What is
Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)?

Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a psychotherapy, developed by Dr. Habib Davanloo. In ISTDP, the theory is that most psychological distress occurs due to the impact of trauma experienced in our early caregiver relationships. For example, between us and our parents (adopted, biological or otherwise). These experiences can lead us to experience high anxiety and distress in our relationships with others, and may be unconscious to the person experiencing them. This can result is a range of physical and psychological symptoms, and interpersonal issues. These unconscious processes can also lead to health problems in bodily systems, including the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, immune system, and muscular system, as well as drug and alcohol issues, and eating disorders. 

How does ISTDP work?

ISTDP  is an interactive therapy where both the therapist and client work together to identify the way the person experiences their anxiety and the defenses which arise to block the painful feelings from surfacing. When these feelings are experienced, anxiety and defenses decrease. Working through the avoided feelings can often bring about symptom improvement, behavioural changes and help to develop healthy relationships.

Abbass, A. (2015). Reaching through resistance. Kansas City: Seven Leaves Press

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