I began my training in psychotherapy as a first year psychiatric resident. In my third year of residency I had my first ISTDP (Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy) case and came to love psychotherapy. I was able to witness firsthand the tremendous change that psychotherapy can bring into someone's life.
ISTDP, like many classic psychotherapies, understands people in terms of past experiences, and how those experiences affect our interactions today, on both conscious and subconscious levels. The difference between ISTDP, and many other psychotherapies, lies in how ISTDP deals with the issue of a patient's resistance (the ways people avoid their conscious and subconscious feelings). ISTDP promotes a very direct examination of these defenses and shows the person how the use of these defenses contribute to the self-destructive patterns that keep people in a continual state of conflict. It is a therapy that, in my opinion, mixes the best elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy and yet is distinctly different in how it is applied.
ISTDP creates deep, full and long-lasting change, not to mention the removal of depression, anxiety, and any number of patterns of self-defeating behavior.
ISTDP sessions last on the order of 90-120 minutes. It is a type of psychotherapy that is very direct (the therapist actively works to confront the person about their defenses), and is able to mobilize deep feelings within a short period of time. This, however, belies the single most important factor: the motivation of you, the patient.