Common factors of different approaches to treatment could potentially reveal what is most effective in psychotherapy. It would seem as though psychoanalysis and exposure therapy would be based on very different theories, but they appeared to have striking similarities. An attempt was made to develop an argument for both theoretical orientations having similar factors for theory and treatment. The format employed for developing the argument was a synthesis and extension of the literature. The similarities of psychoanalytic theory and the theory of exposure therapy provided an impetus for discussing the effective factors for treating select anxiety disorders. The differences between the two approaches provided new opportunities for further research with regard to integrating techniques to improve therapy for anxiety disorders.
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