During the 1980s and 90s Michael Alpert of the NJ/NY STDP Institute organized Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (STDP) conferences in New York and New Jersey. These provided an opportunity for clinicians who had studied the Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) of Habib Davanloo to present their work and engage in stimulating debate and discussion in an atmosphere of openness and collegiality. These clinicians had taken the powerful techniques of ISTDP and adapted them in new and unique ways.
One outgrowth of these conferences was ongoing email discussion of EDT-related topics. An informal e-mail discussion list was begun in spring of 1998; on January 1, 1999 Michael Alpert and Allen Kalpin started the STDP Email Discussion List. Allen and Michael asked six others to become an informal board for the listserv.
The IEDTA was born in 2000, when Ferruccio Osimo proposed forming an international umbrella organization to encourage research and teaching of the EDTs, and to promote productive dialog between various types of EDT. Originally named IESA (International Experiential STDP Association), the organization had its founding conference in Milan, Italy in May of 2001 which was attended by about 300 people. Since that inception, conferences have taken place roughly every two years.
In 2004, the IESA board decided to refer to the therapies as Experiential Dynamic Therapies (EDTs), rather than Experiential Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapies (E-STDPs); the name of the organization was changed to the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA).
Since 2007, the IEDTA has set certification standards for EDT core training, EDT teachers, and EDT supervisors.