Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is an accelerated psychotherapy approach, designed to uncover the unconscious drivers and roots of emotional suffering as rapidly and compassionately as possible. ISTDP has demonstrated efficacy for almost every psychiatric diagnosis and some medical diagnoses, and is not a one-size-fits-all therapy. In fact, ISTDP has multiple formats, and each can be tailored to fit a large variety of needs. Our training in neuroscience, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and several varieties of cognitive and behavioral therapy serves to augment and strengthen our capacity to use ISTDP effectively.
Because the therapy process will be different for every person, a description of the underlying values of our work may be more useful than a description of the technique.
Teamwork— The ability to work towards shared goals with others is an essential capacity in human life. During the process of therapy we will monitor the quality of our collaboration and the partnership between us, and make efforts to understand and overcome any barriers that prevent you from putting maximum efforts towards your goals.
Relentless Support— We will offer you relentless support at every step in your healing process, with whatever you need to move you towards your goals. Support will look different at different phases in your healing process and depending on your presenting difficulties. It may be helping you learn to regulate your own anxiety. It may mean helping you find the inner strength and power to lift yourself up out of a depression. It may mean bearing witness and walking beside you as you face feelings and memories you have had to forget or turn away from. Whatever your needs are at a given moment, if you are feeling supported then we are doing our job.
Reaching Through Barriers— Every one of us has a unique relationship history, in which we have learned various strategies for opening ourselves to others and for putting up defensive walls. If interpersonal barriers are a factor in your emotional difficulties, we can work together to harness your innate capacity to reach through those walls and allow closeness and attachment in your life. We are ready and willing to meet your walls and the parts of you that you’ve had to wall off.
Discovering Inner strength, Assertive Energy (a.k.a. “Anger Management”)– The assertive energy of angry and aggressive feelings can be a powerful and constructive interpersonal force, helping us face conflict with equanimity and honesty, and giving us the emotional resources to adapt to frustrations. Sadly, though, many of us learn to channel our anger in ways that lead us to unsatisfying, destructive, or self-destructive ends. If you have difficulties with anger or conflict, from explosive temper to becoming a doormat, we can support your efforts to find and resolve the roots of these problems, and develop new strategies for managing anger and other feelings.
Mourning Losses, Resolving Guilt— Though we certainly wish it was different, it seems that loss and regret in human life are inevitable. Our unique relationship histories may leave us with a particularly heavy load of guilt and grief, or prevent us from finding satisfying ways to understand and channel these painful emotions. While psychotherapy will never change what has happened, we can help you put the pains of the past in perspective so that they’re not having an undue effect on your life today.
Coping with Mixed, Conflicted Emotions–The people we love the most are also the most likely to irritate us. It’s a fact of life from birth to death. Feeling anger towards someone we love, or feeling love towards someone we are angry with can be anxiety provoking, guilt-inducing and generally uncomfortable, and most people will do whatever it takes to get rid of that uncomfortable, mixed-up feeling. We learn defensive strategies (e.g., detachment, self-blame, devaluation) to get rid of those difficult-to-bear mixed feelings, but these strategies can cause further emotional problems. ISTDP can help you develop your capacity to live with and make sense of complex, mixed feelings, rather than have to use potentially-destructive strategies to get rid of them, so you can better cope with the complexities of your life and relationships.
Rediscovering Love and Happiness— Rage, guilt, and grief in life and relationships, along with the ineffective ways we sometimes deal with these emotions, can create a massive interference in our ability to experience love, sexuality, and happiness. If you are missing out on these vital, nourishing human experiences, we can work to find out why you have been going through life this way, and do something about it together.