ISTDP Evidence Base
Updates to the current evidence base of ISTDP can be found at www.istdp.ca. Professor Allan Abbass, program coordinator for the Centre for Emotions and Health of Dalhousie University summarises the current evidence base as follows:
– There are now over 40 randomized controlled trials of ISTDP
– There are several different randomized controlled trials of personality disorders in different sites meaning that the method meets criteria for empirically supported for mixed personality disorders.
– There are several RCTs for pain conditions, also in different sites.
– There are at least two RCTs for depression both of which show it to outperform controls.
– There are a series of trials of anxiety disorders. The Centre for Emotions and Health (Dalhousie) are currently publishing a randomized controlled trial of the method for social anxiety disorder with another soon to be published.
– Inside the NHS there has been a Pathfinder study for resistant patients which shows positive effects from a short course. There another 10 studies of complex and reflected populations showing an average effect size of greater than one meaning that these are large treatment effects
– Beyond randomized controlled trials there are meta analyses showing that the method out performs controls.
– There are over 20 cost-effectiveness studies as well as a large number of detailed case studies and process studies showing that the ingredients of the method correlate with outcomes.
All together there is a large body of data now supporting this method and it should be considered as a first-line option for several of these conditions, especially since first line treatments only help half of the patients. It’s best suited to be for tier 3-5 patients who have failed first line treatments.