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Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

Experience profound emotional healing and transformation with AEDP, a therapeutic approach that promotes well-being and resilience.

By Bernard Ramirez on Jun 26, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

What is Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)?

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Diana Fosha that places a premium on fostering secure attachment and facilitating healing in patients. Unlike traditional therapy methods, AEDP prioritizes the creation of safe, empathetic environments where individuals can explore their emotional landscapes without fear or judgment. By addressing attachment trauma and broken places in the psyche, therapists guide patients through a journey of undoing aloneness, helping them to feel deeply seen and understood.

At the core of AEDP is the belief that suffering can be transformed into growth and resilience through focused attention on past and present experiences. Therapists employing this method encourage patients to connect with their emotions in new, profound ways, allowing for the integration of previously fragmented aspects of the self. This process of exploration and discovery often leads to profound shifts in perception and behavior, paving the way for lasting healing and transformation.

In a private practice setting, AEDP offers a unique approach to trauma treatment, emphasizing the importance of establishing a strong therapeutic alliance between patients and therapists. By providing a secure base from which to explore difficult emotions and experiences, AEDP creates opportunities for profound healing and personal growth. Whether individuals are struggling with attachment trauma, past hurts, or other psychological challenges, AEDP offers a path toward greater resilience, wholeness, and well-being.


AEDP draws on several key concepts to create a powerful therapeutic experience:

  • Transformational experiences: AEDP prioritizes deep emotional processing within a safe space. This allows clients to integrate past experiences and move towards healing and personal growth.
  • Undoing aloneness: A core principle of AEDP is fostering a secure therapeutic relationship. By feeling understood, accepted, and supported, clients can begin to heal from feelings of isolation.
  • Harnessing positive affect: AEDP acknowledges the power of positive emotions to counterbalance negativity. Therapists help clients cultivate positive experiences, build resilience, and promote well-being.
  • Attachment theory in action: AEDP integrates attachment theory. Therapists create a secure attachment bond, providing a safe space for patients to feel accepted, understood, and cared for. This focus on attachment helps patients heal from past trauma, develop emotional regulation skills, and build stronger relationships, leading to greater overall well-being.
  • Body-focused healing: AEDP goes beyond traditional talk therapy by incorporating body-centered approaches. Research supports the importance of this holistic approach.

These concepts all work together to create a foundation for emotional healing and growth within AEDP.


AEDP incorporates various experiential practices to promote emotional healing and transformation, including:

  • Experiential techniques: AEDP utilizes a range of experiential methods, such as imagery rescripting, somatic tracking, and two-chair work, to help clients access and process emotions in a deep and meaningful way.
  • Emotion-focused interventions: Therapists actively engage with clients' emotional experiences, providing attunement, validation, and empathic mirroring to facilitate emotional regulation and integration.
  • Relational focus: AEDP strongly emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, cultivating a secure attachment between therapist and client to create a safe space for emotional exploration and healing.


AEDP is grounded in several core beliefs that guide its therapeutic approach, including:

  • Innate healing capacity: AEDP operates from the belief that every individual possesses an inherent capacity for healing and growth, which can be activated and enhanced through therapeutic interventions.
  • Resilience and adaptability: AEDP recognizes human resilience and adaptability in adversity, emphasizing the importance of fostering these inherent strengths to overcome challenges and thrive.
  • Integration and wholeness: AEDP seeks to promote integration and wholeness within the individual, facilitating the integration of fragmented aspects of the self and promoting a sense of coherence and authenticity.

What is an AEDP therapist?

An AEDP therapist trained in AEDP embodies unique skills and competencies to foster healing and transformation in their patients. Drawing from a rich body of research and clinical practice, AEDP therapists engage in a nuanced therapeutic process that prioritizes cultivating secure attachment, exploring emotional experiences, and integrating new, adaptive ways of relating to oneself and others.

What skills and competencies must they have?

AEDP therapists require a specific skill set to guide patients through the healing process (Fosha, 2000):

  • Attachment & trauma expertise: A deep understanding of attachment theory and trauma-informed care is crucial. This allows therapists to create safe and supportive spaces for patients to explore and process emotional experiences.
  • Nonverbal acuity: AEDP therapists can read nonverbal cues and bodily sensations. This attunement facilitates deeper emotional processing and integration.
  • Strong interpersonal skills: Empathy, authenticity, and attunement are essential for building trusting therapeutic relationships, a core component of AEDP.

What are their goals?

