Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy

What is Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy?

Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy seeks to help the client overcome resistance to experiencing true feelings about their present and/or past which have been minimised, repressed or denied because they are either too frightening or too painful. The technique is ‘intensive’ in that it aims to help the client experience these warded-off feelings to the maximum degree possible; it is short-term in that it tries to achieve this experience as quickly as possible relative to more traditional approaches to psychodynamic therapy.

How does Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy Work?

One conceptualisation of the dynamics of conflict is the Triangle of conflict which encourages the therapist to identify the interrelationship between Defences, Anxiety and Hidden Feelings or Impulses. At the heart of this model is the client’s true, impulse-laden feelings, that are outside of conscious awareness. When those emotions rise to a certain degree they threaten to break into conscious awareness, and trigger anxiety. The client is thought to manage this anxiety by utilising defences, which lessen anxiety by pushing emotions back into the unconscious. The therapist will observe and challenge the utilisation of the defence and this pressure facilitates the experience of intense anxiety paired with a recognition that the client is sufficiently robust to manage those feelings.

What is Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy used for?

This approach can have a broad range of applications and is suitable for use with client’s presenting with somatoform and personality disorders.

What can I expect from Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy?

You can expect to be supported to experience feared emotions. This is not always a pleasant process but one that is seen as necessary to take the power out of avoided anxieties.

What mental health issues is Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy most helpful in treating?

This approach can have a broad range of applications and is suitable for use with client’s presenting with somatoform and personality disorders.

When doesn’t Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy work?

This approach requires an inquisitive and courageous client and a strong therapeutic allegiance or working relationship between therapist and client.

Things to consider before choosing Intensive Short-Term Psychotherapy

Can you establish a strong working allegiance with the therapist and are you prepared to experience intensely feared feelings and anxieties.

This content has been researched, prepared and written by Counselling in Melbourne psychologist Dr Malcolm Winstanley-Cross.

View profile >

COVID-19 & Confidential online counselling appointments now available