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Application of ISTDP in Waiting List Groups: A Two-Day Workshop for Mental Health Professionals

7 March 2015 @ 9:00 AM - 8 March 2015 @ 4:30 PM


As this world is not exactly Paradise, and, as we, human beings, are no Saints, the proportion of people suffering from psychological and/or physical harm is rather high.

Luckily, in many countries, there is something like a Public Mental Health Service, but given the above, being confronted with long waiting lists of prospective patients, one may not be astonished. Very often, in out-patient as well as in residential settings, waiting lists are longer than three months. These long waiting lists and, lest we forget, economic reasons, can lead to many colleagues working in the (public) mental health sector being under pressure to “cure” their patients in the shortest possible time. In many cases, this culture and climate is not to the advantage of the quality of therapy being administered, not to the advantage of the health of the therapist, nor to the advantage of the patients. Of course, we, therapists, all can do our best to establish and maintain a high quality working alliance with our patients, and to go for optimal results in the shortest possible time. This will certainly have some effect on the (growing) size of waiting lists. On the other hand, time that patients have to wait before entering a therapy can be used to the benefit of those patients as well as to the benefit of their future therapy processes and the duration of their therapy.

Waiting list groups

Of course, a patient´s particular configuration of problems remains the same independent of the therapy setting (whether it be individual, Partner Relation Therapy, group, out-patient or residential), and independent of the psychotherapy school (whether it be a (cognitive-) behaviour therapy, a psychodynamic psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy etc). The particular kind of psychotherapy that is indicated as the treatment of that particular patient is of course dependent on the specific Axis I and Axis II problems of that patient but, is also often dependent on the availability of practitioners of a particular psychotherapy method, financial issues, and the particular therapy wishes of a patient (for example, some agoraphobic patients are only motivated to participate in a Systematic Desensitization procedure). However, as 100% of our patients enter therapy with a mixture of anxiety, defences against intimacy with themselves (cellar door defences), and defences against intimacy with others (front door defences), they all could profit from a waiting list group where they can learn to look at their intrapsychic and interpersonal problems in terms of the Triangle of Persons and the Triangle of Conflict.

The specific model of waiting list group treatment (devised by Dr. Josette ten Have-de Labije) can be used in both out-patient and residential mental health care settings. The waiting list groups can be open to patients on a waiting list for individual and / or group psychodynamic psychotherapy, individual and / or group (cognitive) behaviour therapy, individual and / or group ISTDP.

Structure of the waiting list groups: Open, once a week, 90 minutes. Each patient may participate for a maximum of twelve sessions.

Before entering the waiting list group, participants are asked to prepare one concrete example of a situation in which they are confronted with their problem.

During the course of the waiting list group, participants are acquainted with the importance of understanding themselves with love, care, precision, scientific honesty, the importance of understanding their functioning in the realm of one particular situation, their particular physiological anxiety manifestations, their range of defences, and their self-defeating function.


This workshop is open to colleagues (psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists) working within the mental health care sector. For the purpose of the workshop, each participant is asked to have in mind at least three of their patients . After a short theoretical introduction and discussion, most of the time will be spent in role play


7 March 2015 @ 9:00 AM
8 March 2015 @ 4:30 PM
Event Category:


ISTDP Midlands
0798 967 5918
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