2nd Annual Malmö Conference on Managing Resistance in ISTDP, June 7-8th

We at the Malmö Center for ISTDP are thrilled to welcome Jonathan Entis back to Malmö, this time during early summer 2024. He’ll be coming here for a 2-day conference focusing on managing resistance in ISTDP.

Jonathan Entis

In the era of evidence-based medicine, despite great efforts, the health care system fails to help many depressed and anxious patients. A recurring research finding is that about two thirds of patients in psychiatric care and one third of patients in primary care get no relief from treatment, even when being offered the gold standard treatment alternatives currently available. From the perspective of Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), much of this nonresponse is caused by multiple unaddressed ways of avoiding and/or resisting emotional closeness in the therapy situation.

Jonathan Entis on stage in Malmö during the first Managing Resistance conference in 2023
Jonathan on stage in Malmö during the first Managing Resistance conference in 2023

ISTDP was developed during the 1970s and 1980s by Habib Davanloo in Montreal, Canada. He invented a number of novel strategies aimed at reaching the most highly defended patients, the ones who at the time were considered impossible to treat. Spending a lot of time watching his own recordings of therapy sessions, he tested and refined specific strategies of helping his patients see, understand and let go of highly entrenched defenses, especially when those were linked to the patient’s identity (eg. highly syntonic).

Today, ISTDP is one of the most studied forms of psychodynamic psychotherapy, with 38 randomized controlled trials published thus far (81 if you include studies using the broader EDT term). ISTDP has empirical support for treating depressive disorders, somatic symptom disorders, personality disorders and anxiety disorders. ISTDP does well when compared to other treatments, and there is some evidence that ISTDP and similar models are more effective than comparison therapies in the treatment of functional somatic disorders (i.e. fibromyalgia, pain, IBS etc.)

In this conference, Jonathan Entis and Thomas Hesslow will showcase work on different aspects of managing resistance within the ISTDP model. Emphasis will be put on the following aspects of resistance work:

– The conscious therapeutic alliance. Keeping the work transparent and explicit.
– Mapping the resistance. Getting to know the different parts of the resistance.
Exhausting the resistance. Recognizing the signs that resistance is exhausted.
– Compliance and defiance dynamics. Clarifying the intertwined needs for dependence and autonomy.
– Head-on colliding. Managing the tension between change and acceptance.

Jonathan Entis on stage in Malmö during the first Managing Resistance conference in 2023
Jonathan on stage in Malmö during the first Managing Resistance conference in 2023

We think this will be two great days of learning for both newcomers to ISTDP as well as the advanced ISTDP clinician. On both days, the focus will be on watching videos from real cases and providing different perspectives on these. On Day one, Jonathan will present and Thomas will be the discussant. On Day two, Thomas will present a case in the morning, and in the afternoon Jonathan will provide supervision to three participants.


Jonathan Entis, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where for the past five years he has taught and supervised in ISTDP. He is an IEDTA-certified teacher in ISTDP and has presented both nationally and internationally. Jonathan leads a number of international online training groups in Davanloo’s ISTDP, and is co-leading an advanced Core Training in Amsterdam with John Rathauser. He is also a co-author with John Rathauser and Mikkel Reher-Langberg on the upcoming book, Fundamentals of Davanloo’s Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Volume I. You can contact him at drjonathanentis@gmail.com. Here you can read an interview with Jonathan.

Thomas Hesslow

Thomas Hesslow is a clinical psychologist and ISTDP therapist. He’s one of the founders of the Swedish ISTDP Institute and Malmö Center for ISTDP. He provides ISTDP therapy, supervision and training in Malmö in southern Sweden. He was trained by Tobias Nordqvist, Jon Frederickson, Allan Abbass, Peter Lilliengren, Ange Cooper and others. He teaches at Lund and Linneaus Universities, and regularly offers core training in Sweden. He’s the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contemporary ISTDP.


The workshop is open to licensed healthcare professionals and therapists in good standing, as well as students within these fields.


June 7-8th. Times are roughly 9.00-17.00. At the end of the first day, there will be a social event.


The event will take place in central Malmö in southern Sweden. You can get to Malmö conveniently by flying to Copenhagen Airport, and then taking a 20 minute train from there. The venue will be confirmed at a later point.

Please note that online attendance is not possible for this event.

Malmö | Röda Korsets Ungdomsförbund


Early bird ticket: $375 (members get a discount)
Standard ticket: $450 (members get a discount)
Day 1 ticket: $250
Day 2 ticket: $250

The early bird two-day ticket is available until 2024-02-29. Members of the Swedish/Danish ISTDP Societies get a 10% discount on all prices (use the campaign code “member” when you buy the ticket). Full time students get a 20% discount (use the campaign code “fulltimestudent“). Please note that additional taxes will be charged depending on your country of residence.

You can buy tickets by following this link.


At the end of the first day, there will be a social event.

There are three spots for supervision on day 2. If you’re interested in being supervised, send an email to Thomas after having bought a ticket. Priority will be given to participants who are in core/post-core training.

If you have questions, please email thomas.hesslow@gmail.com