While gaining experience in mental health care, I noticed more and more as a Psychiatrist that an approach aimed at experiencing emotions ( among other things. in ISTDP and AFT therapy ) often seemed to give the most rapid, powerful and lasting effects. I saw the strongest effects in my opinion at the ISTDP, I got this back from clients and at conferences where (with the permission of clients) videos of ISTDP treatments were shown. That's where m.i. it is clear why ISTDP seems to be gaining popularity: given the effects visible on video where the client visibly and permanently refurbishes in the session. Clients often describe that they notice almost direct effect at ISTDP, not infrequently as opposed to several previous treatments in which people had sometimes received years of therapy in which complaints did not disappear, returned, or even strengthened. I have the impression that results in ISTDP treatments by therapists are also often perceived as innovative/refreshing, presumably also due to the low number of sessions that seem to be necessary for this. There are of course good other therapies available, but sometimes it seems to take a long time, or the effect seems incomplete. It is not uncommon for clients to hear that in previous therapy forms only cognitive insights have been applied: with a limited effect (for example: fears are not gone and still have to be 'thought away'), where there are still just as many dysfunctional patterns and fears in the emotional field. Or that emotions have been touched, but not sufficiently intensive to reduce complaints. At ISTDP, the goal is specifically to train your brain to eventually develop the capacity to experience all complex emotions in full intensity in the relationship with the other, eliminating dysfunctional patterns (defense mechanisms, such as avoidance), reducing anxiety and stress complaints, improving relationships, and eliminating depressive symptoms where anti-depressants can usually be (cautiously) phased out. The most striking thin
g about working with ISTDP is still that people always immediately understand/feel that something happens to them when you work with them according to this technique, even if clients sometimes do not yet realize how much they suffer from anxiety, or if they do not yet have all the language for their emotional inner world. The special thing about ISTDP is that it turns out to work for so many different types of complaints, including for the more complicated and persistent complaints. It is n
ot uncommon for ISTDP to see a breakthrough of emotions after just one or a few sessions. For example, clients suddenly feel something physically 'flowing' into their body, where sometimes a huge relief can be felt and all physical anxiety disappears at that moment. Sometimes a permanent burden falls off their shoulders in a short period of time, but often multiple 'breakthroughs' are needed to strengthen this effect. Memories and images from the past can appear, where links to the past can be made by the client.
These emotionally 'felt' explanations for the origin of symptoms are therefore often only made by the client himself after feeling and remembering symptoms, as opposed to the interpretation (interpretation) by the therapist in some other forms of therapy. The risk of that is i.e. that the therapist thinks about how the client works inside, instead of drawing on the emotional memory system of the client in order to learn from our clients.
:There are also therapists who look at this skeptically, for example, they warn against adapting the client to the therapist. This is me. only a pitfall if a therapist does not yet master the technique well, and does not tackle certain things first before being able to work with the client in an equal way to achieve his/her goals.
Another argument against skeptics may be that non-ISTDP therapists have sometimes not worked through their own inner conflicts sufficiently, have traditionally been more trained to listen, interpret and not confront too much. ISTDP can therefore seem highly confrontational to these therapists: for some therapists this may be exciting where confronting seems too firm for them. People prefer to leave the defenses alone. However, provided that this confrontation is done in a committed way, working together, in a committed loving way, based on the tension/fear, then one can experience how clients visibly benefit from working/experiencing all (complex) emotions, and in particular the difficult/painful/negative emotions that one usually (unconsciously) avoids: such as anger, guilt about the anger, mourning, links to the past and so on.