top of page

ISTDP: Brief Psychotherapy

Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)

Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISDTP), originally developed by psychoanalyst Habib Davanloo, is a scientifically validated method of psychotherapy which accelerates the process of change.  

ISTDP is suitable for a wide range of psychological issues, including anxiety, panic attacks, depression, OCD, PTSD, personality disorders, chronic pain, and unexplained medical symptoms. 


One of the things that makes ISTDP so effective is its keen focus on the unconscious barriers, or defences, that can work against our making positive changes in our lives or feeling that life is satisfying and good.​

Defences can be useful in protecting us from overwhelming feelings or trauma. But they can also be counter-productive for us when we continue to apply these defences when  they are no longer necessary. We may find ourselves inexplicably cut off from certain feelings, depressed, anxious, tense, irritable, short-tempered. We may find we have recurring relationship problems. We may find it difficult to feel that our choices in life are right for us and always seek that elusive better thing, be it a new job, a new partner etc.

The feelings and memories we push out of our awareness do not simply disappear, but constantly press for expression and resolution. Our defences stop these painful experiences from coming to our awareness. This internal conflict very often leads to unwelcome psychological and physical symptoms including anxiety, depression, frequent headaches, digestive problems or chronic health issues as well as recurring patterns in relationships.


ISTDP is very effective because of its focussed attention upon these unconscious defences, especially defences that interfere with and jeopardise the therapeutic process. It specifically identifies pathways of anxiety in the body.

ISTDP is based on the principle that intellectual insight into one’s problems on its own is not enough to resolve them, so it works on a profoundly experiential level, and transformative change often occurs in a relatively short period of time. 

bottom of page