Core Training

Core Training in ISTDP in Calgary

The Western Canada Institute for ISTDP is the only training facility in Western Canada offering a three year Core Training program in ISTDP.  We hope our program location not only makes it easier to train “closer to home,” but that our experience as former trainees, current supervisors, and practicing ISTDP clinicians will offer you a level of support during your training that will hopefully make the Western Canada Institute for ISTDP your first choice for Core Training.

The WCII brings some of the most recognized names in ISTDP from the USA and Europe to Calgary:  Jon Frederickson (Washington DC), Diane Byster (Palo Alto, CA), Dr. Robert Neborsky (Delmar, CA), Dr. Josette ten Have-de Labije (Berlin, Germany), and Dr. Robin Kay (Los Angeles, CA).  Our mission is to develop a vibrant ISTDP-base in Western Canada, providing clinicians exposure to top teachers, practitioners, and authors, in creating a strong and supportive learning base for clinicians and in fostering a dynamic and thriving ISTDP clinical community.

If you are considering taking part in an upcoming Core Training cohort, here are a few things to know as you make your decision:

What is Core Training?

Core Training in ISTDP aims to cultivate in the therapist a working understanding of Davanloo’s meta-psychology and approach to the psychodynamic therapy process.  ISTDP is fundamentally rooted in the notion of attachment trauma and its consequences in generating psychopathology.  Essential objectives in Core Training include the development of specific skills and knowledge in assessing patient anxiety & ego functioning, applying the Triangle of Conflict to the therapy process, and embedding all this in the ISTDP framework.

 A great strength of ISTDP Core Training is that therapist-trainees get to see each other’s work (including that of the supervisor).  And in the context of a supportive and respectful group environment, mutual sharing of professional therapy practice is a humbling, enriching, and transformative process.

Core Group Size:

The Core Training group consists of 6-8 trainees and a Supervisor.  There are usually 1-2 assistants who have previously undergone Core Training in attendance to support the trainer and trainees with set-up, AV, time-keeping, lunch, and coffee breaks.

Training Modules:

Training occurs in four Modules comprised of 3-days per module per year (often overlapping with weekends where possible – e.g, Friday – Sunday, or Saturday – Monday) for three years. Training days typically run from 9am-5pm daily, with a group dinner on one of the evenings.  ​Attendance at all three days is expected as reviewing colleagues’ presentations & supervision is an essential part of the training.

Participant Requirements:

Trainees are required to bring a video recording of a therapy session to each training weekend. On each training weekend, each trainee is given about an hour in which a sample of their work is shown to the group and the supervisor will comment on phenomenology, metapsychology, therapy process, etc. Through 1:1 and group discussion as well role play, ISTDP techniques are reviewed.  The larger group will have the opportunity for their own questions and comments for another fifteen minutes.  The supervisor will present didactic material as well as show videos of their work to the group.  A supportive environment that permits learning to occur at a personal level is maintained.

A Training Agreement and Confidentiality Agreement will be required to be signed at or before your first training weekend.

Trainers and Certification:

The WCII Core Training program is excited to be hosting Jon Frederickson, MSW, and Diane Byster, LMFT, as instructors for the 2018-2021 Core Training.

Future offerings may be hosted by the same or different instructors and are to be confirmed.

Successful completion of the 3-year program meets the criteria for certification in Core Training recognized by the IEDTA.  If for any reason trainings cease to be held in Calgary, then finishing Core Training may require that you finish training elsewhere, at additional travel costs to you.

Training Location:

This training is in Calgary, Alberta.

Training Dates:

The 2018-2021 Core Training is underway.

Future training cohorts may be planned with sufficient interest. Please contact us at to express interest in an upcoming training if you would like to participate.

Training dates are set on an ongoing basis throughout the training. Specific dates provided to trainees directly.

Tuition is approximately $4500-5000 CAD per year, payable in installments timed to coincide with each training module.  A $200 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your spot in the training.

Between Training Modules:

Study Group and Supervision

There is an on-going study group for Core Trainees facilitated by Core Training graduates.  The group meets for 2-3 hours per month, on average, to review videotapes, practice skill building exercises and discuss readings.


Core Training is comprised of:

  • Four three-day trainings per year– normally on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Saturday, Sunday, Monday, where possible — for three years.

  • Training days typically run from 9am-5pm daily, with a group dinner on one of the evenings. There are two coffee breaks and a one-hour lunch break on each day.

  • Trainees are required to bring a video recording of a therapy session for their one hour supervision as a part of their training to each weekend module.

  • Signing of training agreement and confidentiality agreement.

 Advanced Reading:

While you await the necessary arrangements, our recommended reading includes:

Congratulations again for thinking of pursuing Core Training in ISTDP.