Open Access Study protocol

Implementation of an intensive short-term dynamic treatment program for patients with treatment-resistant disorders in residential care

Ole André Solbakken12* and Allan Abbass3

Author Affiliations

1 The Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Forskningsv. 3, Pb. 1094 Blindern, Oslo 0317, Norway

2 Drammen District Psychiatric Center, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen, Norway

3 The Centre for Emotions and Health, Dalhousie University, Hallifax, Canada

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:12  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-12

Published: 18 January 2014



This protocol presents a systematic residential treatment- and research program aimed at patients who have not responded adequately to previous treatment attempts. Patients included in the program primarily suffer from anxiety and/or depressive disorders and usually from one or more comorbid personality disorders. The treatment program is time-limited (eight weeks) and has its basis in treatment principles specified in intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP). This treatment modality is theoretically well-suited for the handling of various forms of treatment resistance presumably central to these patients’ previous non-response to psychological and psychiatric interventions.


The research component of the project entails a naturalistic longitudinal research design which aims at systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of the program. To our knowledge, this is one of the first treatment programs and corresponding research projects that systematically select patients with previous non- or negative response to treatment and subjects them to a broad and comprehensive, but theoretically unified and consistent treatment system.


The present paper introduces the project, describes its theoretical and methodological underpinnings, and discusses possible future implications and contributions of the project. It thereby serves as a comprehensive background reference to future publications from the project.