Welcome to ISTDP
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is an accelerated model of dynamic psychotherapy. ISTDP comprises a set of powerful interventions to alleviate symptoms of emotional distress and to promote mental health in a rapid and cost-effective way. The focus is on the unconscious emotional processes that underlie many psychological as well as somatic difficulties.
The distinctive characteristics of ISTDP are:
- The depth to which unconscious feelings are experienced in a full and healthy way
- A focus on unconscious anxiety pathways and anxiety regulation
- The degree of clarity and focus on maladaptive defences
- Audio-visual recording of all sessions
Whilst ISTDP has shared roots with classical psychoanalysis, it also differs in important ways. The ISTDP therapist is not ‘neutral’ but rather is an active advocate for change and health. Instead of making interpretations, the ISTDP therapist emphasises the importance of experiencing core emotions and relies on non-interpretative interventions to address anxiety and defences. In this way, emotional processing is bolstered and freedom gained from distressing symptoms and maladaptive patterns of behaviour relating to self and to others.
ISTDP is an attachment-based model and the work of Dr Robert Neborsky emphasises the importance of attachment.
An extensive body of published research evidence supports the efficacy of ISTDP as a treatment for a wide variety of emotional problems. These include depression, anxiety, psychosomatic illness and personality disorders. Studies demonstrate that benefits are not only maintained in the long term but can also increase after termination.
“For many individuals attachment trauma is at the core of psychoneurosis and personality disorder. Combining theoretical aspects of psychodynamic therapy, developmental neuroscience, and attachment styles provides a useful framework for intensifying emotion and accelerating the course of treatment.”
Robert J. Neborsky, MD. Brain, Mind and dyadic change processes (2006)
ISTDP-UK promotes the teaching and practice of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy by providing:
- A training programme for clinicians to become ISTDP therapists
- A training programme for ISTDP therapists to become ISTDP trainers
- A programme of events presented by national and international ISTDP clinicians
- Listing of accredited ISTDP therapists practising in the UK