The primary approach I use is Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). This is an empirically validated approach based on the findings of neuroscience, attachment studies, and psychodynamic theory.
According to this model, many disorders are based on the emotional effects (i.e., anger, rage, guilt, grief, etc.) of unresolved painful or traumatic experiences with your caregivers or other important persons in your life. These emotional injuries can create a cascade of painful feelings and anxiety, and over time we learn to develop defenses as a way to manage these powerful emotions. Unfortunately, this only prolongs the problem, as the defenses we learned to use early in life can become self-defeating patterns of behavior and relating to self and others. In a nutshell, these defenses can result in the development of our psychological symptoms and physical problems, which often include various forms of depression and anxiety, the addictions, psychosomatic issues, panic attacks, and relationship problems.
Want to learn more about the most common types of defenses? Click here for more information.
In this approach the primary focus is on helping you to reduce your anxiety, experience your cut-off emotions, and to build your capacity to manage them in healthier ways. Through doing this, clients often report a drop in their anxiety, tension, and other psychological and physical symptoms. Clients often report feeling more “clear” and “grounded”, both in the session and in dealing with others and life in general. In this way you can learn to rewrite those old self-defeating scripts and lead a more productive and fulfilling life.
This treatment approach has been well researched and shown to be effective in resolving problems in a time efficient manner. More information on the empirical research of this approach can be found here.
A more detailed overview of ISTDP can be found on Wikipedia here.
This 10 minute video by Allan Abbass, one of the primary researchers on the effectiveness of ISTDP, provides a great overview of this approach: