What To Expect in AEDP Therapy-Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

AEDP is an evidence-based, experiential therapy. It is similar to, and yet really quite different from familiar “talk therapy.”


The primary goal of every AEDP therapy session is: To help the client have a new experience, and to have that experience be transformative.


For people who are extremely depressed, the idea of a transformative moment in every therapy session certainly can seem impossible. For people who are overwhelmed by feeling stuck in places they can’t get out of, transformative moments may be hoped for but never realized. 


Why transformative? Because, above all else, AEDP is an exploration, and often surprisingly fun, even joyful.


What is transformative? Moments when we realize something, when we suddenly see things in a different way, and that seeing opens up new opportunities for action and change.


Small moments of realization add up to conviction and resolve for moving forward, getting out of stuck places, and gaining a sense of coherence, purpose, direction. The burdens of long-carried feelings relent and diminish.


It is often true that the greatest impediment to these experiences of transformation and growth are our own limits and discomforts with what it feels like to grow and take risks. We call these ‘defenses,’ as in, ‘that person is often defensive.’ Defenses are important but can get too strong. Everything seems threatening. Smaller risks such as choosing a major become confused with larger risks “ruining your life.” 


We have many sources of expectation and direction for how to live our lives. Some are feared, and some aren’t.  For children in particular, these outside influences shape what think we can do and how we do it. Then later there are conflicts. 


Later, things have changed, our bodies have changed, life is faster. The rules keep changing, regardless of your age. Change is constant. How do we keep up (are we keeping up?), how do we keep adjusting no matter the challenge? The AEDP therapist looks to establish flexibility, beyond survival and high tension to a relaxed flourishing.


The AEDP therapist will teach you not only to listen to what you are saying, but also to listen to how your body is saying it also. You will learn how your expectations affect what you can hear and understand and learn from. Most importantly, you will learn and practice how slowing the speed of your life can result in calmer and easier living.


AEDP is “accelerated.” Change and realization can come quite rapidly, in as little as two or three sessions. **Since safety is an essential ingredient for AEDP therapy, difficulties that involve trauma should not proceed too rapidly, and therefore take longer.**


Because AEDP therapy is accelerated and intense, you may choose to adopt a more spread out schedule for therapy. Self-scheduling is available to facilitate the growth of awareness of your own rhythm and needs.

For more about AEDP see: http://www2.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/recentissues/2011-septoct/item/1372-point-of-view

Heather MacDuffie