Project Description

2-Day Introduction to ISTDP July 2021

9th and 10th of July 2021

10am to 4.30pm


Alexandra Knowles BSc (Hons), Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Dr Leo Russell

£420 early bird fee (until 31 March 2021)
£450 full fee
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In this two-day course, participants are given an overview of the theory and metapsychology of ISTDP and learn the core principles of this approach within a small group setting. Lectures, role-play and videotaped ISTDP therapy sessions are used to demonstrate effective interventions to:

Develop an effective focus for change
Assess and regulate unconscious anxiety
Identify maladaptive defence patterns


Alexandra Knowles

Alexandra Knowles BSc (Hons) (2006 core group) is a UKCP registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist through the Universities Psychotherapy & Counselling Association (UPCA) and an Honorary Member of FiP which she founded. She has been involved in the training & supervision of therapists and currently devotes her time to her ISTDP practice working with individuals & couples.

Dr Leo Russel

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 clinical practice is in the NHS working as service lead for the Functional Neurological Symptoms Service at Devon Partnership Trust where he specialised in ISTDP for medically unexplained symptoms.

Having trained under Dr Neborsky, his work draws on attachment theory and affective neuroscience as a framework for understanding causes of mental health difficulties and somatic symptoms. He has published research on the application and efficacy of ISTDP for functional presentations. He has taught and presented on ISTDP at national conferences, symposiums and seminars, as well as leading a regular programme of ISTDP teaching on the Clinical Psychology Doctorates at Exeter and Plymouth University. He also delivers an ISTDP foundation training programme in his local NHS Trust as a project to increase availability of ISTDP informed practice within specialist NHS services.

Participant Feedback

This has been one of the finest learning experiences I’ve had over the past years. It was organized, rational and delivered in a most competent and respectful way – tutors were obviously extremely skilled and committed to the work.
(Psychologist, 20+ years in practice)

Highly stimulating and challenging. Thank you both for expert facilitation.
(Psychotherapist, 11-20 years in practice)

… more than met my expectations. I found that it made the reading material and my previous exposure to this approach much more real and understandable. The role plays really enhance learning…
(Psychologist, 20+ years in practice)

…highly informative and engaging – role plays were excellent learning tool. Really inspiring, personally and professionally.
(Counsellor, 1-5 years in practice)

Excellent content, delivery and location.
(Psychotherapist, 11-20 years in practice)

Really inspiring, personally and professionally.
(Counsellor, 1-5 years in practice)

Very gentle, accessible and clear introduction to the model whilst conveying its fundamental principles.
(Psychologist, 1-5 years in practice)

Excellent course. Gave me a good flavour of ISTDP and I will definitely pursue with further training at some point.
(Psychiatrist, 11+ years in practice)

Very stimulating and informative. Groundbreaking techniques to help deal with defences and break through to unconscious affect & will definitely be putting it into practise.
(Counselling Psychologist, 1-5 years in practice)

Very helpful and professionally run course. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and experience in the clinical work.
(Psychotherapist, 20+ years in practice)

Highly effective combination of powerpoint, structured discussion/Q&A’s, video (with discussion) and role play/practice. Thank you.
(GP, 11-20 years in practice)

Presenters very open, thoughtful and supportive. …very enjoyable and thought provoking.
(Psychologist, 6-10 years in practice)

Great experience. Look forward to more training in ISTDP!
(Psychologist, 6-10 years in practice)

I really enjoyed the variety of teaching methods and emphasis on experiential work.
(Trainee Clinical Psychologist)