Cognitive therapy also referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy, is a form of mental health treatment or psychotherapy, as is psychoanalysis. However, the processes differ greatly. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term therapy aimed at helping patients identify patterns that cause negative thinking and behaviors that lead to problems. During this process, you may work with clients to identify the thought patterns that may be harmful, irrational or fear-based and result in negative outcomes; the goal is to replace them with healthy and productive thought patterns.
Working as a CBT health therapist, you may help clients set goals and clear out negative thought patterns that prevent them from moving forward following a divorce or a recent job loss, for instance. This career can be rewarding if you derive satisfaction from helping people realize their goals quickly and efficiently.
In psychoanalysis, however, the therapist probes past behavior, the inner psyche or unconscious and subconscious impulses within the mind of patients, usually by delving into their childhood. The goal of psychoanalysis includes bringing unconscious behavioral patterns to the surface, gaining awareness and identifying how they influence behavior. Psychoanalysis typically takes years and the patient is in treatment two to three times per week.