Maury Joseph, Psy. D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Washington, DC

Specializing in Treatment-Resistant Conditions and

Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms

About Dr. Joseph Contact Dr. Joseph

ISTDP is a brief or accelerated model of psychodynamic psychotherapy, with an evidence base to support its efficacy and cost-effectiveness with almost every psychiatric diagnosis and several medical syndromes. ISTDP has efficacy for such a wide variety of conditions because it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The principles and techniques of ISTDP can be applied in broad spectrum of “dosages” and formats, tailored moment-by-moment to the needs and capacities of each new client. I am skilled in the application of ISTDP across a variety of conditions, and I teach ISTDP in the DC metro area. I practice flexibly and integratively so we can co-create a therapy that can help you succeed.

The process of treatment and treatment length will look different for everyone, and depends on the severity and duration of the problems you’re seeking help for. Because the specifics of treatment will look different for everyone, I’ll stick to general principles of ISTDP here:

Attachment: Experiences from our past attachment relationships, especially painful or frightening experiences in childhood, can contribute to the symptoms and interpersonal difficulties with which we struggle today. In therapy together, we can focus on the ways your current and past relationships impact your emotional state, and help you better understand and cope with your reactions. We can also utilize the therapy relationship to help you become aware of and perhaps overcome problematic interpersonal patterns that are holding you back in your relationships. This process can help shed light on the automatic, habitual emotional processes that have been driving your suffering. This experiential learning process can help you put the events of your past in perspective so that you can face the opportunities of your future with the freedom to choose.

Anxiety: Experiences of trauma in relationships can leave us with a vulnerability to anxiety. This anxiety can manifest in a variety of forms, e.g., tense muscles, headaches, stomach aches, and even difficulty thinking, seeing, hearing, and speaking. For some, this anxiety can generalize, limiting the range of life experiences we are able to enjoy. In ISTDP, we utilize a range of techniques to boost your ability to regulate your own anxiety; in doing so, many people come to discover and overcome the engine(s) of their anxiety, which often has to do with emotions and memories from past experiences and attachments.

Walls: Another potential reaction to adverse childhood events is the tendency to create and reinforce behaviors that prevent interpersonal contact, including avoidance of intimacy and conflict. These behaviors can create walls and barriers that prevent others from getting to know us, and can prevent us from fully experiencing our potential in relationships at home and at work. In ISTDP, we can help you become aware of how these patterns manifest, and also help you begin to understand and overcome distancing behaviors as they occur in the moment. This process may help you gain perspective on the life experiences that caused you to put up walls in the first place, which can contribute to increased flexibility and satisfaction with regulating closeness and distance in your relationships.  

Here are some quotations from people who have experienced ISTDP or other similar therapies, known as Experiential Dynamic Therapies (EDTs): Our Patients Speak (

If you are interested in learning more about ISTDP and/or if you think ISTDP might be useful to you, contact me today for your free 10-minute phone consultation, and feel free to check out these additional resources about ISTDP:

More writing on ISTDP values by Dr. Joseph

Read empirical research about ISTDP here

Read Dr. Joseph's blog posts on ISTDP at