Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Therapy takes the most beneficial aspects of traditional psychoanalysis and condenses them into a form of therapy which offers rapid results. In traditional therapy, the process of self-awareness, insight, and affirmative lifestyle change can take years. ISTDT techniques have been developed in order to help patients bypass the internal resistance mechanisms that block emotional insight. One of the key principles of this therapy concerns the relationship of early childhood attachments and rejections to current relational difficulties. This therapy can help to strip away the self-defeating, but subconscious, methods patients use to recreate the dynamics of rejection in their adult lives.
One ISTDP technique is for the therapist to encourage the patient to be accountable for their emotions. For example, when a patient shares an anecdote of a negative interaction with a family member or co-worker, they may use humor to attempt to mask their true feelings. A therapist will challenge the patient to abandon the defense mechanism and expose their true feelings to both the therapist and themselves.
Compassion, respect and professional integrity are all central to the ISTDP process. A patient must have confidence in their therapist in order to share their vulnerable, unguarded selves. The rewards of this therapy are dramatic and sustainable healing in a relatively short period of time.