Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)

Updated: May 20, 2024

ISTDP is a brief therapy, often lasting only a few months. It was developed in the 70s by Dr Habib Davanloo, a medical doctor, psychoanalyst, author, and Professor of Psychiatry. It has since been continually refined.

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What Is Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy?

Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is an innovative and relatively young approach to psychotherapy, however as the name suggests, it’s not a long-term approach as traditional psychotherapy is.  It aims to offer relief from mental ill-health symptoms and suffering, as well as providing a self-understanding.


Clients who have used this approach will often report a deeper sense of freedom, meaning, and purpose and reduction of psychological suffering.  Due to its time-limitedness, ISTDP might only take a few months, showing fast results!


ISTDP recognises the resistance to change that is present in many, even clients who wish to improve, but just cannot allow themselves to be vulnerable due to protective structures.  ISTDP however, also highlights that we all have the need to heal and so it seeks to draw this out over the course of treatment.

About ISTDP At Phinity Therapy

At Phinity all of our ISTDP therapists are accredited and highly trained and experienced.  They will work with you in an interactive way, such that both you and your therapist are working collaboratively to identify and understand troubling thoughts or feelings, how you experience anxiety, and your defence mechanisms, because the latter exist to prevent you from experiencing painful feelings.  By feeling these difficult emotions in a safe space, with your therapist, your anxiety around them, and therefore, defences will both decrease.


This will allow you to work with and through them, such that you are able to improve areas of your life, like relationships, communication, and functioning at work or school.  ISTDP aims to help reveal the source of difficult thoughts and feelings, which are currently hidden in the unconscious, and help you resolve them for more optimal life quality.  Depending on the complexity of issues, ISTDP can last between 10 and 30 sessions. We recommend weekly sessions, which last 50 minutes.

Benefits Of ISTDP Therapy


  • A safe space to facilitate loosening of resistances


  • By being vulnerable, you are able to move toward strength and transformation


  • Healing – a restorative space for healing


  • Understanding – ISTDP helps you understand issues that may have plagued you for decades


  • Not regimented – so you have the time and space to explore your emotions and understand them


  • Learning and growth – Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a learning space where you can begin to understand your issues, and understand yourself for change and growth

What Issues Can ISTDP Therapy Help With?

Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) has shown efficacy with several issues, such as anxiety and panic, depression, including treatment-resistant depression, personality disorders, medically inexplicable symptoms, chronic pain and headaches, addictions, self-defeating behaviours, and emotional blocks.  In addition, due to its brevity, ISTDP saves time and money whilst also offering the benefit of a thorough and effective treatment.

Does Phinity Therapy Provide ISTDP Therapy Near Me?

We offer ISTDP therapy in Birmingham. Phinity Therapy also serve other cities and countries through our network of qualified therapists.  Online therapy is also available, catering for those who cannot reach our clinic or have busy schedules.


Make a commitment to taking control and living the life you want and deserve. Start by booking your Free Initial Consultation Today and speak to one of our friendly principal therapists about your concerns and desired goals.


You can alternatively fill in our contact form located on our About Us page, or give us a call.


*Due to limited time slot availability caused by high demand, we now offer only one Free Initial Consultation for prospective clients, further conversations are charged at our normal rate.

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