ISTDP and EFT Therapies

Both of these psychotherapeutic approaches are short term results orientated therapies, as opposed to long term open ended psycho-analysis.

EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT began in the mid-1980s as one approach for helping couples. EFT was originally formulated and tested by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in 1985 and the first manual for emotionally focused couples therapy was published in 1988.

To develop the approach, Johnson and Greenberg began reviewing videos of sessions of couples therapy to identify, through observation and task analysis, the elements that lead to positive change. They were influenced in their observations by the humanistic experiential psychotherapies of Carl Rogers and Fritz Perls, both of whom valued (in different ways) present-moment emotional experience for its power to create meaning and guide behavior. Johnson and Greenberg saw the need to combine experiential therapy with the systems theoretical view that meaning-making and behavior cannot be considered outside of the whole situation in which they occur. In this combined experiential - systemic approach to couples therapy, as in other approaches to systemic therapy, the problem is viewed as belonging not to one partner, but rather to the cyclical reinforcing patterns of interactions between partners. Emotion is viewed not only as a within-individual phenomena, but also as part of the whole system that organizes the interactions between partners.

Further viewing of couples therapy videos revealed attachment themes of fears of loss and connection. Attachment theory became a foundational part of Johnson's expansion of the original three-stage, nine-step EFT model of how distress occurs in romantic relationships and of the process for how distressed relationships could be repaired.

From Wikipedia EFT

ISTDP or Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy

Philosophy of ISTDP

ISTDP has common roots with classical psychoanalysis aimed at treating patients with psychoneurosis (environmentally acquired mental illness). Both treatments focus on unconscious mental processes (perceptions, past events, feelings about events, and distorted beliefs) as the cause of neurotic disorders. What distinguishes practitioners of ISTDP is that we believe that psychological treatment should be both:


Findings of clinical improvement must be confirmed by scientifically designed studies that demonstrate that the above changes occur and that they are long lasting, and finally, that treated patients continue to improve even after termination.

To accomplish the above goals, the ISTDP therapist is an active advocate of change rather than a neutral observer as in traditional analysis. The attitude of the ISTDP therapist is that the patient's time is irreplaceable and comprehensive change is possible in a reasonable, cost-effective time frame.

In ISTDP, experience of core emotion from the past is seen as the transformative vehicle and the therapist relies on non-interpretive techniques: encouragement to feel; challenge to take responsibility to change; and confrontation of resistance to change.

ISTDP therapists ask patients to address the historical roots of their difficulty through highly focused attention on transference phenomenon or life events that activate defenses.

ISTDP therapists strive to uncover repressed emotions or "complex feelings" about the past attachment failures. Many patients develop punitive self-structures to cope with these unresolved emotions during their development. ISTDP, as taught by this faculty, actively addresses the existence of these punitive structures beginning with the first interview.