Psychoanalysis vs CBT: uncovering the unconscious

The old and new of psychotherapy

Through an in-depth look at the inner workings of psychoanalysis, and a look into the logic of CBT, we are able to compare the two. While CBT will work for some with its more practical focus, others will benefit more from psychoanalysis’ deep look into the peculiarities of our psyches and the unconscious, writes Denise Cullington.


Based on his observations of himself, his dreams and impulses, and on his work with patients, Freud discovered a part of mind that was not available to logical scrutiny, it was the unconscious.

This includes what is less available because it stems from earliest experience, before there were words in which to ‘think’. But, Freud argued, the unconscious also stems from feelings which are shameful, conflictual – and we expend energy in pushing such disturbing feelings from our minds. We may experience anxieties and bodily symptoms, but we no longer know what it is that disturbs us.

Even when early

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation