Mark Rothko Black in Deep Red 1957

treatment-resistant depression


18 – 20 NOVEMBER 2016, Quay West Suites,  SYDNEY

While treatment-resistant depression can be defined as a depression that has failed to respond to at least one course of medication and one course of psychological treatment, in practice it is often a catch-all term for patients whose symptoms have a depressive component amongst many other symptoms, including personality disorders, which have failed to respond to multiple medications and psychological treatments.  These patients often have helplessness, passivity, defiance, irritability, intellectualization and externalization dominating their interpersonal style of relating (defense system).  They can induce strong counter-transference responses in therapists (as well as most people they know!), as they have a repression of their emotions, instantly turning rage inwards on themselves and, unconsciously, interacting in ways that draws irritation and anger from others onto themselves.

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a brief psychodynamic therapy that directly targets unconscious emotional processes that can impact on a person to produce or exacerbate depression as well as other symptom disorders and personality disorders.  ISTDP aims to directly address emotional repression and interpersonal avoidance patterns through the resolution of past and current unconscious conflicts.

This three-day immersion training will focus on the helping participants develop the skills required to:

  1. Recognize the defensive patterns of patients presenting with treatment resistant depression;
  2. Help these patients recognize and turn against their maladaptive defenses;
  3. Enable patients to access and resolve previously repressed, unconscious past and current conflicts.
Each of the three days will be anchored by treatment videos presented by Dr Arthey. The first day will contain some basics of ISTDP especially in relation to treatment-resistant depression. All days will allow for plenty of questions and discussions of the clinical phenomena, the ISTDP techniques demonstrated, and the theoretical understanding underpinning their application. All mental health professionals and appropriate post-graduate students in training are welcome to attend all three days of the workshop which is designed as a whole. It is recommended that those new to ISTDP attend the first day of this workshop, as it will provide a good foundation for the following two days. For further inquiries, please contact the workshop administrator Greig Phillpot,


Dr Stephen Arthey is a clinical psychologist at the Melbourne Centre for ISTDP and an internationally respected practitioner and teacher of ISTDP. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the theory and application of ISTDP, provides supervision in ISTDP and has conducted training workshops and presentations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden.  

Mark Rothko, Black in Deep Red (1957) © Estate of Mark Rothko. All Rights Reserved.

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