ISTDP info


What is ISTDP?

ISTDP stands for "Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy", and is a relatively new form of psychotherapy that has gained popularity in recent years.

It belongs to the umbrella group of psychotherapies covered by the EDT (Experiëntial Dynamic Therapy)


What effects does ISTDP have?

  • Emotions (such as anger, assertiveness, sadness, mourning, guilt) free and without unconscious fear) can experience rather than suppress
  • Being able to stop defense mechanisms such as avoidance, pleasen, the other prioritization, perfectionism and rigour towards yourself and others.
  • Feeling more powerful and you can stand up for yourself without having to suffer from it yourself, for example in the form of fear and more worrying thoughts or self-reproach
  • However, and make deeper contact with this more direction about your interpersonal functioning at work or in relationships with friends or a partner, which also reduces a sense of loneliness or (emotional) unconnectedness
  • Developing a firmer adhesion
  • Awareness of physical stress symptoms (anxiety), and developing better anxiety regulation and fewer anxiety symptoms as a whole
  • A better self-esteem or self-esteem, by developing direction on one's own functioning


Who is ISTDP therapy suitable for?

For people who get emotionally stuck in their daily lives, because they still function in a kind of survival mode from the time when they were children. With
in the family of origin there was no room for feelings, which led to the learning to suppress this as (a still dependent on the parents) child to survive.
In addition, one has often taught himself to integrate the (evidently or subtly hidden) rigour or performance orientation of their parents into their own personality. This can b
e expressed in perfectionism, which causes a lot of stress symptoms but also produces things. The rewarding effect can have strengthened this pattern over the years, and lead to fatigue, burnout and physical complaint
s. Which is also often taught to prioritize, please, the other, and to no longer adequately stand up for one's own interes
ts. Experiencing anger rarely happens, also really felt sadness (with ane-airing effect) is suppressed.

As a result, people encounter problems both at home and in their circle of friends or their partner relationships. They have been suffering from all kinds of physical but also psychological complaints such as fatigue and lethargy, complaints often related to mental health problems such as loneliness, lack of self-esteem or self-esteem, ideas that lead to themselves know less successfully than others, for example, which can lead to isolating or stopping appearances to hide grief and anger.

Although not everyone is immediately prepared to do so, these complaints and the underlying problems should therefore actually be investigated more closely as consequences of unresolved problems , conflicts and traumas of the past. As long as they remain unresolved, the complaints in some form will continue to haunt the client and sometimes allow him or her to leave no other people in their intimate world (thoughts/feelings/desires and desires) out of fear. Often this process is accompanied by nasty negative thoughts about themselves who, because of their judgmental nature, exacerbate the problems rather than supporting the desire to do something about it, for example through therapy.

The way you perceive the world around you, experiences and how you react to it is formed by a combination of genetic predisposition and life experiences. In the ISTDP treatment, you learn to recognize the mechanisms with which you avoid your own feelings. Together with the practitioner, you will look for the connections of your problems and complaints to your life history, and how to sustain the problems.


What can you achieve with treatment with ISTDP?

During treatment with ISTDP, you learn to give up your old protection from pain and overcome your fear of underlying feelings. You learn to stop playing hide-and-seek and not to give yourself that upside down. Instead of avoiding and fleeing, you'll be invited to reflect on your fears and learn to use them as a tool to look at your feelings. Rejecting our own feelings is something that we learn very early on while growing up, rejecting this can – when this has happened intensively – give rise to many problems in adulthood that not only punish esherto the world of experience and condemned, but it can also be completely alienated. When following this treatment, it is therefore very important that the client learns how this originated and needs to be understood in his/her life.


