A journey in ISTDP begins like a challenging mountain climb. An individual wants to reach the peak of a lofty mountain, and asks for help from an experienced climber to reach his or her goals: mastering the skills for the climb, and being equipped to plant a customized flag of freedom at the peak. To this end, the individual and master climber commit to put their efforts, energy, and resources together. They promise to be open and aware of what they each see as they climb. With a sense of necessity, they try to find the most efficient and effective path to reach the peak, and agree to face together whatever challenges and adversity they encounter.
As it may be temping to resign at times, the two climbers decide to always maintain openness and honesty about their choice to advance or retreat, especially when approaching steep elevations on the mountain. They both know on a deep level that the genuine hope of success necessitates mutual will, effort, initiative, sharing of perspectives, and problem solving to achieve the glorious moment of planting a flag at the top of the mountain.
When the mountain peak is finally reached, the celebration may be bittersweet—the end of the journey means the partners soon will be saying goodbye. But this positive goodbye will be in the atmosphere of mutual affection, success, and mastery. When they have their final farewell, they know that they have forever touched and impacted each other. As they remember the journey in the years that follow, they will recall the high regard they have for each other and what they achieved. The one-time novice climber is now equipped and has his/her own expertise, while the expert climber takes satisfaction in having helped the individual in achieving his/her goal.
At its conclusion, each ISTDP journey equips the climber with freedom to develop and pursue individual talents and potential, confidence in handling life’s challenges, and the ability to create meaningful and fulfilling personal connections with others.