AEDP is an evidenced-based approach to therapy grounded in attachment theory, affective neuroscience, and body focused approaches. AEDP views crisis and suffering as opportunities for people to find their ability to heal and experience the transformation that might otherwise not have the chance to happen.
AEDP is About Healing and Transformation
AEDP is non-judgmental and non-pathologizing. What that means is rather than asking ‘What’s wrong with this person?’, AEDP therapists are trained to be ‘transformance detectives’. We actively look for glimmers and signs of the healthy strivings towards growth and wholeness that are inside everybody. We often want to be seen and acknowledged for our capabilities and resilience. AEDP therapists work to bring out the person’s ‘self-at-best’ in order to deeply accompany and heal their ‘self-at-worst’ (i.e. their hurt, traumatized, depressed or anxious self).
AEDP is an Attachment-Based Therapy
AEDP looks at a person’s attachment style based on their childhood history with their caregivers and how that has played out in their adult relationships. AEDP strives to create a secure bond between therapist and client so the client can have the courage to explore and be curious within the safety of their therapy. This secure base ideally increases insight and translates to strengthening other relationships in the client’s personal life.
AEDP Works With Emotions
Most people who seek psychotherapy have some kind of struggle with their emotions. It may be that they feel very disconnected from their emotions and often describe themselves as ‘numb.’ Other people may feel their emotions so strongly and get easily overwhelmed or ‘flooded’ by the intensity of their emotions. AEDP has a strong emphasis on understanding, processing and regulating our emotions. When we learn to allow our emotions to move through us organically, we no longer have to feel aversion to our emotional experiences.
AEDP is Experiential
Therapy that works with here-and-now experiences is very different from the kind of therapy that is focused largely on tracking thoughts and behaviors from the past. AEDP is less of a skills-based therapy and rather there is a focus on helping the client to have an experience (feeling an emotion) right there in the session, and to reflect on that experience with the therapist. Many client’s report that this type of therapy feels ‘different’ and ‘powerful’ because it gets us using our whole brain, building new neural pathways between brain areas. Experiential therapy maximizes neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to physically change) and creates deeper capacity for transformation.
AEDP is a Somatic Psychotherapy
Somatically-based psychotherapies recognize that human experience cannot be split off into ‘mind’ and ‘body’. (Soma is the Ancient Greek word for ‘body’). Since neuroscience and brain imaging technologies started being used to inform psychotherapy, it is widely accepted that any effective therapy — particularly where trauma and attachment are concerned — must involve the body. AEDP therapists carefully track clients’ experience, frequently asking questions such as ‘Where do you feel that in your body?’ These interventions can help clients strengthen their emotional regulation skills, get clues from their own intuitive knowing, and sense into what feels ‘off’ and what feels like the path they want to take.
AEDP is Positive
AEDP focuses on building and developing the client’s strengths and resilience. In AEDP the term ‘positive’ refers to what feels true, right and authentic in that moment. Depending on the person and the situation, this might well involve processing emotions that often get labeled ‘negative’ such as deep grief and mourning, intense anger, guilt or shame. AEDP offers ways to allow the client to move through those darker emotions in such a way that they feel profoundly accompanied and can then ‘come out the other side’ with more wisdom, peace and strength.
AEDP Helps Undo Aloneness
At the core of trauma and psychopathology, lie profound experiences of unwilled, unwanted aloneness at times of pain and suffering. AEDP therapists work to help clients undo their aloneness. Clients get to experience what it can be like to feel emotionally accompanied, and to feel that somebody truly ‘gets them’.
To learn more about EMDR you can visit https://aedpinstitute.org/about-aedp/how-aedp-works/