Project Description

An IEDTA certified programme supporting clinicians to achieve competency in ISTDP theory and psychotherapy skills. There is an emphasis on Attachment Based-ISTDP techniques.

This three-year training comprises ten days of teaching each year. Participants are asked to commit to the training for one year at a time, with progression to the following year by mutual agreement.

The syllabus will cover:

  • Metapsychology of ISTDP
  • Key therapeutic interventions
  • The diagnostic spectrum and assessment process
  • Working effectively with unconscious anxiety & maladaptive defence processes
  • The punitive superego
  • The Central Dynamic Sequence

Lectures and clinical presentations are used to teach key concepts and techniques and a comprehensive reading list will be provided. 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 ISTDP London core training programme is suitable for clinicians working in national health systems as well as private settings. To be eligible, participants must be qualified mental health professionals registered with a professional body in the country in which they are working (eg: psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors). Senior trainees in these fields who are registered in an accredited training programme may also be eligible.

A small group format is designed to create a safe and stimulating environment for trainees. Commitment to one year’s training at a time is required. Acceptance into the following year will be by mutual agreement.

Training Team

The lead trainer is Dr Sharon Lewis, a chartered clinical psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council in the UK. Dr Lewis has over 20 years experience in the field and currently works in private practice. She is the founder of ISTDP London and a certified IEDTA supervisor and trainer with extensive experience in offering core training and advanced programmes in ISTDP internationally. Dr Lewis has worked closely with Dr Robert Neborsky, MD and her approach is based on the Attachment-Based ISTDP model.

Robert J. Neborsky, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Del Mar, California, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and UCLA School of Medicine (Hon). Dr Neborsky initially trained in ISTDP with Dr Habib Davanloo in the 1980s, and in 2003 he was one of the founders of the Southern California Society for IS-TDP. He was also a founding member on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.

Dr. Neborsky’s professional activities include training students in the techniques of his unique Attachment-Based Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (AB-ISTDP) and presenting at local, national and international symposia. He co-authored Short-Term Therapy for Long Term Change (Norton, 2001) and is a contributing author of Healing Trauma (Norton, 2003). In 2010, he edited and published The Collected Writings of Robert J Neborsky, MD along with The Collected Writings of Josette ten Have de Labije, (Itasca). In 2011, he co-authored Mastering Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy: A Roadmap to the Unconscious.

Betina Søbirk Svane has an MSc in Psychology and Social Studies and is a certified psychodynamic psychotherapist MPF graduated from the Institute for Gestalt Analyses in Denmark and further trained in ISTDP by Robert Neborsky, Patricia Coughlin, Allan Abbass and Joel Town. Betina has 14 years of experience as a psychotherapist in prisons and private organizations like “Dialogue against Violence”. Since 2018, she has been a full-time practitioner in her own psychotherapeutic clinic in Denmark where she offers individual therapy, teaching/group therapy and supervision. She is currently training at advanced level with ISTDP London to become an IEDTA-certified ISTDP teacher and supervisor.

Betina is deeply passionate and very experienced in working with clients with more complex and difficult challenges such as  personality disturbances, anxiety difficulties, and complex trauma reactions. She has a particular interest in the teaching topics of staying empathic attuned, and in sync with the client, and how to work safely and effectively with countertransference.

Eila Saarinen (MPsych, Helsinki University) is a psychotherapist/psychonanalyst registered with the Finnish Psychoanalytical Association. She is a trainer and supervisor in the Finnish Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy Association, and currently in AB-ISTDP core training with Dr. Sharon Lewis and Dr Robert Neborsky. Eila is the local co-ordinator for the International Core Training group based in Helsinki.

If you would like to discuss the programme further, please contact Dr Lewis at:

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Year 1

30 January 2025
31 January 2025
20 March 2025
21 March2025
25 May 2025
26 May 2025
6 June 2025
30 August 2025
19 September 2025
20 September 2025

Year 2

Dates to be confirmed

Year 3 

Dates to be confirmed