ISTDP is an evidence based, brief term psychotherapy shown to be effective for a broad spectrum of emotional difficulties, including anxiety and treatment resistant depression.

ISTDP-UK promotes the teaching and practice of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy by providing:

training for therapists and trainers

a listing of accredited ISTDP therapists practicing in the UK

a programme of events presented by national and international ISTDP clinicians


In the U.K. there is a tradition of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy dating back to the brief therapy workshops at the Tavistock Clinic initiated by Michael Balint in the 1950s. David Malan became part of this group and his subsequent work has done much to advance the understanding and application of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy.

The method of ISTDP was developed during the 1960s and 1970s by Habib Davanloo, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from Montreal who grew frustrated with the length and relatively limited efficacy of psychoanalysis. ISTDP applies his clinical interpretations and techniques while incorporating insights from interpersonal neurobiology and affective neurosciences.

David Malan was recruited by Davanloo to consult on the development of ISTDP and later was instrumental in communicating the methods of ISTDP to aspiring practitioners. Malan’s influence continues to be of especially great significant in how ISTDP has developed within the UK.

While ISTDP shares roots with classical psychoanalysis, it also differs in important ways. The ISTDP therapist is an active advocate of change rather than a neutral observer. Instead of making interpretations, the therapist relies on non-interpretive techniques including encouragement to feel; challenge to take responsibility to change; and confrontation of resistance to change.

For an article on the Background of ISTDP, please click here Background_of_ISTDP

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