ISTDP is a part of the bigger conglomerate of Psycho-dynamic psychotherapies. The acronym ISTDP is internationally used for Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. In the Netherlands we speak of „Korte Dynamische Psychotherapie“ (KDP) according to Davanloo. Professor Dr. H. Davanloo (Montreal, Canada) devised the method and techniques of ISTDP.
Davanloo´s ISTDP is theoretically based on the psychoanalytical reference realm. However, the structured way in which the therapist and client cooperate in order to assess and deal with the client´s problems differs from the psychoanalytical method and techniques.
ISTDP can be of help to persons, suffering under the burden of a great variety of complaints and problems . For example anxiety complaints, different phobic complaints and disorders, obsessive-compulsive complaints and disorders, post traumatic stress disorders, depressive complaints and disorders, anorectic, boulimic complaints and disorders, etc.
Underneath these complaints and problems we often see our clients suffering from intimacy and autonomy problems. On the basis of prior painful life experiences we all „ learn“ – in different degrees – to avoid intimacy with ourselves and/or with other people. In those cases we do not recognize our feelings ( or longings or opinions) because we ignore, neglect them, or we are keeping up appearances, minimizing our true feelings. Others rationalize, intellectualize their feelings away or have the habit to give priority to other people, understanding others, instead of themselves. In some cases one recognizes own feelings, opinions but as these are fused with anxiety and/or guilt, one will subsequently hide them for the outside world.
In ISTDP an equal and active working alliance with the client is central. The therapist will help the client. to become aware of his specific self undermining mechanisms, to become aware of processes that are put into operation by the client to suppress own longings, norms, values, opinions, feelings. And when – on the basis of different concrete situations – the client recognizes these mechanisms, understands their self-defeating function, the therapist can help the patient to quit these self defeating mechanisms, to manage anxiety and to consciously experience feelings, that were formerly suppressed . During this therapy process , often, painful and/or traumatic memories will come tot he forefront. The therapist and client will investigate possible links between these former experiences/interactions with those in the present life oft he client. We call this phase „working through“ ways, in which the client interacted in the past with important others, and how he interacts in the present time with important others. Working through painful emotions until there is no need to suppress them any longer, until the client can make a conscious decision when and to whom he will express his norms, values, opinion, longing, feeling in a constructive way and to whom he will keep the front door closed. During the course of ISTDP, therapist and client will each have their own tasks on the road to success: being important enough to recognize, understand (and deciding when to express or not) own longings, feelings, opinions with love, care, precision and honesty.