This paper traces the birth of the debate about the differences between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy and particularly the psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Starting from the specific debate initiated by the APA in America since the early Fifties, the author puts progressively focus on some technicalities that differentiate between psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and at the same time highlight the many different points of commonality. Kernberg points out how these differences and similarities have changed over time with the changing psychoanalytic models until to doubt that it is possible to establish a clear difference between the two practices. From discussions of the past years are taken up some key points that are found in the most recent debate of the Italian Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, differences, similarities, historical excursus.