Project Description

The syllabus will cover:

• Metapsychology of ISTDP
• The diagnostic spectrum and assessment process
• Key therapeutic interventions in AB-ISTDP: Working with unconscious anxiety, maladaptive defence processes & emotional experiencing
• The punitive superego
• The Central Dynamic Sequence

Key concepts and techniques will be taught through a combination of lectures and clinical presentations. Supervision of participants’ own clinical work is a key element of the programme and trainees are required to present video of their work in progress. The small group format is designed to create a safe and stimulating environment.

A comprehensive reading list will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course participants will understand:
• The theoretical framework of ISTDP
• The impact of attachment experiences and attachment trauma on neurological, affective, cognitive, and behavioural development and symptom formation.
• How specific psychotherapy techniques facilitate a secure working alliance and increase patient motivation and engagement
• How to challenge maladaptive defences
• How to assess anxiety pathways and apply targeted anxiety regulation strategies
• How emotional processes are somatic events and how to deepen emotional experiencing in session

On completion of the first year, participants will have the option of going on to complete further modules which will then confer accreditation in ISTDP by the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (

Programme details

Adolescence and early adulthood are ideal moments of opportunity for intervening in the development of emotional difficulties.  During adolescence the brain, psyche, body and neurochemical system are fast developing and open to influences which can powerfully influence later life trajectories.

This 10-day programme, run over one year, focuses on psychotherapy techniques for treatment of adolescents and young people using Attachment-Based Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (AB-ISTDP). This groundbreaking training integrates theory and research in the areas of psychoanalysis, attachment theory, neuroscience and developmental trauma and is the first such programme to be offered internationally.


The lead trainer is Dr Sharon Lewis is a chartered clinical psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council in the UK. She is an accredited IEDTA supervisor and trainer and has extensive experience in offering core training programmes in ISTDP, as well as introductory and advanced training.

Dr Graham Music will be co-facilitator of the course.  Dr Music is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Adult Psychotherapist . Formerly Associate Clinical Director of the Tavistock Clinic’s Child and Family Department, he now works at the Portman as a Consultant forensic psychotherapist as well as in private practice. He has managed a range of services working with the aftermath of child maltreatment and neglect, and organised many community-based psychotherapy services. Graham teaches nationally and internationally and currently leads on training in child development, neuroscience and attachment theory at the Tavistock Clinic. He has a particular interest in linking cutting-edge developmental findings with therapeutic practice. His extensive clinical work in the NHS is primarily with issues of trauma and the effect of maltreatment on children as well as on the families of such children. His distinctive therapeutic approach amalgamates psychoanalysis alongside modern developmental thinking from neurobiology, attachment, trauma theory and mindfulness.Dr Music has published widely in academic journals and the media, as well as being the author of several books, including: Nurturing Children: From Trauma to Hope using neurobiology, psychoanalysis and attachment (2019)


This course is suitable for clinicians working in NHS as well as private settings. Applicants need to be qualified mental health professionals, registered with a professional body (eg: BPC, HCPC or UKCP) or  in an accredited training programme.

This course is currently full. If you would like to be added to the waiting list or to discuss the programme further, please contact Dr Lewis at: [email protected]

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2021 Intake

10am – 5pm (London, UK time zone)
Friday 26 March 2021
Saturday 1 May 2021
Friday 11 June 2021
Saturday 3 July 2021
Saturday 23 Oct 2021
Friday 5 Nov 2021
Saturday 11 Dec 2021
Friday 21 January 2022
Saturday 26 February 2022
Friday 25 March 2022

2022 (Course Full)

9.30am to 5.15pm

23 April 2022
13 May 2022
18 June 2022
15 July 2022
17 September 2022
21 October 2022
12 November 2022
9 December 2022
14 January 2023
10 February 2023

2023 (Course full)
10am to 5pm

17 March 2023
18 March 2023 (Zoom)
26 May 2023
16 June 2023
17 June 2023
14 July 2023
16 September 2023
20 October 2023
18 November 2023
12 January 2024