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Treating Anxiety Disorders with Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy

Monday 11th January 2021

The Met Hotel, King Street, Leeds, LS1 2HQ

9.00am Registration, 9.30am Welcome and 4.30pm Close


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If this course is unable to proceed in a physical venue due to government regulations, then we will make every attempt to go ahead virtually. We will keep you updated of any changes made regarding this course.

Anxiety symptoms characterise as well as co-exist with many mental health conditions, including depression, panic disorders, phobic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. This workshop will focus on the way in which Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) conceptualises and treats symptoms of anxiety.

ISTDP is an emotion-focused, accelerated form of dynamic psychotherapy. This active approach comprises a targeted set of techniques which focus on processing emotional blockages responsible for symptoms of psychological distress, including anxiety. The ISTDP therapist aims to monitor and keep anxiety levels within a therapeutic window that is optimal for therapeutic progress. Throughout the therapy process, the patient learns to distinguish anxiety from core emotions, to understand the root causes of anxiety symptoms and to be able to process emotions more effectively in order to gain relief from anxiety symptoms.

ISTDP has a robust evidence base with over forty studies demonstrating effectiveness for a broad spectrum of psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, somatization, medically unexplained symptoms and personality problems.

Led by Dr Sharon Lewis, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, ISTDP London (, this one-day workshop will provide an overview of the theoretical framework of ISTDP and the ways in which this approach is used to treat anxiety disorders. The unique elements of the model will be highlighted, including: the emphasis on the somatic experience of emotions in the here and now; monitoring unconscious signalling of anxiety in the body; and an active approach to maladaptive defence mechanisms.

The emphasis will be on understanding of unconscious anxiety symptoms and ways in which these can be effectively diagnosed and regulated in order to work safely within patients’ range of tolerance to improve therapeutic outcomes.

Video presentations of clinical sessions will be shown to demonstrate the key principles of this technique.

After attending this course delegates will be able to:

  • Understand the theoretical framework of ISTDP
  • Identify the manifestations of unconscious anxiety and understand how these symptoms can be used for diagnostic purposes
  • Use targeted techniques to regulate anxiety 
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