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Introduction to advanced psychotherapy skills: Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP)

15 February 2019 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
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This event is now FULLY BOOKED

Please email [email protected] to join the waiting list.

Practitioners in the UK are increasingly seeking to find cost-effective, long-lasting psychotherapy techniques to alleviate commonly presenting difficulties such as depression, anxiety or medically unexplained symptoms. 

There is an emphasis on the importance of evidence-based psychotherapy approaches that are efficient in terms of treatment length.

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a brief-term, emotion-focused therapy which draws on principles of psychodynamic and attachment theory.

The clinical and cost-effectiveness of ISTDP has been extensively researched and the approach has been shown to be effective for a broad spectrum of disorders, including depression, anxiety and somatisation. More than forty published research studies, including RCTs, show ISTDP to be effective for the majority of psychiatric patients with benefits enduring in long-term follow-up (Abbass, 2016)

ISTDP incorporates key common ingredients of interest in psychotherapy today, including:

  1. the use of video for quality improvement and research,
  2. systematic assessment and evaluation for treatment,
  3. active therapist involvement & use of the therapeutic relationship and alliance,
  4. cognitive restructuring,
  5. high degree of emotional engagement

This approach also incorporates distinctive and highly effective interventions aimed at: monitoring unconscious signalling in the body; rapid handling of defences; and intensifying the somatic experience of emotions.

 The former common psychotherapy factors, together with these latter unique components, allow clinicians to promote long-lasting change and to work with a broad range of clients within a shorter time-frame than traditional dynamic psychotherapies.

This introductory workshop will present the evidence base and theory of ISTDP, as well as some of the key techniques, which participants will have the opportunity to see on video and to put into practice in skill building exercises.

Target audience

This workshop is suitable for clinicians in the fields of psychotherapy, clinical and counselling psychology, psychiatry and allied fields, at all stages of their careers.

No prior knowledge of ISTDP or dynamic psychotherapy is required. This workshop is appropriate for those in practice and members of a professional body.

BPS London Office
30 Tabernacle Street

Learning Outcomes

  1. Establishing a therapeutic focus
  2. Identifying unconscious pathways of anxiety
  3. Identifying when anxiety regulation is indicated, and techniques for anxiety regulation 
  4. Ability to identify defences which can impede therapeutic progress and to begin to intervene effectively to encourage the patient to turn against these
  5. Techniques to deepen emotional experiencing.


Participants will be sent a reading list and slides prior to the workshop to complement the learning but do not have to be undertaken prior to the workshop.

Facilitator: Dr Sharon Lewis CPsychol

Dr Lewis is a chartered clinical psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health and Care Professions Council. She has a particular interest in working with clients with anxiety difficulties and treatment-resistant depression, as well as those diagnosed with physical health conditions such as auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

Dr Lewis has trained extensively with international experts in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, including Dr Robert Neborsky and Professor Allan Abbass. Her approach is focused on the attachment-based model of ISTDP. She is an ISTDP-UK and IEDTA accredited supervisor and trainer.linicians wishing to develop skills in ISTDP.

Dr Lewis has published books and articles in the areas of trauma and ISTDP. She has experience both in private practice and in the NHS and is currently in private practice.


09:30 Registration
10:00 Workshop starts
12:30 Lunch (provided)
16:30 Workshop ends
Non-Members £245.00 (£204.17 +VAT)
Society Members £153.00 (£127.50 + VAT)

Please note: Online bookings will close on 14 February 2019. 

To register for the workshop you need to sign into your BPS user account or create a new account by clicking the ‘create an account’ button. When signed in, click the ‘register’ button to book onto the workshop.

Terms and conditions apply.

For further information email the Professional Development Centre at [email protected]


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