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Dr. Sarno endorses new book about ISTDP

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, all.

    Occasionally, we talk about something called ISTDP on this forum. ISTDP stands for Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. I first learned about ISTDP from Arlene Feinblatt, PhD, "the mother of all TMS therapists." She wrote the section on psychotherapy in The Divided Mind and trained the other core TMS psychologists that worked with Dr. Sarno at Rusk.

    Dr. Feinblatt endorsed ISTDP strongly in several phone calls we had, so of course I started investigating it deeply. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon the research into ISTDP written by Allan Abbass. It is some of the highest quality research out there about TMS.

    Dr. Abbass has a new book out with Jon Fredrickson, MSW. Dr. Sarno has given it the following endorsement:
    "Dr. Abbass makes an important contribution to the clinician’s understanding of the Intensive Dynamic Short Term Psychotherapy (ISTDP) treatment model, through a well-written and presented book, rich with clinical material based on extensive experience and research. The book provides substantial support to the clinician engaged in treating the ever-increasing population of persons with psychosomatic symptoms.” –John E. Sarno, MD​

    The endorsement can be found on the Amazon page for the book:
    and on the website for the book:
    http://reachingthroughresistance.com/testimonials/ (Testimonials - Allan Abbass)

    This is notable, as it may be the first book that Dr. Sarno has endorsed that isn't about TMS.

    If you'd like to learn more, we have a short video by Dr. Abbass in a thread in our media library:
    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/interview-about-istdp-and-mindbody-healing.4531/ (INTERVIEW ABOUT ISTDP and Mindbody Healing)

    Should you want apply ISTDP, I don't suggest that people go out and buy the book, as it is meant for clinicians rather than patients. In fact, if you are looking for a therapist, I wouldn't suggest you look for an pure ISTDP therapist as they can be expensive, as ISTDP therapy probably does poorly over the phone (visual cues are important), and as TMS education and symptom response modification are important to TMS treatment.

    However, Pain Psychology Center therapists are trained in ISTDP, and integrate it with TMS education and symptom response modification. I think that this is a terrific combination and that is one of the reasons why I think the PPC is growing so rapidly. The PPC is the organization that runs our Ask A TMS Therapist program and that is behind the TMS Recovery Program on our site.

    For another option, you might want to try the second edition of Dr. Schubiner's book, Unlearn Your Pain. Dr. Howard Schubiner is a good friend of Dr. Abbass's (Dr. Schubiner considers Dr. Abbass to be his mentor) and after Dr. Schubiner discovered ISTDP, he created a second edition of his book, Unlearn Your Pain, which discusses ISTDP. @BruceMC has read the book and said that it is like a deeper version of our own SEP. From the conversations I've had with Bruce, it sounds like he found that section of the book (and the book in general) to be helpful. (right, Bruce?)

    After my phone conversations with Dr. Feinblatt, I've worked hard to raise awareness of ISTDP in the TMS community, so it just feels good to know that Dr. Sarno is pushing in the same direction.

    To learn more about ISTDP:
    http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Intensive_Short_Term_Dynamic_Psychotherapy (Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy)
    http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Seven_articles_about_ISTDP_and_Medically_Unexplained_Symptoms (Seven articles about ISTDP and Medically Unexplained Symptoms)
    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/interview-about-istdp-and-mindbody-healing.4531/ (INTERVIEW ABOUT ISTDP and Mindbody Healing)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
    Laudisco and Ellen like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's good to know Dr. Sarno has endorsed another book.
  3. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Does anyone know anything about doing a form of ISTDP without a therapist, but on one's own? For example, going somewhere alone and yelling out loud at the person/situation that originated the TMS/MBS? I bought Howard Schubiner's book about 6 wks ago. I read the first chapters, but didn't do the program because I had journalled for 2 months as per Dr Sarno's books and didn't want to re-hash childhood things again when I really had a very loving family growing up. I am now ready to go back to Dr Schubiner's 4 wk program so that I can get rid of the last of my TMS/MBS symptoms, and just read his section about ISTDP. He talks about finding a therapist or asking a friend to take the therapist's role. I don't have a friend available to take on this role at this time. I know it would bother my husband greatly to make me yell and get emotional, but I could find a quiet place to do it on my own.
    IrishSceptic likes this.
  4. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Forest likes this.
  5. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    You have found me out. I'm on vacation at the cottage which is by forested crown land, and I had thought I would walk the road through it getting it all out. The mosquitos will really get the anger flowing. lol
  6. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Eileen,

    I'm doing ISTDP with a therapist who was trained by Dr. Feinblatt. It's been extremely helpful, though a difficult process.

