ISTDP is a structured therapy that provides a framework to understand the development of your emotional problems and to make the positive changes you want. Through this process you can become your own therapist and expert on your internal experiences.
ISTDP is unique in its emphasis on defences that you may use to avoid emotional intimacy such as looking away when you say something of yourself, galloping speech, smiling/laughing when you say something that is painful to you and intellectualising. Further, ISTDP is particularly focused on the moment-to-moment monitoring and regulation of your physiological anxiety symptoms, for example muscular tension, dry mouth, sweaty palms, nausea, dizziness/faintness, foggy thinking, racing mind, ringing ears and dissociation. Taken together these focuses can help you take the maximum benefit from your sessions, and assure that your therapy proceeds at the right pace.
ISTDP is an emotion focused therapy. In early development our survival is dependent on staying connected to our parent(s). Our healthy, core emotions, such as happiness, anger and sadness, become unconsciously linked with fear when they threaten to break this vital connection. If your caregiver(s) did not support you to experience any of your core emotions, for example to cry when you were saddened by loss, to feel angry and set healthy boundaries when you experienced others as judgemental or controlling, or to feel happy when you were successful, then you will experience excessive anxiety and use defences to block the full extent of your feelings.
Psychological defences are at the heart of human suffering as they ensure that you remain disconnected from the full extent of your feelings and, therefore, limit the emotional connection you experience with yourself and in your relationships. Further examples of defences are compliance and putting others first, self-devaluation/attack, self-doubt, self-blame, uncertainty, rumination, worry, perfectionism, procrastination, passivity and helplessness, and devaluing and blaming others.
In an environment of safety I can help you to make contact with the feelings that were once a threat to your most important relationships and now cause you anxiety. You can then stop using destructive defences and become free to live your life in the way you want.