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Diana Fosha has found that “clients who truly work through their emotions in therapy, experience a variety of transformational
affects, like a sense of mastery, curiosity, confidence, joy, pride, and compassion. People report feeling moved and touched, or experiencing amazement and wonder. They no longer feel weighed down by the pain, or blemished by their past, but instead feel “lighter”, shed tears of joy, and get filled with tenderness toward themselves and others."
AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) is a transformation-based model of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Diana Fosha. It integrates and incorporates much of what I have studied before in my professional development. AEDP has its roots in many disciplines including attachment theory, affective neuroscience and body-focused approaches. It is a resilence oriented, experiential and dynamic approach to therapy.
In AEDP the aim is to foster the emergence of new and healing experiences through in-depth processing of difficult emotional and relational experiences. My goal as therapist with clients is to co-construct a safe environment to bring forth your truest core self. There your adaptive change processes can come forward so change and healing take place.
I believe healing resides in the client even before they begin therapy. Two paths by which psychopathology develops in a person is in the face of adversity, trauma and misfortune, while the other track that develops side by side is the ability to heal, grow and self repair. A profound drive within us pulses towards growth and self-repair.
We are not just bundles of pathology (problems and habitual compulsive behavior). Lodged deeply in our brains and bodies lie innate, wired-in desire for healing and self -righting. AEDP aims to activate these naturally occurring, adaptive change processes. When the self has reason to hope that a relationship has this potential, defenses drop and individuals risk being their authentic self. This is what I seek to facilitate through an affirming, emotionally engaged, safe therapeutic relationship with my clients.
Why Should I do Therapy?
We humans have a handful of core, primary feelings that are part of our evolutionary heritage. They are Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Surprise, Fear, and Anger. These feelings are vitally important, they make us tick, they orient us, they organize our whole experience of the world, and of one another. When we come into the world, we have access to them all.
We all have feelings that we would do absolutely anything to avoid. We learn as we are growing up that some of our feelings are not okay with the people who care for us. It becomes unsafe or is seen as out-of-line to express these feelings. Therefore we are alone with them. We learn to suppress them in order to stay in line, to preserve our connections, to “keep things okay”. This is a lonely thing to do, it disconnects us from ourselves and it takes a lot of energy. As we grow up and become more sophisticated, we may find new ingenious ways of avoiding these unpleasant feelings.
In AEDP we repair by relating, because this is how the injuries started in the first place. Together, we talk and listen and explore our emotions and emotional truths. Beginning with the vital little glimmers of feeling that might accompany what we say; there may be a twitch of the eyebrow, a little fisting of your hand, the hint of a smile or a frown, or a breath. We see these as markers of feelings that you may not be aware of. The body tells the truth.
Ultimately, we work to help you reconnect with your lost feelings - the ones you have learned to suppress. The experience of feeling these disowned feelings, and feeling their truth, is very different from what people imagine at the outset. These feelings can be good not bad, and it is calming, revitalizing, exciting and expansive to experience them. When you begin to inhabit yourself in this new way, you feel an “okay-ness in yourself”, an acceptance that's yours to keep.
The ability to trust is damaged by traumatic experience(s) and so regaining the ability to trust is one of the biggest issues for trauma clients. To reconnect, re-attach to spouses and loved ones is difficult and staying disconnected can lead to isolation, depression and anger. With Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy the client can recover and strengthen their innate capacities to cope with stresses and trauma (past & present) and restore vitality, happiness and balance.
AEDP works to heal the negative effects of attachment trauma, this therapy harnesses the untapped resources for resilience and growth of the client. Always using the explicit and implicit in the co-creation of a safe relationship with a therapist. AEDP focuses on the body where traumatic experiences reside, and allows the client to re-build his or her ability to trust.
Intense emotional experiences and suffering are part of being alive; they are also if properly regulated, the pathway to resilience. But when these experiences bad or good threaten to overwhelm us, we need others to help regulate them. Being alone with unbearable emotions is the root of psychopathology. When relationships fail to help us regulate what is too much to bear alone, people resort to defensive strategies (anger, numb out, panic, anxiety, shame). Long term reliance on these defenses disrupts growth and development, blocking access to adaptive resources, and contributes to the pain and difficulties that lead people to seek therapeutic help. My goal is to be together with a client when processing intense emotional experiences that were previously feared.
AEDP is based on the idea that deeply felt affective experiences have the capacity to rapidly transform people. Facilitated through our therapeautic relationship the client is guided to process emotions deemed too overwhelming to face alone. Experientially processing these previously avoided emotions activates innate self-righting mechanisms, adaptive action tendencies that support psychological well being and optimal functioning.
Safe, Nurturing, Responsive Therapist
We all have strivings toward connection, understanding, growth and transformation. The more these yearnings are thwarted by deprivation, trauma or loss the more profound and painful the longings and needs can become. As an AEDP therapist I seek to awaken and restore these basic human drives through becoming a safe, nurturing and responsive therapist. A deep, caring and authentic relationship is the vehicle for change and the focus and emotional processing that fuel the process of transformation. This moves the client and therapist to a place of inner wisdom, mutual delight and fulfillment.
Four Pillars of AEDP
- Deep faith in the clients’ innate capacities, hard-wired and always recoverable, to self-right and heal into their authentic true self.
- Acknowledges the power of new experiences of the client being seen and understood to heal the deepest injuries and create space for exploration and change.
- Sees through defenses to the deepest levels of wounding where healing can facilitate further change.
- Evokes new trust in the power of experiencing every emotion, no matter how frightening. Sharing, reflecting, and processing with a safe therapist to full acceptance of self.
Click here for an insightful NY Times article.
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