Reviews of books, videos and other material explaining AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy).
This website reflects the personal views of its authors and is in no way affiliated to the AEDP Institute.
Please note that this website is being rapidly developed (July 2018), so check back for more information.
Brief Description of AEDP
AEDP is comprised of three things:
- Underlying Concepts
- The Process
- Set of Tools
In many descriptions of AEDP these three are mixed together, but to gain a clear understanding of the system it is important to distinguish between them.
A. Underlying Concepts
- Psychopathology results from unwilled and unwanted aloneness in the face of overwhelming emotional experience (Fosha, 2000).
- People have an in-build capacity for self-healing.
- Healing comes from “undoing aloneness”. A new attachment relationship with the therapist which is deep and secure creates a “secure base” for exploration of old trauma, and a new experience of attachment that can be taken out into other life relationships.
- The stance of therapists is not neutral. Not only are they vulnerable and self-disclosing (essential for attachment) but give themselves to the client as a “true other” such that the client is “met and responded to in a way that is just right” (Fosha 2005).
- In therapy, healing begins to take place right from the very start.
- Because AEDP is rooted in observation of human behaviour, it is more descriptive than prescriptive, and so gives room for each therapist to work in a way that is natural to them. It does not force them into a protocol that makes them behave in a way that is not authentic to themselves.
B. The Process
- Careful observation has resulted in noting a series of stages through which people pass in a one-on-one conversation on the road to deep healing and vitality.
- The transition between the stages can be detected by closely observing visible indicators called affective markers.
- Much of the skill in AEDP is learning to track these markers
- Four states can be observed:
- Defences (inhibited emotions) or pathogenic emotions (anxiety, shame etc.)
- Often this is how the client presents at the start of the session
- Core Affective Experiences/Core feelings
- The client has dropped down into a state where they are connected with their deep visceral emotions and are not defended or inhibiting.
- Reaching this state alone can bring tremendous relief and self-understanding.
- Transformational Experiences
- A glimmer of “transformance” appears which grows, bringing relief, strength and hope.
- Core State – Truth Statements and a Coherent Narrative
- Calmness, openness, clarity and calm, with a sense of what is “right”.
C. Set of Tools
- What moves people forward through these stages is what occurs in the moment in the dyad, the connection between the therapist and client. Observation of how this happens has led to a set of tools which can rapidly accelerate the process.
- Learning AEDP then is learning how to observe the affective markers and use the tools.
- The tools are not used uniformly or indiscriminately but are useful for different stages of the process.
- Every client is different, especially with regard to their attachment style, and so the skilled therapist will observe and adapt the tools as necessary (Pando-Mars, 2016).
The primary tools are:
- Privileging the positive, not the pathological
- The natural tendency of therapists is to go to the pathology, but instead they should actively look for what is going well, the new and the different.
- Another term used is “being a transformance detective”, spotting the tiny glimmer of positive affect and using the tools to bring growth and vitality.
- Co-creating safety through empathy and self-disclosure
- Other tools include vocal rhythm, intonation & pitch together with non-verbal communication (Prenn 2011)
- The client’s reaction to different interventions must be carefully tracked because of wide individual differences, e.g. in attachment style.
- Moment to moment tracking
- Noticing small changes in posture, movement, facial expressions, eyes and voice.
- Making the implicit explicit
- “I just noticed a big sigh—tell me about it!”, “I’m feeling very moved by what you just said”
- Slowing down the process
- “Stay with that”, “What’s coming up now?”, “and how does ..... feel?”
- Privileging the “here and now”
- “How does it make you feel right now to have shared that story with me?”
- Metatheraputic Processing
- “What is it like to have done this with me?”
- Affirming and delighting in the client
- “I am so impressed at your courage in making that connection.”, “It’s such a joy to see the way you are growing as we do this work together”
- Asking permission and being respectful
- “Would it be ok with you if we slowed down and stayed with that feeling for a few moments?”
- Receiving gratitude
- Learn how to accept expressions of gratitude without minimizing or deflecting.