Text Size

Because many of the terms used to describe different forms of therapy and counseling are rarely used in common conversation, trying to make sense of it all when you need some help can seem a little daunting. Here is a brief explanation of the difference between psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

Psychotherapy is an umbrella term that describes a number of different forms of talk therapy; other terms that can be used more or less interchangeably with the term psychotherapy include counseling and therapy. During psychotherapy, you talk with a trained professional about the way you feel, think and react to challenges in life with the ultimate goal of resolving or reducing the negative symptoms of an emotional or mental health problem.

Some different kinds of psychotherapy include:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Marital or family therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
  • Psychoanalytic therapy
  • Many other types


Psychoanalysis is a type of psychotherapy. It was developed by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800’s and it is based on overcoming the desires and negative influences of the unconscious mind.

Psychoanalysis is what is often thought of as therapy by those unfamiliar with the counseling process, with a patient reclined on a couch facing away from the therapist and talking about the past.

Psychoanalytic therapists encourage patients to use free association as a way to come to insights about unresolved issues from the past that are resulting in emotional or behavioral problems in the present.

Psychoanalysis is used most typically to treat patients suffering from neurosis or personality complaints. It is a very intensive (and thus expensive) form of therapy, as a typical course of therapy will often require 3-5 sessions per week over a period of years.

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Dec 10, 2010

Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Helpful Reading
Overcoming Panic: A Practical Case Study
Overcoming Panic Attacks - A Case Study and Practical Tips © Litherland
Pragmatic and in-depth approaches are what it takes to overcome panic attacks. Read Article
Co-Occurring Disorders August 30, 2013
Addiction Treatment Options - Pros and Cons
The Pros and Cons of Different Addiction Treatment Options © Danielle Zeda
This article outlines the different treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction. It explains what each treatment is like and gives some of the pros and cons of each type of treatment. Read Article
Addiction Treatment April 03, 2013 (4)
10 Ways to Change Your Thinking and Be Happier
Change Your Thinking and Feel Better: Learn to Identify These 10 Very Common Cognitive Distortions © Thomas Hawk
Do you ever feel angry when people don’t act as they should? Do you ever get hung up worrying about the worst case scenario? Do you forget to value your positive qualities as you obsess over your less favorable attributes? If you answered yes to any of the above, then cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be just what you need. Read Article
Counseling October 01, 2012
Find Help In...

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.