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Overcoming Treatment-Resistance with Attachment-Based ISTDP

8 September 2023 @ 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM


Dr. Robert Neborsky joins ISTDP San Diego to demonstrate and teach Attachment-Based Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.

This online, video-based therapy training will focus on Dr. Robert Neborsky’s article: “Brain, Mind and Dyadic Change Processes” (Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, Vol.62 (5) 523-538) and the case presented in it, “The Man Who Hung His Head.”

This is an actual clinical case of a patient whose symptoms remained, even after twenty years of psychoanalysis and sought ISTDP as a last-ditch effort to seek freedom from psychoneurosis. In many ways the case has similarities to Freud’s landmark writings about Little Hans and the unconscious origin of phobic symptoms. The seminar will demonstrate classic techniques of working with front door defenses and undoing the repetition compulsion. In contrast to his previous treatment, his symptoms completely resolved after 9.5 hours of therapy with Dr. Neborsky.

After a brief lecture with presentation slides, we will see video demonstration of these change processes through the Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) process, in addition to witnessing Dr. Neborsky’s particular contributions and emphases with “Attachment-Based ISTDP,” as described in the article.

Participants are encouraged to read this article in preparation for the training, which can be found here: This article contains transcripts of parts of the treatment, as well as additional descriptions of AB-ISTDP. It describes this as a neuroscientific model of change mediated by the bi-hemispheric field created between therapist and patient, which relies heavily on attachment theory and the work of Mary Main and Eric Hesse.

Local participants are invited to gather for an in-person reception after the event at 4pm with Dr. Neborsky, Matt, and Tami, at Viewpoint Brewing Company: 2201 San Dieguito Dr., Suite D, Del Mar, CA 92014. This will be a great chance to network with other local ISTDP-interested colleagues. Drinks and food on your own. Space is limited. Please RSVP for the reception by emailing so we can secure enough spots in the reservation.

6.5 Continuing Credits will be available for this event and can be purchased for an additional $25.

CE Learning Objectives:

1. Analyze video of a treatment-resistant case.

2. Identify psychological factors involved in treatment-resistance.

3. Demonstrate how AB-ISTDP handles treatment-resistance and superego pathology.

4. Identify the curative processes in AB-ISTDP.

5. Apply learned techniques to better address treatment resistance in therapist’s own patients.

Schedule (in PST, add 3 hours for EST)

7-8:30am Introduction and didactic presentation

8:30-8:45am Morning break

8:45-10am Case presentation

10-11am Lunch break

11am-12:45pm Case presentation

12:45-1pm Afternoon break

1-2pm Case presentation

2-3pm Questions, reflection, discussion

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the event organizers, Tami Chelew and Matt Jarvinen, at

And if you would like to attend, but need financial assistance, please let us know. 

About The Presenter:

Robert J. Neborsky, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Del Mar, California, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine as well as UCLA School of Medicine (Hon). He was a founding member on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. He served as guest editor of the Ad Hoc Bulletin of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. In 2003, Dr. Neborsky was honored by the UCLA School of Medicine clinical faculty association as the Distinguished Psychiatric Lecturer of the year for 2002. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (1971) where he earned the Jacob Finesinger Award for excellence in Psychiatry. He interned in medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and performed his Psychiatry Residency at Emory University (72-75) where he earned the Hope Skobba Memorial Award.

He served two years in the United States Navy at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego where he eventually oversaw the in-patient psychiatric care unit. While there he completed his research on “High Dose Low Dose Haloperidol Administration in Acute Psychosis” and published this important work win the Archives of General Psychiatry. Upon leaving the Navy, he joined the faculty of UCSD School of Medicine and ran the emergency psychiatric service at the VA Hospital in La Jolla California. Eventually he chaired undergraduate psychiatric education.

In 1981 he left the university for private practice where he helped found Tri City Hospital In Patient Psychiatry Service and later Charter Hospital. As part of his professional activities, he served as Medical Director of the Lifespan Learning Institute in Los Angeles and developed a strong research interest in attachment theory which he combined with his ongoing study and work in Short term Dynamic Psychotherapy with Habib Davanloo, MD.

In 2001, he co-authored Short-Term Therapy for Long Term Change (Norton) and is a contributing author in the 2003 book, Healing Trauma (Norton). In 2011 along with Josette ten Have de Labije he authored Roadmap to the Unconscious: Mastering Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Karnac Books (translated and published in Polish in 2017). In 2013 he published Predicting Attachment Status from Observation of a Clinical Intensive Psychotherapy Interview which was nominated for Progress in Psychology as one of the top articles of that year.: Recently the Second edition of The Collected Writings of Robert J. Neborsky was published by Itasca Books. (2018)

Dr. Neborsky’s professional activities include training students in the techniques of his unique Attachment-Based variety of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (IS-TDP), presenting at local, national and international symposia and seminars. He is one of the founders of ISTDP-UK (Bristol) and ISTDP-London and currently serves as a senior consultant to their training programs. Currently, along with Sharon Lewis, Psy.D, he is founder of ISTDP Finland in Helsinki, Finland.

His current research interests include examination of the interface between attachment theory, neuroscience, and psychotherapy. He is also exploring the application of ISTDP techniques to enhance recovery from traumatic brain injury and post concussive syndrome associated with post traumatic stress disorder. He is actively engaged in application of new therapies for Treatment Resistant Depression. In addition, he is refining techniques of repairing chronic overuse of the parasympathetic nervous system as a defective anxiety regulatory mechanism.

Most recently, he was a keynote presenter at the Polish Society for Integration of Psychotherapy in Warsaw, Poland in June 5, 2022 where he demonstrated this work. Next, He will be teaching “The Theory and Practice of Attachment Based ISTDP” in a two day seminar in Helsinki, Finland in June 2023.


8 September 2023
7:00 AM - 3:00 PM


ISTDP San Diego Community
View Organizer Website


United Kingdom E16 2DQ + Google Map
View Venue Website

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