Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
What is AEDP?
From the time we are born, we all seek to connect with others and grow, and our most significant experiences of personal growth and connection are embedded in and elicit emotion. Emotion is our body’s hard-wired, first-response survival system that points us to what’s important, facilitates learning & meaning-making, and catalyzes intimacy & bonding. Positive emotions – like joy, delight, surprise, curiosity, or love – tell us when we’re experiencing something that moves us toward what helps us survive and thrive. And experiences that threaten these two important goals can stir pain, fear, sadness, grief, or shame. Intense negative emotional experiences are part of being human. With the right social support, however, we can learn from them, they can become integrated into our larger story, and with their help we can better connect to the parts of ourselves that are strong and resilient. But, if we don’t get help with them, are scolded for having big emotions, or see them overwhelm those closest to us, we can find ourselves confused and struggling to cope. Our social connections are so important to our survival that faced with the dilemma between expressing an emotion that we might need help with or maintaining an important relationship, we most often chose the relationship. Cut-off from the freedom to express emotion and receive the support we need, we find ourselves contending with difficult emotional experiences all alone. Alone, we can develop protective ways of managing these difficult experiences that help us feel less stuck, overwhelmed, or vulnerable in the moment. However, these strategies often move us further away from our goals of connection and growth.
AEDP (or Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) is a model of individual therapy that integrates what we’ve learned from the last 100 years of research about the building blocks of human connection, emotion, and the relationship between the two. In AEDP, we – my clients and I – cultivate a collaborative space safe enough to set aside protective strategies and together explore emotions and experiences that have been previously been too overwhelming to bear. Together, we look at these difficult experiences & emotions and discover the adaptive resources within them and connect more deeply with the internal strength & resilience that was there the whole time. Said simply, as an AEDP-trained therapist I help clients undo their aloneness in the face of difficult experiences, strengthen the places that feel broken inside, and help them discover where they’ve been strong all along.