Website author, Jessica Bolton, is trained in Experiential Dynamic Therapy as well as being interested in neuropsychology and Panksepp’s seven emotional systems.  EDTs have come from reviewing videotapes of therapy sessions and honing in on what happened in sessions when dramatic change occured.  All the EDTs have arisen from this careful and inspired work by Habib Davanloo as well as the work of David Malan in describing so effectively what we need to do.

Thankfully there are thousands of therapists who are highly involved, anxiety regulated, encouraging profound moments of meetings and enabling us to face what we have been avoiding.  EDT is the model that I have found that brings all these key ingredients together in a way that teaches and enables therapists to learn how to co-create effective change with their clients.

From the IEDTA website:

EDT stands for Experiential Dynamic Therapy. It is an “umbrella term” which applies Habib Davanloo’s Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) and a number of therapies which arose out of his work.

There is a substantial body of research demonstrating that EDT treatment is rapid and effective, with gains maintained and even enhanced at long-term follow-up.

Characteristics of EDTs

The Experiential Dynamic Therapies share a number of characteristics. They are all:

  • Psychodynamic: they are built on parts of Freudian psychoanalytic theory, in that they work with conflicting unconscious forces within the psyche, with a particular focus on defenses, anxiety, avoided feelings, and transference.  Other aspects of psychoanalytic theory and practice are de-emphasized and even rejected.

  • Experiential: EDTs emphasize the importance of experiencing rather than avoiding healthy emotions during psychotherapy sessions, because simply talking about emotions is not sufficient to bring therapeutic change.

  • Relational: EDTs focus on emotional closeness and attachment, and make central use of the therapeutic relationship for both assessment and treatment.

  • Transformation-oriented: the goal of the EDTs is to help patients achieve meaningful change as rapidly as possible; for many patients, this means a fundamental shift in their orientation to themselves, their relationships, and the world.  While many EDTs retain the words “short-term” in their titles, the foremost goal of an EDT is to achieve significant, lasting change.  In many cases, therapy is dramatically shorter than traditional long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy.

A study by SueAnne Piliero includes these reactions to EDT:

“I have such a great sense of accomplishment at having faced my feelings and owning them. I’m much more comfortable in my skin today.”
–30-year-old graduate student

“I feel that profound changes took place in therapy, have continued to take place, and will continue to take place.”
–44-year-old mother/martial arts instructor

“The moment of self awakening/awareness to the root of my difficulties was a ‘life landmark.’ I felt absolutely empowered, validated, liberated, joyful without fear or anxiety. The most significant emotion was feeling at peace….I had not felt this in over 40 years!”
–54-year-old librarian

“I didn’t know that I was living in fear of my own feelings. Becoming aware of this fear allowed me to overcome it, therefore I was able to experience all the other feelings/emotions. This experience freed me from an almost lifelong depression.”
–35-year-old homemaker

“Other therapies helped me to feel better at times, but this therapy gave me tools to enable me to live in a better way.” My therapy experience was exemplary. I felt understood. I felt I was able to tolerate my feelings and understand their origin and how they affected my life. I genuinely changed with this therapy and therapist.”
–56-year-old health care professional, after 8 years with no further treatment

I became clearer about what I was feeling and why. I ‘came home’ to myself and can relate out of a stronger sense of me.”
–54-year-old food professional

I felt as though I was unlocked. There was hope for me. And that I could be received by another person.”
–43-year-old physical therapist

It eliminated the need for medication. When symptoms arise, I can manage them myself. Also, awareness of feeling has increased my sense of freedom and self confidence.”
–52-year-old business manager