Do you strive to be more effective as a therapist? Do you want to build your skills to be optimally responsive to your patients' therapeutic needs? Want to learn assessment and intervention skills that can improve outcomes and reduce dropout? ISTDP is an evidence-based therapy model that offers an attachment-focused system of assessment and intervention that can help you increase your attunement and effectiveness with a wide range of patients.
The focus on attachment and response-to-intervention in ISTDP training helps therapists to:
ISTDP has been shown to be uniquely effective with treatment-resistant and somatoform conditions, and has been found to be cost-effective, with shortened treatment lengths, across a wide range of conditions. Graduates of our program report that they not only learned theory and skills; they became more effective because they were helped to integrate the model with their own personal strengths and style.
Developed by Habib Davanloo, MD in the 1960’s, the theory and technique of ISTDP have been refined and elaborated by later generations of his students around the world. The efficacy of ISTDP has been widely researched and demonstrated with a variety of disorders. All ISTDP therapists understand that a patient’s problems result from defenses that arise in response to the anxiety that is coupled with unconscious feeling. The goal of therapy is to help the patient develop the ability to attend to internal experiences in order to regulate anxiety and turn against maladaptive defenses. This allows unconscious emotions to emerge, become integrated, and pave the way for consistent, unfettered access to motivational feelings.
The Washington School of Psychiatry ISTDP Program is one of a few programs worldwide to teach this approach. The foremost clinician-researchers of ISTDP are frequent guest lecturers in the WSP program. Our program has become a leading center for the study of ISTDP and the program’s dedicated students and graduates form a community of supportive and interdependent co-learners.
Basic principles of ISTDP theory:
Each three-day weekend will address one ISTDP concept and corresponding techniques.
Examples of core training topics include:
The school year runs from September through May each year. The ISTDP program is a three-year certificate program. Students can opt to take just year-one or pursue the full three-year certificate. The ISTDP program’s emphasis on skill development makes it distinct among psychotherapy programs. Theory and technique are taught in tandem throughout the program.
During The first year of the program students learn the metapsychology and techniques of ISTDP. Faculty share videos of their clinical work and utilize experiential teaching methods to engage students. The first year class meets 20 times in the academic year on Fridays from 3:30 to 5:30PM. Small group supervision follows from 5:45 to 6:45PM, 18 sessions per year.
The second and third year of the program emphasize technique and skill building. In-depth lectures and videotape demonstration are combined with role play and supervision of students’ videotaped sessions. Students present their clinical work to learn how to apply techniques across the spectrum patients. Small group supervision for second and third year students is held Fridays, 4:00 to 6:00PM, 10 sessions per year. The second-third year class meets for three 3-day core-training weekends.
All classes will be virtual for 2021-2022.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, first year classes begin on September 17, 2021, and end on May 6, 2022. First year classes meet ten (10) times each semester.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, second-third year students have three (3) intensive weekends each year. These weekends are:
Second-third year students also meet for ten (10) 2-hour small group supervision sessions throughout the year beginning September 24, 2021, and ending April 29, 2022.
To ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students and faculty, the 2021-2022 program cycle will be held synchronously vis Zoom. Students will be able to access course readings and syllabi via their program's Microsoft OneDrive.
To successfully participate in courses, students need the following:
Students will not need to have a Microsoft or Zoom account to join class meetings or access course files. However, faculty may require a password to access meetings or files. Please consult with your faculty members to obtain access.
Additionally, faculty may require students to provide "proof of presence" by ensuring that their camera is on during class.
You will need to ensure that your computer/laptop and web browser works with Zoom. Click here to learn more about Zoom compatibility requirements.
For technical assistance, please contact your faculty or you may contact the WSP Administrative Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 202-237-2700.
First year students with full attendance receive 58 CE/CMEs per year.
Second-Third year students with full attendance receive 83 CE/CMEs per year.
Dr. Stuart Andrews
Dr. Janet Merkel
Applications for training courses are accepted as early as May 1, 2020, and are due by August 1, 2021, to the WSP administrative office. After this date, admissions will be considered on a space-available basis and is up to the faculty of each program. Reach out to the program contact (above) for more information.
Please submit the following to the Washington School of Psychiatry:
All applicants will be interviewed by faculty.
For the ISTDP Program
First year students complete a letter of intent to continue to second-third year by June 30th each year.
Applicants must have:
Year 1: $1,200 + $720 Supervision Fee
Year 2: $1,900 + $800 Supervision Fee
Year 3: $1,900 + $800 Supervision Fee
Payment installments may be arranged through the administrative office.
The $50 application fee is nonrefundable.
Limited scholarship money may be available, based on need and merit. A scholarship application is on the wspdc.org website.
First year: $40 per group session, 18 one-hour sessions per academic year.
Second year: $80 per group session, 10 two-hour sessions per academic year.
Supervision fees are invoiced at the same time as tuition.
Stuart Andrews, PhD (Chair)
Janet Merkel, PhD (Co-Chair)
Jon Fredrickson, MSW
Timothy Freitas, PsyD
Michelle May, MA
Margo Silberstein, EdD
Jack Tawil, MSW
Kessler Bickford, MA
Nyambura Kamau, MA
Nima Ghorbani, PhD
The Washington School of Psychiatry
5028 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20016-4118
Celebrating its 85th year, the School is an accredited provider of post-graduate continuing education.
The Meyer Treatment Center provides low cost access to mental health services. It is an out-of-network facility for insurance purposes.
The Washington School of Psychiatry is an independent non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with the government of the District of Columbia or the government of the United States.
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