Training characteristics


Our approach is a pratical one, in which the concrete example precedes the theory, the clinical understanding of the case and the attention to the techniques and the therapeutic strategies anticipate the reflection on the assumptions guiding the clinical choices. Exercises, simulations, group work, analysis of clinical material, observation of live sessions right from the first year of training and supervisions of trainees’ clinical cases are all at the heart of our didactic activity. Our training course does not repeat the university experience in any way, the goal now is to train psychotherapists.


An active teaching that puts trainees, their needs and their personal characteristics at the center, making them the protagonists of their own training experience. The trainees are informed of the objectives that they have to reach year by year and are stimulated and helped to personally monitor their own training path.


This is a training focused on individual systemic psychotherapy as well on family and couple therapies.Family and couple treatments emblematically express some basic assumptions of the systemic therapies, however systemic psychotherapies are not identified with family therapy. And our training is not just a family therapy training. According to us, whoever is involved in the treatment (the whole family, one of its subsystems, the single individual), is a problem that pertains to the therapeutic technique and that is faced and solved during the consultation phase which normally precedes the treatment. For this reason, the course offers training in the three main forms of psychotherapeutic treatment: individual, couple and family. The course also provides instruments for conducting mixed pathways, in which a phase of family work is introduced within an individual therapy or individual in-depth sessions with a family member are introduced in a family therapy, or an additional phase of work with their children is integrated in a couple therapy.


Psychopathology and the relational contexts that feed it are at the center of our training. The main focus is on the four most widespread psychopathologies: eating disorders, phobic spectrum (panic attacks with or without agoraphobia, claustrophobia, etc.), obsessive-compulsive disorder and depressions and other mood disorders. Personality and conduct disorders as well as psychotic onsets in young people are also deepened.  

In the belief that therapy cannot disregard the diagnosis, especially in the first two years, a great deal of effort, is dedicated to the evaluation processes and to individual and relational diagnoses. Particularly when the problem is the child, the training focuses also on using tests in the context of a systemic consultation. It is the diagnostic evaluation that guides the therapeutic project, indicating what has to be modified and the resources on which clinicians can rely during the transformation processes. In the multicolored landscape of psychotherapy, the systemic model is the only one to have developed diagnostic thinking able to identify resources even in traumatic experiences and to evaluate not only the single individual but also the contexts of which she is a part.


In the second two years, the training’s particular focus is to differentiate the therapeutic process in relation to the disorders for which the therapy is required and the type of clients’ semantic. Some therapeutic stories possible with a specific  psychopathology and within a semantic – in the sense of productive, easy to implement, capable of stimulating change – are difficult to develop, incapable of promoting resources, destined to solicit dropouts or dysfunctional circuits with clients with other psychopathologies and semantics.


This involves the trainee’s personal training through the exploration of their family history, their position within their own context of relationships and their own interpersonal styles. The goal is to provide participants with instruments to understand and master the constraints and resources that come from their own family and individual history. Particularly in the last two years, the focus is on how trainees’ personal histories and personal styles interact with patients and their problems and the possible effects of trainees’ constraints and resources on the therapeutic process and its phases.


Our Institute places the student in a context of international relationships. Thanks to our scientific activity and to the interest that our clinical theories have aroused, we are strongly present in Europe, the United States and Latin America. Three of our teachers at EIST, and ex-EIST students, currently teach in the UK. We also regularly conduct research with European colleagues and organize many workshops with foreign colleagues, which are part of the training or open to our trainees. The student is then placed in an international context and, if interested, can do internships in other European countries with colleagues with a similar approach.


Dialogue with other psychotherapeutic models, in particular with cognitive psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Our training does not have an eclectic orientation: it teaches the systemic practices and the theories even if it incorporates some contributions from clinical cognitivism. Nevertheless, our training organizes many opportunities for comparison, also through joint supervision, in which the same case is dealt with by one of our teachers along with a cognitivist or psychoanalyst colleague. Our objective is to prepare systemic psychotherapists able to dialogue with colleagues of other orientations, in the conviction that the various approaches are increasingly now appear as research and intervention traditions endowed with specificity, but not as rigidly opposed points of view.


Our aim is to train psychotherapists, informed about the research developments, but not actual researchers. Therefore, we do not offer specific training in research or research methods. In the last two years of our training there is a significant space reserved for teaching research methods for single cases, which represent the research topic closest to the clinic activity. However, our trainee, if interested, can take part in the intense research activity of our Institute.