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ISTDP in the UK

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) was developed during the 1960s by Dr Habib Davanloo, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from Montreal, who grew frustrated with the length and relatively limited efficacy of psychoanalysis. Dr Davanloo’s empirical discoveries were based on extensive videotaping of psychotherapy sessions. Current ISTDP practice applies his clinical understanding and techniques whilst also incorporating insights from interpersonal neurobiology and affective neurosciences.

In the UK 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. Dr David Malan, the renowned psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, became part of that group and his subsequent work has done much to advance the understanding and application of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Dr Davanloo subsequently collaborated with Dr David Malan and he and his wife, an educational psychologist, were instrumental in introducing ISTDP to the UK. In 2006, the Malans convened the first ISTDP conference in Oxford where leading clinicians presented video recordings of their work.

At this conference, a great deal of interest in ISTDP was generated and a Core Training in ISTDP began in London later that year. Teaching was subsequently provided by international ISTDP trainers including Allan Abbass, Patricia Coughlin, Josette ten Have-de Labije, Rob Neborsky and Jon Frederickson.  The members of this first Core Training group founded ISTDP-UK in 2008.

Since then, 10 Core training Groups have been formed and the register of qualified ISTDP therapists in the UK is increasing year by year.

Our Trainers

ISTDP-UK trainers are experienced clinicians who provide psychotherapy, as well as training and supervision. ISTDP-UK trainers and core training programmes are accredited by the International Association of Experiential Dynamic Therapies (www.iedta.net).

Alexandra Knowles

Alexandra Knowles

Director
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Alexandra Knowles is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) through the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UPCA). She is an Honorary member of The…

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Dr Robert Neborsky

Dr Robert Neborsky

Course Consultant
Psychiatrist

Robert J. Neborsky, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Del Mar, California, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and UCLA School of Medicine…

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Leo Russell

Leo Russell

Trainer
Clinical Psychologist

Dr Leo Russell (DClinPsych) is a is a chartered Clinical Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. He is an IEDTA and ISTDP-UK accredited trainer and supervisor. His…

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James Louis

Dr James Louis

Trainer
Psychiatrist

Dr James Louis is a Consultant Psychiatrist who has worked in the NHS for more than 20 years and is currently at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. He is…

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Assistant Teachers

Dr Javier Malda Castillo

Dr Javier Malda Castillo

Dr Javier Malda Castillo (DClinPsych) is a chartered Clinical Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. He is an accredited MBT supervisor by the Anna Freud Centre, a Group Analytic Practitioner and associate member of the Institute of Group Analysis (IGA). He is also a fully qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist by the Tavistock Clinic in London (D58 & D59 training courses).

His ISTDP journey started in Core 8 under the supervision of Dr Sharon Lewis, Dr Neborsky and Alexandra Knowles. Since 2021 he has been undertaking advanced training and supervision with Dr Josette ten Have-de Labije.

Heather McCartney

Heather McCartney

Heather is an analytical psychotherapist with long experience of training psychotherapists. She completed Core Training in ISTDP with ISTDP UK and offers ISTDP therapy in private practice online and face to face (in Cheltenham). She has a firm grounding in psychoanalytic concepts and loves the way in which ISTDP distils the essence of psychoanalysis into an accessible, briefer modality in a highly effective way.

Our shadowers (Trainers in training)

ISTDP-UK shadowers (or “Trainers in Training”) are senior clinicians who have completed a 3-year core training in ISTDP and are undertaking further training to advance both their therapeutic and training skills.

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Clare Cutts, Psychodynamic Counsellor, Bristol

Clare Cutts BEd (Hons) is a fully qualified, experienced, and registered (BPC) Psychodynamic Counsellor and ISTDP practitioner (ISTDP-UK Core 11). As a counsellor, she has had the privilege of working with a range of counselling, charitable, and medical organisations. Alongside her psychotherapy experience and training her work is informed by her life experiences, having been a primary school teacher, artist, and family member. ISTPD is core to the way she works having found it profoundly helpful both in and out of the clinical setting. Clare has a private practice just outside Bristol (in person and online) and welcomes anyone who needs a space and time to focus on themselves and to reclaim a happier life within a thoughtful, caring, honest and confidential environment.

Ofra Anker

Ofra Anker

Ofra (MA) is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and ISTDP Practitioner. She is a UKCP Listed Supervisor. She has over 25 years experience working as a psychotherapist with individuals and couples. In addition to her practice, her work included: over 20 years teaching, training and group facilitating in a private Psychotherapy School in North London. She was a member of UKCP Board of Directors for 3 years and a UKCP/HIPC Chair of Assessment Board for almost 10 years. She is currently running a private practice in Central and North London.

Patsy McGill

Patsy McGill

Patsy McGill (MSc Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy) is registered and accredited by the BACP. She works both in private practice and psychological services, providing assessment and treatment to adults. She has experience as a Clinical Lead in an IAPT service, providing managerial support and clinical supervision to therapists, as well as providing short-term psychotherapy. Patsy was part of the Core 6 (2015) group and has further advanced training with ISTDP-UK.

Dr Seh Rho

Dr Seh Rho, Counselling Psychologist, central London

Dr Seh Rho is a Counselling Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. She has worked in the NHS for over a decade as a clinician and supervisor as well as enjoys her role as Visiting Lecturer at City University of London’s Counselling Psychology doctorate programme. She has experience working with a range of emotional and physical health difficulties from anxiety, depression to medically unexplained symptoms with a specialist interest in cross-cultural issues. She currently has availability and offers both online and face-to-face sessions; her consultation room is 5 minutes’ walking distance from Victoria station.

Dr Anthony Wharton

Dr Anthony Wharton, Clinical Psychologist, Plymouth

Dr Anthony Wharton is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Dr Wharton works in a rural NHS community adult mental health team in Devon and in a systemic family therapy service, part-time. He has worked in the NHS for over 16 years and is experienced in providing psychotherapy to people who suffer from a wide range of social, emotional, physical and mental health problems that are underpinned by complex trauma. Anthony has a particular interest in working with health, depression, anxiety and emotional regulation, relational and embodied trauma, inclusive of somatic or medically unexplained physical symptoms.
Dr Wharton is currently taking on new referrals for private practice.

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Jessica Murray, Psychotherapist, Bristol

Jessica Bsc (Hons) Psych is a BACP registered psychotherapist who completed her ISTDP Core Training with ISTDP-UK. She currently has a private practice in Bristol working with adults and young people and has a particular interest in working with the LGBT+ community. Jessica has worked as a counsellor for schools and charities and came into psychotherapy after many years in nature-based therapy roles. Jessica loves the way that ISTDP provides a detailed framework for deeply effective, trauma-informed therapy with a wide range of patients. Jessica is currently taking new referrals for private practice.