    It may help you to go out in the woods and let it all out. But I don't think that has anything to do with ISTDP therapy. I suspect that few if any can get very far trying to do therapy without a trained therapist.

    Forest likes this.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Indeed, I'm not completely sure, but I believe that Alan Abbass has said that the crucial thing in ISTDP is not that you go through hate but that at the end you are able to find an authentic love and compassion not just for yourself, but also for the people who have harmed you. If he hasn't said it, then Howard Schubiner, who also teaches ISTDP, definitely has.

    Our brains are brilliant and will learn whatever we teach them. If we focus on our anger in an effort to discharge that anger, then we might not only discharge the anger but also teach our brains to be more angry. True healing means not only bringing our anger to a positive conclusion of compassion, but also, afterwards, mindfully move our focus on to what is good in our lives rather than what brings about negative feelings. If you focus too much on negative feelings, especially without the benefit of a professional to help contain and process those feelings, you can go into an emotional downward spiral, which is a terribly sad thing to see.

    The Cherokees had a story that I call "The Wolf You Feed," which captures this idea very well:

    I think it is probably one of the most important lessons for healing, but sadly it is one that many people miss.

    Incidentally, what the Cherokees understood through traditional wisdom, modern science is coming to understand through neuroscience:
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Forest and everyone. I healed from severe back pain mainly when I journaled in the SEP and discovered I was repressing emotions
    from when my parents divorced when I was seven. Journaling led me to thinking why they divorced, over financial concerns, and
    that led me to realize they had their own TMS pains. I was then able to understand them better and forgive them, and that led to my back pain
    going away.'

    Mindfulness healed me. Now I live more in the present and try to fill my days and my mind with positive, happy thoughts. They are healing.
  9. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Regarding Eileen's question about doing a form of ISTDP without a therapist, Kristian Nibe, an ISTDP practitioner in Oslo, Norway, recently published a book intended as a manual for doing self-help ISTDP. The title is Reconnect to Your Core: A Practical Guide on How to Feel Good and Be Happy. Nibe acknowledges the task would much more difficult without the help of an ISTDP therapist, but he thinks it should be doable by a person with sufficient motivation, discipline, courage, effort, humility, and honesty. I am not qualified to say whether Nibe might be too optimistic about the feasibility of self-help ISTDP. I mention the book, however, as being of possible interest to TMS sufferers who want to learn more about ISTDP because it not only fully explains the psychological basis of ISTD but, to my knowledge, is the only such book written for lay people rather than for clinicians.

    Regarding the idea of venting anger in a forest, Steven Ray Ozanich’s Great Pain Deception book addresses venting anger on page 275: “Multiple studies show this is not helpful in the long run and is in fact dangerous because it strengthens the roots of anger. Venting is merely replaying or rehearsing your anger.” Also, Ozanich at page 271 points out that the anger a person consciously feels or recognizes is anger that is acceptable to the person, and it is not the source of his or her pain. Pain symptoms involve unconscious anger, which is unconscious precisely because it is not acceptable to the person to experience. Nibe thinks a sufficiently motivated, disciplined, courageous, humble, and honest person can through self-help experience the unconscious anger and guilt about the anger and also complete the rest of the process.

    As for the rest of the process, the Allan Abbass interview linked on the TMS wiki site emphasizes the importance of getting to a position of love and compassion for oneself and other people who have hurt you. Here is part of that interview: “”[T]he major problem causing somatic symptoms, depression, anxiety, is guilt about anger or rage toward loved ones that is buried. So it is basically a problem of guilt blocking mobilization of anger and causing it to direct inward toward the person’s self—toward the mind, toward the body—and making a bunch of physical symptoms and making depressive symptoms and other problems. As far as emotions that can be helpful, it is really self-acceptance, positive regard for oneself and other people, forgiveness of oneself and other people. So it involves getting back to basic love and attachment for others.”

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