Savvy Tips Guru

Understanding Which is Better Between CBT and Psychodynamic Therapy

When you’re dealing with mental health issues, you might hear about two kinds of therapy: psychodynamic therapy and CBT. They have different ways of working, but they aim to help you feel better. But when it comes to psychodynamic therapy vs CBT, which is better? They both have pros and cons, and you need to understand them before deciding.

What is CBT?

CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a structured and goal-focused therapy that’s great for helping with many mental health issues like anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD. It works by teaming therapists with clients to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors to make people feel better.

One cool thing about CBT is that it’s good at targeting specific symptoms and behaviors. For example, if someone has anxiety, CBT might use exposure techniques to help them gradually get used to things that scare them, which can help reduce their anxiety over time. For depression, CBT helps challenge negative thoughts and helps people see things more positively.

What’s neat about CBT is that it doesn’t just work during therapy sessions. Clients also get homework and practice using what they’ve learned in their daily lives.

The pros and cons of CBT

Let’s break down the good and not-so-good parts of CBT:

Pros of CBT

  • Quick and to the point: CBT is great because it usually doesn’t take as long as other types of therapy. This makes it appealing for people who want fast relief from their symptoms.
  • Backed by science: CBT has lots of research backing it up, showing that it’s effective for different mental health problems. This gives people confidence that it works.
  • Has a plan: CBT sessions follow a clear structure with specific goals and homework assignments. This helps clients know what to expect and gives them tasks to practice outside of therapy.
  • Gives you tools: CBT teaches practical skills that clients can use in their daily lives to manage their mental health better. It’s like giving them a toolbox for dealing with problems.

Cons of CBT

  • Stays on the surface: While CBT is good at dealing with symptoms, it might not dig deep enough into the emotional stuff or past traumas causing those symptoms.
  • Needs you to get involved: CBT requires clients to do homework and use what they’ve learned outside of therapy. This might be hard for some people who don’t feel motivated or have the resources.
  • Not for everyone: Although CBT works for a lot of people, it might not be the best choice for those with really complex mental health issues or who prefer a more reflective kind of therapy.

What is psychodynamic therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy is like a deep dive into your inner world, where therapists and clients work together to uncover hidden feelings and understand how past experiences shape current thoughts and behaviors. It’s a versatile therapy that can help with various mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.

This therapy doesn’t just scratch the surface. It goes deep into understanding what makes you tick—things you might not even realize are affecting you. And the strong bond between therapist and client makes it a safe space for healing and transformation.

The pros and cons of psychodynamic therapy

Understanding the ups and downs of psychodynamic therapy can help you see if it’s right for you, just like we did with CBT.

Pros of psychodynamic therapy

  • Digging deep: Psychodynamic therapy is all about going deep into your thoughts and feelings. Exploring stuff like childhood experiences and emotional connections helps you learn a lot about why you feel the way you do.
  • Long-lasting change: Even though psychodynamic therapy might take longer than CBT, the changes you make can stick around for a long time. Getting to the root of your issues can help build strong and lasting resilience.
  • Great relationship: Psychodynamic therapy is all about trust and understanding between you and your therapist. With their support, you can explore tricky emotions and discover new things about yourself.
  • Getting to the core: Instead of just dealing with surface-level symptoms, psychodynamic therapy aims to tackle the root causes of your struggles. Understanding what’s going on can make big changes that last.

Cons of psychodynamic therapy

  • Takes time: One downside of psychodynamic therapy is that it can take a while. Therapy sessions might go on for weeks, months, or even years, so you’ll need patience.
  • Less structure: Unlike CBT’s clear plan, psychodynamic therapy sessions are more free-flowing. While this can be good for creativity, it might be tough if you’re used to having clear goals.
  • Relies on interpretation: In psychodynamic therapy, your therapist will interpret your thoughts and feelings. This can sometimes be a bit subjective, and different therapists might see things differently.

Similarities and differences between CBT and psychodynamic therapy

CBT and psychodynamic therapy both aim to help improve mental well-being, but they take different paths to get there.


  • Both aim to make mental health better by dealing with underlying issues and helping people become more self-aware. Whether it’s challenging negative thoughts in CBT or digging into unconscious feelings in psychodynamic therapy, the goal is to make people feel better emotionally.
  • Both place a lot of importance on the relationship between the therapist and the client. Having a supportive and understanding therapist can make it easier for people to talk about their feelings and work through problems.
  • Both recognize that things that happened in the past and the way people relate to others now can affect how they think, feel, and act.


  • Focus: CBT is all about changing how people think and act in the here and now to feel better, while psychodynamic therapy is more about exploring deep emotions and past experiences to understand why people feel the way they do.
  • Duration and Structure: CBT usually doesn’t take as long as psychodynamic therapy, and the sessions are more structured with clear goals and homework. Psychodynamic therapy can take longer, and the sessions are more open-ended, letting people talk about whatever comes to mind.
  • Approach: CBT is more about dealing with specific symptoms and finding practical solutions, while psychodynamic therapy is more about understanding the root causes of problems and making deeper changes in how people see themselves and relate to others.

Psychodynamic therapy vs. CBT: which is better?

Choosing between psychodynamic therapy and CBT depends on what suits you best. If you want quick relief and practical strategies, CBT might be your go-to because it’s shorter and more structured. But if you’re looking for deeper understanding and lasting change, psychodynamic therapy could be a better fit.

Neither therapy is better than the other—they just have different strengths. Some people might benefit from a mix of both, getting the best of both worlds. The most important thing is to find therapy that works for you, helps you connect with your therapist, and helps you feel better in the long run.

Know which therapy to choose

When you’re thinking about psychodynamic therapy versus CBT, it’s important to think about the good and bad points of each. Talk to a therapist who knows about both to help you choose the right one for you. The main aim of therapy is to make you feel better and improve your life, and both psychodynamic therapy and CBT can help with that.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.