Project Description

2 Day Introduction to ISTDP – October 2018

Holiday Inn Express, Swiss Cottage, NW3 5HS
6 & 7 October, 2018
10am to 4.30pm
Alexandra Knowles, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
Full Fee £425 / Earlybird £395 (ends 5 August 2018)

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, skill building exercises, and videotaped ISTDP therapy sessions are used to demonstrate highly effective interventions.

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

Programme overview

Day One

Lecture illustrated with video vignettes:

  • Evidence base for ISTDP
  • Theoretical framework
  • Core emotions
  • Pathways of Unconscious Anxiety

Clinical Presentation

Day Two

Lecture, illustrated with video vignettes:

Maladaptive Defences that interfere with psychotherapy success

Clinical presentation: The Central Dynamic Sequence: Unlocking the Unconscious


Alexandra Knowles

Alexandra Knowles is a UKCP registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (Universities Psychotherapy & Counselling Association) and an Honorary Member of the Forum for Independent Psychotherapists (FiP) which she founded. She originally trained over 30 years ago as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and worked in Therapeutic Communities as well as in private practice as a therapist, teacher and supervisor. Following the ISTDP Oxford Conference in 2006, convened by David Malan, she joined the first group of UK therapists to be trained in ISTDP. Subsequently she has been accredited by the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA) as an ISTDP teacher and supervisor.  Alexandra has presented extensively at conferences and is involved in training and supervision of ISTDP therapists. She works with individuals and couples and runs core training groups in London and Oxford.

Dr Sharon Lewis

Dr Sharon Lewis is a chartered clinical psychologist, registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health and Care Professions Council. She currently works in private practice. After joining the initial UK core training in 2006, she continued to develop her knowledge and practice of the technique and is now an IEDTA accredited trainer and supervisor in ISTDP. Together with Alexandra Knowles, she runs core training programmes in London and Oxford. She has previously worked as clinical supervisor of the Trauma Clinic of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa, as well as within the NHS, has published in the areas of childhood trauma and post traumatic stress disorder, and conducted research into treatment-resistant depression.

Sharon Lewis and Alexandra Knowles have been teaching this course for the past five years. Several participants have gone on to train as ISTDP therapists, while others have integrated ISTDP techniques into existing models of practice.

The course is suitable for registered and qualified mental health professionals. Participants come from a range of mental health and allied fields and include GPs, psychiatrists, counsellors, psychotherapists as well as counselling, clinical and sports psychologists.

As well as being an introduction to ISTDP, these two days also serve as the first block of the three-year core training for those individuals wanting to train as ISTDP therapists.

We have worked with numerous organisations, including the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, the British Psychological Society, the University of Hertfordshire (DClin Programme) and NHS trusts.

If you are interested in running the introductory programme in-house, please email us at: [email protected]

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)