Responses from clients worldwide about EDT treatments (EDT = overarching for ISTDP) 

(source: IEDTA website)

This whole process is a miracle, really. I feel free for the first time in my life. That I don't have to repress these feelings. I can experience them and move through them,because on the other side is pleasure. It's a feeling of self. I feel like I'm inside with me now. I'm not alone anymore. It's a funny thing."
–University professor, age 42, with a life-long history of depression and masochism; 10 year follow-up demonstrated profound character change from 20 sessions of therapy

I feel good. I feel centered. Much better than ever. I feel very good about that. I was trying to remember, what are my problems? I couldn't even gather[them]. My thinking is not going out of control. It's pretty calm. Clear. Not confused… about people, situations. I'm not beating myself over the head for things. Like I make decisions, sometimes I make decisions about something I want to do, and in the past I would have felt that it had to be the wrong choice or the wrong thing to do because I wanted to do it, and now I feel , OK, that's what I want to do and I'm just going to do it and enjoy it."
–Writer and homemaker, age 36, who had been suffering from migraines, significant regression, and anxiety

"Your face comes to mind often when I am in one of my moods where I'm being unkind to myself and a voice comes up that says," be gentle with yourself. Be child to this magnificent woman. I see your eyes and I see the compassion that comes from them and I 'remember' to be present and real in my gentleness, to stop the self-hatred and stop the sabotaging personality from making me miserable."
–Businesswoman, age 50, with lifetime history of depression and promiscuity

My time spent with you in our sessions was very valuable. The work we did was much more on a cellular level than I have ever experienced in therapy. Processing my anger has been very liberating and not only did you give me permission to feel it, you led me through some really deep stuff… The fear of showing my emotion just put me in a complete jail… I felt really empowered b[the therapy]y and I continue to feel that way. I'm taking the things that make me the most uncomfortable and I'm going for them. I don't want to feel lousy anymore. I don't want to ever feel depressed. I feel like this is definitely helping me to take charge of my life and that's my theme and my resolution for this New Year… to empower myself as much as possible. I know that's the key to feeling good. Thank you for everything."
–Teacher/writer, age 27, with a history of substance abuse and major depression

A study by SueAnne Piliero mentioned the following comments about EDT:

I have such a great sense of accomplishment at having faced my feelings and owning them. I'm much more comfortable in my skin today."
–30-year-old graduate student

I feel that profound changes took place in therapy, have continued to take place, and will continue to take place."
–44-year-old mother/martial arts instructor

The moment of self awakening/awareness to the root of my difficulties was a 'life landmark.' I felt absolutely empowered, validated, liberated, joyful without fear or anxiety. The most significant emotion was feeling at peace….I hadn't felt this in about 40 years!"
–54-year-old librarian

I didn't know that I was living in fear of my own feelings. Becoming aware of this fear allowed me to overcome it, therefore I was able to experience all the other feelings/emotions. This experience freed me from an almost lifelong depression."
–35-year-old homemaker

Other therapies helped me to feel better at times, but this therapy gave me tools to enable me to live in a better way." My therapy experience was exemplary. I understood. I felt I was able to tolerate my feelings and understand their origin and how they affected my life. I genuinely changed with this therapy and therapist."
–56-year-old health care professional, after 8 years with no further treatment

I became clearer about what I was feeling and why. I 'came home' to myself and can relate out of a stronger sense of me."
–54-year-old food professional

I felt as though I was unlocked. There was hope for me. And that I could be received by another person."
–43-year-old physical therapist

It eliminated the need for medication. When symptoms arise, I can manage them myself. Also, awareness of feeling has increased my sense of freedom and self confidence."
–52-year-old business manager

After each of my sessions I would learn something new that seemed so central to my being and my problems that I would say, Wow! I can't believe no one has ever pointed this out to me before after all that therapy.'"
–35-year-old homemaker, who had seen more than 15 previous therapists

Overall, I feel proud of what I have accomplished. I feel secure within my own body and I have peace within my spirit. But I feel that I owe a great deal of what I have written here to my therapist. I once told her that it wasn't so much what she said, but the fact that she listened to my story and shared my pain. That helped to release my spirit."
— 34-year-old teacher


Learn more about ISTDP


Books on ISTDP

"Embrace your emotions"



"The lies we tell ourselves" – Jon Fredrickson

Why ISTDP works