How Do Businesses Die Because They Cannot Recognize the Root Cause of Their Destructive Behavioural Patterns?

Identify How Your Own Behavioural Pattern Contributes to Your Work


Sara Keshavarz-moqadam, Ph.D.
Clinical, Health, Organizational Psychologist, Posted on Mar 21, 2024

  • What is Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), and How can it be applied in organizational settings?
  • How does Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) help CEOs or business partners achieve their desired results?
  • How do businesses die because they cannot recognize the root cause of their destructive behavioral patterns?


Regarding a case study at Jalapeño, we had two business partners who, in confrontation with financial frustration, could not collaborate effectively, experienced disengagement and poor functionality, causing additional problems. A good illustration of this is their behavioural patterns in a meeting, where one partner experienced agility, hyperventilation, fast breathing, and a fast rhythm of speech, which resulted in immediate and impulsive decisions to survive the business. On the other hand, the other partner experienced dizziness, blurry vision, cold sweating, lack of energy, empty mind, which made him passive and helpless. In the end, the only output of their conversation was blaming each other!

These two different patterns originated from financial pressure, negatively impacting their ability to build a mutual understanding of the problem and to collaborate;  therefore, it is not surprising that they were deciding to finish their partnership to prevent extra costs and accept this business as a failure!

Here is the situation in which we have successfully applied Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) principles to help both partners and their businesses. ISTDP is focused on exploring how our feelings cause anxiety, leading to evoking defence mechanisms that can be manifested in our intrapersonal or interpersonal relationships.

“Every CEO or business partner has experienced financial frustrations leading to rising feelings , anxiety, and destructive behaviors that make the financial status, business productivity, and working relationship worsen.”

How do Feelings, Anxiety, and Defense Mechanisms Work in the Workplace?

We, as alive human beings, are experiencing emotions and feelings in confrontation with each stimulus during our daily lives. Depending on the nature of that stimulus, we experience four main feelings, including rage, caused by frustration; grief, caused by loss; guilt, caused by the perception of harming ourselves or others; and love, caused by experiencing pleasant stimulus.

Based on the severity of these feelings and levels of individual self-awareness, different reactions and defenses may be evoked. These defense mechanisms determine how we collaborate at the workplace, leading to more productivity or the death of our business and /or relationships!

The Triangle of Feelings, Anxiety, and Defence Mechanisms at the Workplace

We, as Clinical, health, and organizational psychologists specialized in ISTDP, help CEOs, business partners, and leaders to identify, clarify, and see the costs of their destructive defense mechanisms on themselves, relationships, and business while paying attention to symptoms of anxiety and the underlying feelings caused by financial frustrations or other work-related stimuli.

The Desired Business Outcomes that We Achieved by Applying ISTDP

In any conflict, you have zero control over how the other person reacts, but you do have control over your own response, which can influence the other person’s reaction. Therefore, by applying this methodology, we significantly assisted our clients in experiencing their feelings and regulating their anxiety, as well as addressing their intrapersonal or interpersonal defense mechanisms. Consequently, they, as self-aware individuals, returned to us for our tailor-made solutions that best suited their needs for navigating and improving both their business and personal relationships.

While this blog briefly discusses what ISTPD is, stay tuned for our future blogs, where we will delve into how you can apply it to your daily relationship and interaction challenges.

About the Author: Sara Keshavarz-moqadam believes that the effect of environmental stressors on individual performance is by no means negligible. After studying for a B.A. Clinical, an M.A. General, and a Ph.D. Health Psychology from the University of Tehran and working for many years in these fields, Sara became curious about how to help individuals reach their actual potential. To answer this question, Sara returned to school again and studied for an M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Adler University to create a novel and holistic approach relying on the principles of clinical, health, and organizational psychology to recognize and address the root causes of problems by focusing on organizational culture, leadership, communication skills, and support system. She is on a mission to improve employees' well-being, happiness, and psychological and physical health to enhance both individual and organizational success.