The Revenge of Freud: CBT and psychoanalysis

Oliver Burkeman has written in the Guardian a long, and gripping, article on the clash between Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and psychoanalysis.

Cartoon of Freud tying a patient in knots

Illustration: Peter Gamlen for the Guardian

Psychoanalysis has been declining over recent years, partly because of a lack of evidence of effectiveness.  But this is now changing.  The article draws on the recent Tavistock Depression Study (see Marcus West’s post) which has shown extremely postive results for psychoanalysis.

After two years’ treatement, the results for CBT and psychoanalysis are similar.  But, over time, the postive results of CBT diminish, while those from  psychoanalysis increase.  It could be that CBT treats the symptoms but psychoanalysis is getting to the causes of the problem.

There’s something deeply appealing about the idea that therapy shouldn’t be approached as a matter of science – that our individual lives are too distinctive to be submitted to the relentless generalisation by which science must proceed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *