Practice | FAQ

What is Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy?


Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (STDP) is a modern rendition of some of Freud’s best theories. It is “dynamic” because the therapist is always helping the patient with the dynamic struggle between thoughts and feelings that need to be expressed, and the defense mechanisms that keep them at bay. In this model, the patient is encouraged to experience his emotions, not just talk about them.


How does STDP differ from traditional psychoanalysis?


STDP is generally a more active technique. In traditional analysis, the patient is instructed to “free associate” and say whatever comes to mind. In STDP, the therapist tries to discourage the patient from rapidly changing topics because this can be a defense against focusing on the most critical issues that need to be addressed.

How long does therapy take?


The length of treatment varies greatly from one patient to the next. In some cases, 10-20 sessions suffice to overcome long-standing problems. In other cases, therapy may continue for over 100 sessions. The techniques used were originally named Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, as the treatment was much shorter than traditional psychoanalysis. In recent years, some therapists have used the term “Experiential Dynamic Therapy” (EDT) to emphasize the emotional element of the treatment, rather than the time involved.


What kinds of problems are treated with STDP?


STDP is useful for common emotional problems like anxiety, panic, depression, relationship problems, and poor self-esteem. Certain maladaptive personality traits (being overly dependent, submissive, controlling, etc.) can respond well to treatment. There is some evidence that common somatic complaints (headaches, GI distress) may abate, if they are related to emotional stress.   


Will insurance companies pay for STDP?


Insurance companies generally pay a limited amount for psychotherapy, but they do not usually dictate what type of individual therapy they will cover. So yes, they will pay for STDP.


Is there any research that validates STDP?


Absolutely. There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of these methods.

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