Somatic symptom disorders and major depression are very common causes of long-term patient suffering and excess healthcare in social system costs. Because of complicated personality factors, most of the patients with these conditions are treatment resistant. They fail to respond to traditional treatments and suffer long term disabilities. Many have severe anxiety with dissociation or a high degree of defensiveness that prevents treatment engagement.

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy or ISTDP is an intensive, emotion focused psychotherapy, developed to address factors that may block the effectiveness of traditional treatment. ISTDP works by rapidly diagnosing and managing treatment resistance and complexity through handling of defenses and building necessary emotional capacities. Through this front-end work, underlying memories and feelings about attachment trauma can be experienced and processed.

ISTDP has a robust and steadily growing research basis demonstrating that it is effective and cost effective with anxiety, somatic, depressive, and personality disorders. It has produced the highest remission rate for Treatment Resistant Depression in any published outcome study with gains maintained in follow-up. It has been subjected to 20 studies for the full spectrum of somatic symptom disorders and shown to be highly cost effective.

This 2-day immersion course will identify and provide a framework for understanding the various types of depression and somatic symptom presentations in your clinical practice and demonstrate the psychodiagnostic and treatment processes aimed at getting to the roots of these resistances. This course offers rich video illustrations from actual psychotherapy sessions across the spectrum of patients with this condition including those with comorbid somatic symptom, anxiety and dissociative disorders.

About the Presenter:
Dr. Allan Abbass is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and founding Director of the Centre for Emotions and Health at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He is a leading and award-winning teacher and researcher in the area of Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, with over 250 publications and 300 invited presentations all over the globe. These articles can be viewed at

He is known for simplifying the theory and technical aspects of the Intensive Short-termDynamic Psychotherapy – ISTDP – model, with the use of algorithms, and through highlighting moment-to-moment processes that inform interventions. He has received numerous teaching awards, including two national awards in psychiatry, he has been honored with visiting professorships at several international universities and institutions including most recently being named the David Malan Visiting Professor of Psychotherapy at the Tavistock in London.

He founded an award-winning service to treat patients with somatic symptoms with recurrent emergency department visits. He holds recurrent intensive training programs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Canada, and provides internet-based training to professionals and groups around the world.

Dr. Abbass’ critically acclaimed textbook on ISTDP “Reaching Through Resistance: Advanced Psychotherapy Techniques” was published in 2015. His latest book, Hidden from View: A Clinician’s Guide to Psychophysiologic Disorders (Abbass and Schubiner, 2018), deals with psychophysiologic disorders and how health professionals can diagnose and manage these conditions including the use of ISTDP techniques.

About the Immersion course:
The two-day immersion course in the heart of Amsterdam, overlooking the picturesque canals and centuries old houses, will be held at the Keizersgrachtkerk, a very scenic location where church services are still active to date. Available hotels are numerous and in any price range or
distance from the venue. Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 January, Dr. Allan Abbass will present his work using videotapes of actual psychotherapy sessions. On Friday 17 January, there is a possibility to receive live supervision by Dr. Allan Abbass in a small group (€175,- or €125,- for observers only). If interested, mention this when sending your registration form to

Early bird fees are available until the 1st of November 2019.
Cancellation policy: cancelling 1 month before commencement: 10% of the paid fee will be charged; between 4 and two weeks: 50% of the paid fee will be charged; cancelling less than two weeks before commencement: 100% of the paid fee will be charged. Terms of payment are published on Accreditation information follows. Please see the attached registration form for more information and fees.

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