Experiential Dynamic Therapy (EDT) is one of a larger group of psychotherapies known as Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (STPP). Among other board members, Allan Abbass ( www.istdp.ca ) has published several clinical trials and meta-analyses of STDP outcome research and he summarizes his findings as follows:
Short-term dynamic psychotherapies, as a group, have been subjected to extensive research into efficacy and cost effectiveness. Over 60 randomized controlled trials of these methods have been published showing they are more effective than non treatment controls in short and long term follow-up. They are as effective as other formal treatments such as CBT in bringing symptom reduction. They maybe the single best option for patients with certain personality disorders.”
STDP is Clinically Effective
Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy formats specifically help a patient to examine trauma and loss-related emotions that result in somatization, depression, anxiety and self-defeating behaviors. Case-series videotaped research over the past 30 years has established the effectiveness of the methods in both short and long term follow-up (1). Early research has been supplemented by numerous case series including broad ranges of patients. Now over 60 randomized controlled trials support it for anxiety, depression, somatic disorders and personality disorders.
STPP Has Been Subjected Now to 10 Meta-Analyses
These 10 reviews included mixed samples, somatic disorders, depression and personality disorders and all found STPP to be highly effective compared to controls and as effective as other formal treatments in both short and long term. The most recent of these are references 2-6.
STDP is Cost-Effective and Improves Health Care Utilization
STDP has been shown to reduce healthcare utilization and to be cost-effective in treating patients with dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, self-harm and treatment-resistant conditions (2, 6). Of specific cost figures cited in reviewed papers, 27 out of 34 showed cost savings with STDP including reduction in total costs, medication costs, disability, hospital and physician use.
In short, this emotionally focused treatment has been shown to both unburden the healthcare system and improve the well-being of patients. Addressing how patients deal with emotions can normalize their use of the healthcare system.
Davanloo, H. (1980). Short-term dynamic psychotherapy. New York , Jason Aronson.
Abbass A, Kisely S, Kroenke K: Short-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Somatic Symptom Disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2009:
Driessen E, Cuijpers P, de Maat S, Abbass A, de Jongheb , F, Dekker J The Efficacy of Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Depression: a Meta-Analysis, Clinical Psychology Review. in press
Stanley B. Messer and Allan A. Abbass. Evidence-based Psychodynamic Therapy with Personality Disorders. In J. Magnavita (Ed.). Evidence-based Treatment of Personality Dysfunction: Principles, Methods and Processes. Washington , DC : American Psychological Association Press. In Press
Abbass AA, Henderson J, Kisely S., Hancock JT, (2006c) Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapies for common mental disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Oct 18;(4):CD004687
Abbass A. The cost-effectiveness of short-term dynamic psychotherapy. Journal of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. 2003;3(5):535-539.
Allan Abbass has been investigating ISTDP with patients with personality disorders, somatoform disorders, treatment resistant depression, and modified formats with patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He has found that overall groups were significantly better after than before treatment. He has been doing ongoing research showing that the treatment saves money in the healthcare system in both the short and long term.
Kees Cornellissen in his residential ISTDP treatment program in the Netherlands, has measured improvement in patients with severe personality disorders. Patients improved considerably between admission and termination of treatment. The observed effects proved stable over time, as can be seen at follow-ups 1 and 3 years after discharge. This was published in:
AD HOC Bulletin of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, practice and theory, Volume 6, nr. 2, December 2002, pg. 14-22
He has started a new project which investigates the long term effectiveness of residential ISTDP, investigating all patients that were treated during the last ten years. All 165 patients will be interviewed and screened on their psychological and physical complaints as well as their use of medication compared to the start of treatment.
Leigh McCullough has done psychotherapy process research and is currently working toward studying brain changes brought about by psychotherapy as seen on functional MRI scans.
Nima Ghorbani has published data showing that 6 sessions of ISTDP brought significant changes in immune cell counts compared to a control group. Thus, we are further reminded that emotions have wide influence on overall health and physiology.
Robert Neborsky is currently conducting a research study entitled “Clinical Prediction of Attachment Style from a Clinical Interview.” The method involves 12 patients in IS-TDP who were administered Adult Attachment Inventories (AAI’s) concurrently with a clinical judgment of their attachment style from observations of a video tape of their IS-TDP interview. The study hypothesis is that attachment style can be assessed from an IS-TDP interview. His collaborators are Mary Main, Erik Hesse, and Kelly Yost Abrams.
Sue Anne Piliero published her PhD dissertation entitled, “Patients Reflect Upon their Affect-Focused, Experiential Psychotherapy: A Retrospective Study.”