Anxiety and the Threshold of Disruption: Refining Psychotherapy Techniques for Complex Anxiety Symptoms

April 28, 2018, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

This course is designed for psychoanalysts and advanced practitioners interested in the evolution of therapeutic techniques in psychodynamic treatment. Drawing on the evidence-based modification of psychoanalysis (ISTDP) originally developed by Habib Davanloo and recently enhanced by Allan Abbass and others, ISTDP facilitates the rapid resolution of a broad spectrum of emotional disorders and has been strongly supported by extensive clinical research studies. Interventions are specifically designed to resolve anxiety, depression, somatization and personality disorders, as well as to alleviate a variety of self-defeating behaviors, many of which derive from unstable or troubled early life attachments.

Dr. Brod briefly reviews the contributions of Dr. Davanloo and more recent innovators, and then explores the moment-to-moment review of clinical videotape to illustrate application of key ISTDP principles. The course pays particular attention to anxiety management and identification of Threshold of Disruption--beyond which the work cannot proceed until the patient is re-regulated and ready to explore unconscious feelings and impulses. In the afternoon seminar, we focus our attention on the concept of Pressure and also the subtleties of Projection and its management. Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) will provide a special focus of our attention.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the central importance of recognizing when the Threshold of Disruption has been exceeded
  • Apply at least two techniques that build capacity to tolerate anxiety
  • Recognize and apply pressure to increase intrapsychic crisis
  • Apply several forms of pressure and use a patient’s level of anxiety to determine threshold of tolerable pressure
  • List three discharge pathways of unconscious anxiety
  • Identify the unconscious guilty need for punishment and self-sabotage in patients/clients and help them free themselves from the resultant symptoms
  • Recognize resistance to emotional closeness and its relationship to primal attachment
  • Understand and apply respect for the patient/client while helping them turn against their defenses against emotional closeness
  • Identify and deactivate identification with the resistance, omnipotent transference and projection

Thomas Brod, MD, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. He is a senior faculty member at NCP and the co-coordinator of the Film and Mind Series. He is also on the faculty of the ISTDP Institute in Washington, DC. 

Due to the clinical material to be presented on video, this program is open only to licensed clinicians.

Saturday, April 28, 2018,   9:30 AM - 4:30 PM – 6 CE Credits

$120 Pre-registration, $130 at the door, $60 student rate



IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of these CME/CE programs have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for the maximum number of 6 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Full attendance is required for psychologists to receive credit; partial credit may not be awarded based on APA guidelines. For the psychologists’ records, certificates of attendance are provided at the completion of the course.  


The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency. 

REGISTERED NURSES: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is an accredited provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Provider #CEP1112). Registered Nurses may claim only the actual number of hours spent in the educational activity for credit.