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Allan Abbass

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Dr. Allan Abbass (born February 22, 1962) is professor, psychiatrist, and founding Director of the Centre for Emotions and Health[1] at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Dr. Abbass' clinical specialty and research focus is the use of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP).[2][3] Dr. Abbass' work has focused on the use of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy to diagnose and treat medically unexplained physical symptoms.[4][5] Dr. Abbass has developed psychotherapy training programs in ISTDP.[6][7] Dr. Abbass has published clinical trials on the effectiveness of ISTDP[8][9][10] and meta-analyses on the effectiveness of ISTDP[11] and Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy overall.[12][13][14][15][16]

He has published extensively on the cost effectiveness of ISTDP.[9][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25] Italy,[26][27] Norway,[28] Sweden,[29] Denmark,[30] Poland,[31] and the UK.[32]

Organisational affiliations and recognition


In 2001, Dr. Abbass was awarded The Association of Chairs of Psychiatry of Canada Education Award for Excellence in Education.[33] In 2013, Dr. Abbass was Awarded the Douglas Utting Award[34] in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the "Canadian Providing Outstanding Contributions" category, for the recognition and treatment of depression. He was awarded the designation "Distinguished Professor of 2016" by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Department of Psychiatry. In 2018 he was named The David Malan Visiting professor of psychotherapy at the Tavistock in London, UK and is also visiting professor of psychotherapy at University of Derby, UK.[32] He is a past President of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association.

He is an advisory board member on the American Psychological Association's Unified Psychotherapy project,[35] and is on the scientific committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association.[36] He is faculty of the Norwegian Institute for ISTDP [37] He is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Psychotherapy [38]



He published his first book, Reaching through Resistance: Advanced Psychotherapy Techniques, in 2015. www.allanabbass.com

His second book Hidden from View: Clinician's Guide to Psychophysiologic Disorders was published in 2018 with Dr Howard Schubiner www.unlearnyourpain.com

Dr. Abbass has also published on the use of videotape and videoconference for training in short term psychotherapy.[39][6]



An avid basketball fan and player, Allan was named one of Canada's top 25 under 19 year old players while in High School. He was named to the Harrison Trimble High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.[40] He played university basketball at Ottawa University [41] and Dalhousie University. He has been an investor and board member of the Halifax Hurricanes, the 2016 Champions of the National Basketball League of Canada.[42]


