Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy

In addition to providing more open-ended and exploratory therapy I also offer Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP).

What is it?

ISTDP is a highly effective and evidence-based therapeutic approach that can help you overcome a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, personality disorders, addictions and psychosomatic symptoms. There is a large body of research supporting the use of this approach, some of which you can read here.

ISTDP can be quite challenging (hence the name 'intensive'!) but can also resolve many problems more quickly than other approaches. In some ways, ISTDP could be compared to having a personal trainer at the gym. If I work with you using this approach I will challenge and push you to work at your maximum possible capacity so that you can get results as quickly as possible. If you're clear about what you want to change in your life and are motivated to do so, ISTDP may be a good approach to start with.

How it works

ISTDP begins with an initial 'trial therapy' session of 2 hours. During this time I will work with you to understand the nature of your problems and the changes you want to make. Together we then develop a sense of how quickly it will be possible to progress and develop a plan for achieving this. We will also identify some of the things that have been blocking you from making progress in the past, and we will begin to understand how these blocks have affected other areas of your life.

ISTDP therapy will be strongly focused on your feelings and how you experience these in your body. ISTDP recognises that it is our feelings that give our life meaning, that create our sense of identity and who we are in the world, and that signal us to know whether or not our needs are being met.

At the same time, we all employ defences against feelings that we find to be unbearable or that others have taught us were unacceptable in the past. This can lead us to develop patterns of behaviour that damage our relationships and other areas of our life and may even mean that we have lost touch with and can no longer identify our own feelings. These life-long patterns can often be quickly and effectively addressed using the ISTDP approach.


Video Recording

ISTDP sessions are usually video-recorded and I will ask you to sign a consent form for this recording. However, this is not a requirement of therapy and I will be happy to work with you if you do not wish to be recorded. These recordings provide a number of benefits:

1. Our work together is important to me and I will review the videos of our sessions to ensure that we are working as effectively as possible. Reviewing the recordings will help me to identify what is and what isn't working well and allows me to tailor therapy to best suit your needs.

2. I will review the videos of our work with my ISTDP supervisor, Dr Stephen Arthey of the Melbourne ISTDP centre. By getting additional input into our work together I will be able to assist you more effectively and identify and overcome any challenges that arise.

3. You will receive copies of the recordings if you so wish. Many clients find it very helpful to view recordings of their therapy sessions. Doing so enables you to observe us both and our interactions together from a more objective position. This often leads to deeper insights and understandings about the challenges you are facing and how to overcome them. Many clients also find that they develop a much deeper empathy and acceptance of themselves by viewing therapy sessions, and are better able to overcome self-criticism and judgement.