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Davanloos intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy. Effectiveness and association between unlocking the unconscious and outcome
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dalhousie University, Canada.
Dalhousie University, Canada.
Dalhousie University, Canada.
2016 (English)In: Psychotherapeut (Berlin), ISSN 0935-6185, E-ISSN 1432-2080, Vol. 61, no 4, 327-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP), as developed by Habib Davanloo, is an intensive emotion-focused psychodynamic therapy with an explicit focus on handling resistance in treatment. A core assumption in ISTDP is that psychotherapeutic effects are dependent on in-session emotional processing in the form of an increase in complex transference feelings that occur when treatment resistance is challenged. Recent research indicates that an unlocking of the unconscious, a powerful emotional breakthrough achieved by a rise in complex transference feelings, can potentially enhance the effectiveness of ISTDP. While ISTDP has a growing evidence base, most of the research conducted has used small samples and has tested therapy delivered by expert therapists. The aims of this study were to evaluate the overall effectiveness of ISTDP when delivered in a tertiary psychotherapy service and to investigate whether unlocking the unconscious during therapy promotes enhanced treatment effectiveness. A total of 412 patients were included in the analysis. The average length of treatment was 10.2 sessions (SD 13.3). Multilevel growth curve modeling was used to evaluate treatment effectiveness and the association between unlocking the unconscious and outcome. A number of control predictors including type of treatment resistance were selected and included in the analysis. Outcome was measured with the brief symptom inventory (BSI) and the inventory of interpersonal problems (IIP). Approximately half of the patients in the study were treated by therapists in training and the rest by more experienced therapists. Growth curve analyses using the full intention to treat sample revealed significant within-group effects of ISTDP on both the BSI and the IIP. Effect sizes were large (amp;gt; 0.80). Unlocking the unconscious during therapy was associated with a significant improvement in treatment outcome. The relationship was further moderated by the type of treatment resistance. This study adds to the empirical base of Davanloos ISTDP with confirmed treatment effectiveness in a large-scale patient sample when ISTDP was delivered by therapists with a wide range of experience. Furthermore, emotional mobilization in the form of unlocking the unconscious was confirmed as a process factor enhancing the effectiveness of ISTDP.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2016. Vol. 61, no 4, 327-338 p.
Keyword [en]
Psychotherapy; Psychodynamic psychotherapy; Effectiveness; Affect; Emotion
National Category
Applied Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130662DOI: 10.1007/s00278-016-0108-1ISI: 000379853400009OAI: diva2:954159
Available from: 2016-08-20 Created: 2016-08-19 Last updated: 2016-08-20

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Johansson, Robert
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