  1. ^ Matthews, Jan (January 2004). "Healing Emotions Saves Health-care Dollars" (PDF). Dalhousie Psychiatry Monitor. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Nadia, Bobak (Spring 2011). "Emotional Rescue" (PDF). Living Health in Atlantic Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Abbass, AA; Kisely, SR; Town, JM; Leichsenring, F; Driessen, E; De Maat, S; Gerber, A; Dekker, J; Rabung, S; Rusalovska, S; Crowe, E (July 1, 2014). "Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapies for common mental disorders" (PDF). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (7): CD004687. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004687.pub4. PMID 24984083.
  4. ^ Abbass, Allan. "Implementing an Emotion-Focused Consultation Service to Examine Medically Unexplained Symptoms in the Emergency Department" (PDF). Journal of the Academy of Medical Psychology: 44–51.
  5. ^ Abbass, Allan (2008). "Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy to reduce rates of emergency department return visits for patients with medically unexplained symptoms: preliminary evidence from a pre–post intervention study" (PDF). Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Abbass, A. (June 1, 2004). "Small-Group Videotape Training for Psychotherapy Skills Development". Academic Psychiatry. 28 (2): 151–155. doi:10.1176/appi.ap.28.2.151. ISSN 1042-9670. PMID 15298869. S2CID 31798252.
  7. ^ Abbass, Allan; Arthey, Stephen; Elliott, Jason; Fedak, Tim; Nowoweiski, Dion; Markovski, Jasmina; Nowoweiski, Sarah (2011). "Web-conference supervision for advanced psychotherapy training: A practical guide". Psychotherapy. 48 (2): 109–118. doi:10.1037/a0022427. ISSN 1939-1536. PMID 21639654. S2CID 12271067.
  8. ^ Abbass, Allan; Sheldon, Albert; Gyra, John; Kalpin, Allen (2008). "Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy for DSM-IV Personality Disorders: A Randomized Control Trial" (PDF). The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 196 (3): 211–6. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181662ff0. PMID 18340256. S2CID 28626906. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Town, Joel M.; Abbass, Allan; Stride, Chris; Nunes, Abraham; Bernier, Denise; Berrigan, Patrick (August 2020). "Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression: 18-Month follow-up of the Halifax depression trial". Journal of Affective Disorders. 273: 194–202. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.04.035. PMID 32421603. S2CID 218688424.
  10. ^ Town, Joel M.; Abbass, Allan; Stride, Chris; Bernier, Denise (May 2017). "A randomised controlled trial of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression: the Halifax Depression Study". Journal of Affective Disorders. 214: 15–25. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2017.02.035. PMID 28266318.
  11. ^ Abbass, Allan; Town, Joel; Driessen, Ellen (2012). "Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Outcome Research" (PDF). Harvard Review of Psychiatry. 20 (2): 97–108. CiteSeerX doi:10.3109/10673229.2012.677347. PMID 22512743. S2CID 6432516. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Abbass, Allan; Lumley, Mark A.; Town, Joel; Holmes, Hannah; Luyten, Patrick; Cooper, Angela; Russell, Leo; Schubiner, Howard; De Meulemeester, Celine; Kisely, Steve (June 2021). "Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for functional somatic disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of within-treatment effects". Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 145: 110473. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110473. PMID 33814192. S2CID 233028456.
  13. ^ Abbass, Allan; Town, Joel; Holmes, Hannah; Luyten, Patrick; Cooper, Angela; Russell, Leo; Lumley, MarkA.; Schubiner, Howard; Allinson, Jenny; Bernier, Denise; DeMeulemeester, Celine (May 19, 2020). "Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Functional Somatic Disorders: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials". Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 89 (6): 363–370. doi:10.1159/000507738. hdl:1805/26652. ISSN 0033-3190. PMID 32428905. S2CID 218758092.
  14. ^ Abbass, Allan (June 2016). "The Emergence of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Treatment Resistant Patients: Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy". Psychodynamic Psychiatry. 44 (2): 245–280. doi:10.1521/pdps.2016.44.2.245. ISSN 2162-2590. PMID 27200465.
  15. ^ Abbass, Allan A; Kisely, Steve R; Town, Joel M; Leichsenring, Falk; Driessen, Ellen; De Maat, Saskia; Gerber, Andrew; Dekker, Jack; Rabung, Sven; Rusalovska, Svitlana; Crowe, Elizabeth (July 1, 2014). Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group (ed.). "Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapies for common mental disorders". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (7): CD004687. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004687.pub4. PMC 11129844. PMID 24984083.
  16. ^ Koelen, Jurrijn A.; Houtveen, Jan H.; Abbass, Allan; Luyten, Patrick; Eurelings-Bontekoe, Elisabeth H. M.; Van Broeckhuysen-Kloth, Saskia A. M.; Bühring, Martina E. F.; Geenen, Rinie (January 2014). "Effectiveness of psychotherapy for severe somatoform disorder: meta-analysis". British Journal of Psychiatry. 204 (1): 12–19. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.112.121830. ISSN 0007-1250. PMID 24385460.
