Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy as a Method of Treatment for Patients with Somatization
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Psychologii Stosowanej
Zespół lekarzy i psychologów "In Altum" 01-651 Warszawa, ul. Gwiaździsta 15A/408
Submission date: 2015-03-30
Final revision date: 2015-07-08
Acceptance date: 2015-08-02
Publication date: 2015-09-21
Corresponding author
Małgorzata Kuleta   

Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Psychologii Stosowanej, Ul. Wenecja 4a/2, 31-117 Kraków, Polska
Psychoter 2015;174(3):25-37
The purpose of this article is to present intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) as a type of therapy considered particularly useful when treating patients with somatization disorders. After a short presentation of the psychodynamic understanding of the phenomenon of somatization and the basic principles of ISTDP, the main diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and methods used when working with such patients are discussed. The patients are people who – similarly to patients suffering from depression – demonstrate high levels of unconscious anxiety and very high levels of resistance in transference at the same time, which requires a specific way of conduct. During the first stage of psychotherapy, a restructuring of ego defense mechanisms is done using the so called graded format (which constitutes in continuous monitoring of the patient’s anxiety level and alternating pressure on experiencing emotions by the patient and the so called cognitive analysis of what is happening during the session). Only in the second phase of psychotherapy, other ISTDP techniques are used (such as challenge and head-on collision) as a part of the central dynamic sequence, leading to the unblocking and processing of the feeling causing the anxiety, the repression of which contributed to the development of the symptoms.
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