This table provides a comparison of behavior therapy (modification) to a second major approach to therapy (Psychoanalysis). For brevity's sake, both approaches have been simplified.
|Behavior Therapy||versus Psychoanalysis|
|Focus on observable behavior. Rejects traditional notion of "underlying causes" or "unconscious."||Focus on inferred constructs, especially id, ego, superego|
|The environment and learning cause maladaptive behaviors. (Some behavior is explainable by genetics).||Unconscious processes cause behavior.|
|Psychological learning principles can modify behavior. Change comes from action.||Uncover "underlying" causes. Change comes from talking, "insight".|
Goals are specific and objectively defined.
|Goals? If any, vague: "feel better."|
|Behavior is situation specific. "Traits," such as "laziness," are invented concepts and unnecessary for change.||"Traits" are considered formed by age 5 and set for life.|
|Pull from a variety of techniques and adapt them to the individual client. Search for new techniques. Ex. systematic desensitization, token economy,||1 general treatment for every client (talking), eg dream analysis, free association|
|Focus on the present. Is change occurring now? What in the immediate environment is contributing to the behavior?||Searches what happened to the client in the past (typically childhood).|
|Research a therapeutic technique to determine if it is truly effective. Submit treatment to evaluation. Change if it isn't working. Reject self-report as basis for determining worth of treatment.||Reliance on case history (self-report) for evaluation of treatment .|
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