Restoring Resilience

Resilience is a place inside each of us that is not damaged, is flexible, and able to recover and bounce back from trauma. During therapy we look for and access 'self at best', the part of us that is capable and has adapted to survive trauma. There is both resilience and damaged 'self at worst' in each of us.

We are born with both self-protective and open-vulnerable ways of being and our early experiences shape how we are able to "be" on behalf of ourselves. This is our capacity to adapt and take care of ourselves when we experience trauma.

In therapy we focus on our client's strengths versus their pathology and use 'self at best' to help our clients work with 'self at worst'. How do we do this? By supporting our clients to develop self-compassion for the parts of themselves that struggle and cause them to get stuck. To actively work on the stuck defensive ways they have used to deal with the world. In the end we work to integrate these parts and develop a cohesive integrated life narrative.

Depth oriented work is to help clients find the strong positive capacity within, and to support the client in healing themselves, by tuning into body sensations and intuition in addition to the cognitive. AEDP does this by using the relationship between client and therapist and moment to moment tracking about what comes up in the session relationally. We look for the affective emotional experience and to integrate this with cognitive experience, connecting left and right brain.

AEDP invites the therapist to be more alive and authentic in the session. To form a secure, safe, trusting therapeutic relationship with the client and this alliance allows the client to open up more fully. If defenses come up for the client it is a way of protecting the self and staying with the status quo. The therapist can use themselves to share empathy and self disclose about the impact the client has on them and respect for what the client has gone thru in their life. The therapist will also affirm and support the client and ask permission (is this okay?) when going into difficult feelings and memories.

AEDP heals by helping the client learn to regulate their emotions, to feel safe enough to deal with painful emotions and memories. The therapist will use their voice, eye contact, slowing down, empathy and presence to help the client tolerate their feelings. This will expand the client's capacity to tolerate feeling deep emotions and to regulate them in relationships and strive for openness, healing growth and transformation. To develop resilience is to be open and responsive and able to feel what one is feeling in the moment and reach out towards healthy relationships. To make room for the self to expand and to allow great change like this we will probably experience the anxiety of newness, feel weird, have a sense of bigness, expansion, breath, space, ease and joy.

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