Psychodynamic Therapy - ISTDP
What Happens When You Seek Psychodynamic Therapy With Kieran Grosman, Psy.D.?
Therapy sessions with me tend to be intense. I work best with people who are highly motivated by the long-standing pain in their life to create radical change.
Using Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), I help otherwise high-functioning people overcome anxiety, depression, and relationship difficulties.
Conceptually, the process is simple. First, I am highly attuned to your anxiety second to second during the session. When anxiety gets too high, we will work to regulate it in the moment. We then analyze and clarify what caused your anxiety to spike in that particular moment.
Second, I acquaint you with the (largely unconscious) defenses you use in our time together. These defenses prevent you from feeling your feelings fully and engaging in authentic relationships, both with me and with important people in your life. Once I familiarize you with your defenses, we elucidate how those behaviors are hurtful to you. I then invite you to do something better for yourself.
Finally, I encourage you to feel your feelings fully so that you can have better information about what it is that you truly want in life, as well as the motivation to pursue those desires.
During sessions, you can expect to experience intense feelings. This will allow you to trust that whatever life throws you, you’ll have the necessary tools so that you can handle it. You will be happy again. You will know what you want in relationships, and you will get much better at picking friends and partners who are able to give you those things.
What Happens During Our First Session of Intensive, Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)?
When you enter treatment, I will ask you what is the problem you want my help with. This may be easy for you to articulate. If that’s the case, great, we can move on to figuring out a specific example of where that’s a problem for you.
But you may find that it’s quite difficult for you to articulate an internal, emotional problem. You may have a general sense of what you don’t want, but not be sure what it is that you DO want. Or you may have a sense of what you want, but it will feel terrifying to articulate that. You might become vague, so that I can’t get a clear sense of your problem. Or perhaps as we begin I will notice that you start to hold your breathe, that you stop yourself mid-sentence repeatedly, and that you undo your utterances by saying, “I don’t know”. We will begin to see the specific ways that you hold me--a person whose help you want, but also whose help you are terrified of receiving--at a distance.
When you hold me at a distance, you make it impossible for me to get to know you, and impossible for me to advise you. We will begin to explore if this is a pattern. Do you hold important others at a distance? Does this cause difficulties in your life?
Working moment by moment, I acquaint you with the ways you are enacting old relationship patterns in your relationship with me. Once you can see how you do this, then you can begin to make a conscious choice to do something different.
But often making a choice to do something different is quite scary.
Why is it so scary to make these changes?
ISTDP is based on attachment and the emotional effects of broken attachments. Most of my patients experienced profound ruptures in early relationships with important caretakers. Because you were young when this happened, you needed help in processing the very big feelings that these early disruptions caused. However, for a variety of reasons, you weren’t given this help.
Instead, you learned maladaptive ways of coping.
You learned that your feelings could make your parents too anxious, upset, or even angry. You became adept at hiding your feelings from others, and sometimes you became adept at hiding your feelings from yourself.
Unfortunately, these feelings about early caretakers didn’t go away. They simply became blocked and avoided. When later life events (like a failed relationship, loss of a job, or having a boss who consistently violates your boundaries) stir up these feelings, more anxiety and defenses are activated.
What do ISTDP Therapists Do?
ISTDP shares roots with psychoanalysis. Like analysts, ISTDP therapists are interested in how perceptions, past events, feelings about events, and distorted beliefs affect a person’s present. A major difference is that ISTDP therapists take an active role in the therapeutic process.
If you are ready to take charge of your life, and want to be more chill, happier, and have infinitely more pleasurable relationships, please reach out to me. I’m here to coach you.