therapy Sessions?

One of the therapist’s most significant responsibilities is to examine the client’s background. This type of treatment considers that the client’s childhood and early life experiences have a substantial influence on the client’s current concerns.

Discussions about the individual’s childhood and life experiences are a huge part of the psychodynamic sessions.

The therapist watches how the client interacts with one another in the therapeutic connection and adds their perspective on the client’s relationship patterns to the conversation.

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What is CBT?

When the idea and practices of cognitive and behavioral therapy were integrated, CBT was born.

Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis were psychologists who studied how our ideas affect our emotional reactions. The findings were integrated with the findings of behaviorists like Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner and John Watson who studied the reinforcing power of behavior.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on gaining a better understanding of an individual’s current thinking processes and actions, as well as, detecting patterns that may be leading to broader life difficulties.

CBT is a systematic method of treatment that teaches clients how their cognitions impact their actions and how to change troublesome habits.

Therapists can work with clients to change their thought processes by breaking down the automatic thinking processes that are happening.

CBT is founded on the idea that modifying maladaptive thinking can lead to behavioral improvements. Clients can change dysfunctional habits by modifying erroneous ideas and behaviors.

Individuals can experience behavioral, cognitive, and emotional transformation by detecting thought distortions. Although CBT is as effective as medication when it comes to treating specific mental health concerns, it is not built for everyone.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT is constructed on the concept that an individual’s thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and actions are all linked and that negative ideas and feelings may keep you trapped in a vicious cycle.

By breaking down overwhelming situations into smaller components, CBT seeks to help individuals cope with them more constructively. Individuals will learn how to break these negative tendencies and enhance their moods.

Unlike other talking therapies, CBT’s objective is to focus on your current challenges rather than the past. It seeks practical methods for improving mental health daily.

Who is CBT For?

People who are grieving can benefit from CBT.  This therapy can help people with anxiety or depression learn to cope with stressful situations in their lives.

CBT is effective even if a person does not have a documented mental condition. The therapy may be quite beneficial in assisting people in altering their maladaptive and negative thought patterns.

Furthermore, it provides a method for dealing with real-world challenges. CBT is a therapy that can be beneficial to people of all ages, and it can be used with or without medication.

Why CBT Doesn’t Work for Trauma & PTSD?

What Happens During CBT Sessions?

In CBT therapy, you will meet with a therapist once a week or every two weeks. Treatment lasts between 5 and 20 sessions, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.

You will work with your therapist to break down your problems into their component pieces. For instance, ideas, bodily sensations, and behaviors that occur during the sessions.

You and your therapist will examine these areas to see whether they are unrealistic or harmful, as well as to see how they interact with one another and with you.

After that, your therapist will be able to assist you in determining how to modify unhelpful ideas and behaviors.

After you have figured out what you can alter, your therapist will ask you to put those adjustments into practice in your everyday life. Later, you will talk about how it went in the following session.

The ultimate goal of therapy is to educate individuals on how to apply what they have learned in treatment.

Even after the therapy is over, this should help people manage their difficulties and prevent them from having a detrimental influence on their life.

similarities between cbt and psychodynamic therapy

Similarities Between Psychodynamic Therapy vs CBT

Symptom reduction, increased personal and interpersonal functioning are common aims in both psychodynamic therapy and CBT.

A positive therapeutic connection between the client and the therapist, according to a large body of research, is the most important aspect of the effectiveness of any sort of treatment.

In other words, the connection between therapist and client, rather than the style of treatment, impacts client results. The best therapy outcomes are reported by clients who feel deeply understood, accepted, and emotionally supported.

If you have anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you are likely to be locked in a negative thinking cycle. Your views and ideas are twisted and overpowering, indicating difficulty with your cognitive process.

Differences Between Psychodynamic Therapy vs CBT


In terms of approaches and strategies, psychoanalysis and CBT are not the same. They may also have different objectives.

Psychodynamic therapy provides a more comprehensive approach to treatment. The objective is to learn more about the brain, how one’s thinking works, and the link between thinking, personality, and behavior.

CBT focuses on behavior and adopts a more problem-solving approach. It is less concerned with the full person and more focused on locating quick tools to assist the client in addressing a specific sort of thinking pattern that causes them distress.


In psychodynamic therapy, the therapist or analyst usually provides a welcoming environment in which the client is free to talk about whatever they desire.

The client returns, preferably every day they receive enough welcoming opportunities to talk about their lives in full detail that they start noticing their behavior patterns.

The subconscious is what psychoanalysts refer to when behaviors become habits. The key is that we behave without being aware of why we are doing it in the first place.

According to the notion, if you become aware of what motivates your behavior, you may discover a better approach to achieve your goal or perhaps alter it.

On the other hand, CBT is less concerned with how a habit was formed or what problem it was created to answer. In reality, CBT is primarily intended to address particular types of cognitive patterns that frequently result in discomfort.

CBT is based on the idea that recurrent ideas or intrinsic features are either incorrect or arbitrary. By thinking counter-thoughts to these harmful ones, we may cognitively fight against our instinctive thoughts, allowing us to replace them with more beneficial ones.

You can also check our article about CBT vs REBT or CBT vs EMDR.


If you are seeking a long-term solution to your difficulties, psychodynamic psychotherapy can be a good option.

CBT, on the other hand, is a brief, time-limited treatment therapy that lasts from 6 sessions to 12 sessions. The focus is on particular goals rather than past experiences.

Final Thought

Psychodynamic therapy is a typical approach to treat people with mental diseases and can be used to aid individuals who are struggling with substance dependence.

This sort of treatment is also beneficial to people who suffer from depression, anxiety, or personality problems.

CBT seeks to assist the client in fixing their cognitive process by breaking down overwhelming ideas and feelings into smaller chunks. Also, it assists them in adopting a coping mechanism to promote good behavioral and emotional improvements.

Some therapists may combine the two methods, for example, using CBT techniques to give symptom alleviation at first before moving on to a psychodynamic perspective.

Moreover, the bond between the therapist and the client is a major factor that accounts for the improvement in therapy. Your therapist will have a certain set of skills, expertise, tactics, and approach. The most important factor is how well you connect with them.


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