  17. ^ Lilliengren, Peter; Cooper, Angela; Town, Joel M; Kisely, Steve; Abbass, Allan (August 2020). "Clinical- and cost-effectiveness of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy for chronic pain in a tertiary psychotherapy service". Australasian Psychiatry. 28 (4): 414–417. doi:10.1177/1039856220901478. hdl:10072/393825. ISSN 1039-8562. PMID 32093498. S2CID 211477312.
  18. ^ Abbass, Allan; Town, Joel; Johansson, Robert; Lahti, Melissa; Kisely, Steve (March 2019). "Sustained Reduction in Health Care Service Usage after Adjunctive Treatment of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy in Patients with Bipolar Disorder". Psychodynamic Psychiatry. 47 (1): 99–112. doi:10.1521/pdps.2019.47.1.99. ISSN 2162-2590. PMID 30840559. S2CID 73511443.
  19. ^ Abbass, Allan; Kisley, Steve; Town, Joel (2018). "Cost-Effectiveness of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy Trial Therapy". Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 87 (4): 255–256. doi:10.1159/000487600. ISSN 0033-3190. PMID 29635230. S2CID 4713262.
  20. ^ Abbass, Allan; Kisely, Steve; Rasic, Daniel; Town, Joel M.; Johansson, Robert (May 2015). "Long-term healthcare cost reduction with Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy in a tertiary psychiatric service". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 64: 114–120. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.03.001. PMID 25840829.
  21. ^ Abbass, Allan (April 2002). "Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy in a Private Psychiatric Office: Clinical and Cost Effectiveness". American Journal of Psychotherapy. 56 (2): 225–232. doi:10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2002.56.2.225. ISSN 0002-9564. PMID 12125299.
  22. ^ Town, Joel M.; Abbass, Allan; Bernier, Denise (January 1, 2013). "Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Davanloo's Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Does Unlocking the Unconscious Make a Difference?". American Journal of Psychotherapy. 67 (1): 89–108. doi:10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2013.67.1.89. ISSN 0002-9564. PMID 23682515.
  23. ^ Abbass, Allan; Bernier, Denise; Kisely, Steve; Town, Joel; Johansson, Robert (August 2015). "Sustained reduction in health care costs after adjunctive treatment of graded intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy in patients with psychotic disorders". Psychiatry Research. 228 (3): 538–543. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.05.056. PMID 26106054. S2CID 31453236.
  24. ^ Russell, Leo A.; Abbass, Allan A.; Allder, Steven J.; Kisely, Steve; Pohlmann-Eden, Bernd; Town, Joel M. (October 2016). "A pilot study of reduction in healthcare costs following the application of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy for psychogenic nonepileptic seizures". Epilepsy & Behavior. 63: 17–19. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.07.017. PMID 27541836. S2CID 205758573.
  25. ^ Melbourne Centre for ISTDP. "Home Page". Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  26. ^ Italian Development Center Study. "ISTDP". Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  27. ^ Neuroscience and Communication Group. "Workshop Announcement" (PDF). Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  28. ^ Nordic Institute for ISTDP. "Home Page". Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  29. ^ Swedish Association for ISTDP (February 14, 2013). "Home Page". Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  30. ^ Danish ISTDP. "Linkedin Page".
  31. ^ Carpenter, Joanna. "Psychotherapy for Pain". Politika.pl. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  32. ^ a b Redfern, Simon. "Derbyshire Could Champion New Therapy". University of Derby News. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  33. ^ Abbass, Allan. "ACPC Award for Excellence in Education". Archived from the original on November 30, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  34. ^ Canadian Psychiatric Association. "Douglass Utting Award". Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  35. ^ Unified Psychotherapy Project. "Allan Abbass, Advisory Board". Unified Psychotherapy Project News. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  36. ^ American Psychoanalytic Association. "Empirical Studies in Psychoanalysis". American Psychoanalytic Association. Archived from the original on December 1, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  37. ^ Norwegian ISTDP Institute. "Faculty". Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  38. ^ "Editorial Board and Editorial Staff | The American Journal of Psychotherapy". American Journal of Psychotherapy. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  39. ^ Abbass, Allan; Arthey, Stephen; Elliott, Jason; Fedak, Tim; Nowoweiski, Dion; Markovski, Jasmina; Nowoweiski, Sarah (2011). "Web-Conference Supervision for Advanced Psychotherapy Training: A Practical Guide" (PDF). Psychotherapy. 48 (2): 109–118. CiteSeerX doi:10.1037/a0022427. PMID 21639654. S2CID 12271067. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  40. ^ "HTHS Senior Boys Basketball Program 2010-2011".
  41. ^ "All-time roster information for Ottawa".
  42. ^ "Investor Group". Archived from the original on January 26, 2017.