Intensive Short – Term

Dynamic Psychotherapy

2 Day Introduction to ISTDP in Oxford

27 – 28 April 2018

Symposium at the Freud Museum

18th November 2017


“I believe that dynamic psychotherapy can be not merely effective but uniquely effective, that therapeutic effects are produced by specific factors rather than nonspecific factors, and that the essential factor is the patient’s actual experience of their true feelings about the present and the past”.

(Davanloo: Unlocking the Unconscious, 1990)

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)  is a revolutionary method of psychotherapy with a well-established and robust evidence base. ISTDP comprises a set of powerful techniques to alleviate symptoms of emotional distress and to promote mental health in a rapid and cost effective manner.

ISTDP emphasizes the importance of experiencing core emotions. ISTDP therapists focus on interventions which address anxiety and defences in order to bolster emotional processing and to free patients from distressing symptoms and maladaptive patterns of relating to themselves and to others.

ISTDP in the UK

ISTDP was initially developed by Dr Habib Davanloo in Montreal in the 1960’s and his empirical discoveries were based on extensive videotaping of psychotherapy sessions. Dr Davanloo subsequently collaborated with Dr David Malan, the renowned psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, at the Tavistock Clinic in London.

Dr David Malan and his wife Jennie, 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.

Attachment-based ISTDP

ISTDP-UK training programmes are strongly influenced by the attachment-based ISTDP approach developed by Dr Neborsky and Dr Josette ten Have-de Labije. Attachment Based ISTDP relies on research from the child study laboratory of Mary Main regarding attachment security. The central tenet is that the capacity to feel core emotion with love, care and precision makes us healthier, smarter and more resilient.

Dr Robert Neborsky (www.istdp.com) has worked closely with ISTDP-UK since its inception. He travels frequently to the UK to deliver training and to develop ISTDP programmes and conferences.

Dr Neborsky and UK based trainers Alexandra Pokorny and Dr Sharon Lewis offer training in ISTDP in London and Oxford.  ISTDP-UK trainers and Core Trainings are accredited by the International Association of Experiential Dynamic Therapies (IEDTA, www.iedta.net), the international accrediting body for the group of psychotherapies that have developed based on ISTDP principles.

ISTDP-UK is dedicated to the promotion and development of ISTDP. The organisation provides training for mental health professionals in this method of treatment, and provides information about accredited ISTDP therapists who practice in the UK.


“About half of all psychotherapy clients have little to no response—or can even worsen—in treatment. Why? They unknowingly use treatment-defeating behaviors, or resistances, placing all manner of obstacles to prevent emotional closeness and a successful collaboration with the therapist. By rapid detection of avoidance patterns and use of specific interventions developed to handle them, you can empower a collaborative, vigorous treatment alliance and begin to mobilize the healing forces within your client.”.

Allan Abbass: www.reachingthroughresistance.com

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

For more information about ISTDP, click here:
http://www.istdp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Background_of_ISTDP.pdf