The goals of an AEDP therapist are multifaceted, aiming to facilitate profound emotional healing and transformation in their patients. Here's an overview of the key goals:

  • Promote emotional healing: AEDP therapists aim to help patients heal emotionally by creating a safe space for exploring and processing complicated feelings and past experiences.
  • Facilitate emotional transformation: The goal is to guide patients toward emotional growth, helping them move from distress to resilience and well-being.
  • Cultivate self-awareness: AEDP therapists work to deepen patients' understanding of themselves, their emotions, and their relationships, empowering them to make conscious choices.
  • Foster secure attachment: Building trusting relationships within and outside therapy helps patients feel supported, contributing to their emotional healing.
  • Integrate the self: AEDP therapists support patients in bringing together different parts of themselves, promoting a sense of wholeness and authenticity.
  • Promote resilience: By helping patients develop the ability to bounce back from challenges, therapists empower them to navigate life more effectively.

How do they usually conduct AEDP sessions?

In AEDP sessions, therapists typically follow a structured yet flexible approach tailored to each patient's unique needs and experiences. Here's an overview of how AEDP sessions are usually conducted:

  1. Establishing a therapeutic alliance: Sessions begin with the therapist establishing a secure therapeutic alliance with the patient. This involves creating a safe, empathetic space where the patient feels seen, heard, and understood.
  2. Setting goals: Therapists collaboratively set goals for the session with the patient. These goals are based on the patient's concerns, therapeutic objectives, and desired outcomes.
  3. Emotional exploration: AEDP therapists encourage patients to explore and process their emotional experiences profoundly and meaningfully. This may involve identifying and accessing emotions, memories, and bodily sensations associated with past traumas or current difficulties.
  4. Experiential techniques: Therapists employ various methods to facilitate emotional processing and integration. These techniques may include guided imagery, role-plays, mindfulness exercises, and somatic interventions.
  5. Attunement and validation: Throughout the session, therapists attune to the patient's emotional state and provide validation and support as needed. This helps patients feel understood, accepted, and supported in their emotional exploration.
  6. Promoting transformation: The ultimate goal of AEDP sessions is to promote deep emotional healing and transformation in patients. Therapists work to help patients develop greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and emotional resilience, leading to profound personal growth and well-being.

7 AEDP techniques and exercises

AEDP offers transformative techniques and exercises that propel emotional healing to new depths. Let's explore seven essential techniques, each a potent catalyst for profound self-discovery and growth. While there are a total of 15 techniques in AEDP, we'll focus on these foundational seven (Fosha & Slowiaczek, 1997):

1. Evocative specificity

This technique emphasizes the power of detailed description to enhance emotional understanding and reliving experiences. By prompting patients to vividly recall sensory details such as sights, sounds, and smells, therapists can help them connect more deeply with their emotions and underlying dynamics. Evocative specificity cuts through defenses like vagueness and intellectualization, allowing patients to confront their feelings with greater clarity and intensity.

2. Embodied awareness

Embodied awareness focuses on the correlation between physical sensations and emotional experiences. Therapists help patients explore how their emotions manifest physically by directing attention to bodily sensations. Questions like "Where do you feel that sadness?" or "What sensations accompany your anxiety?" encourage patients to tune into their somatic experiences, fostering a deeper understanding of their emotional landscape.

3. Portrayals

Portrayals involve imagining and role-playing interactions to explore emotional dynamics. Patients are encouraged to vividly visualize scenarios, expressing their thoughts and feelings without constraints. Through this process, patients gain insight into their inner conflicts and emotional responses, paving the way for transformative growth. Portrayals can be particularly compelling for processing grief, allowing patients to envision new ways of relating to their losses.

4. Honoring grief

This technique acknowledges and facilitates mourning, helping patients confront and process their losses. By providing a supportive environment for expressing grief, therapists assist patients in navigating the complex emotions associated with loss. Patients can find healing and acceptance through shared sorrow and emotional validation, fostering resilience and growth.

5. Gaze softening

Gaze softening involves inviting patients to soften their gaze and make eye contact with the therapist. This simple yet powerful gesture fosters a sense of safety and connection, allowing patients to feel seen and understood. Therapists create a supportive space for emotional exploration through compassionate eye contact, deepening the therapeutic relationship and promoting trust and vulnerability.

6. Breathwork

Breathwork techniques are used to regulate emotions and calm the nervous system. By guiding patients through deep breathing exercises, therapists help them reduce anxiety and access deeper emotional states. Breathwork promotes relaxation, grounding, and present-moment awareness, enabling patients to engage more fully in the therapeutic process.

7. Self-compassion exercises

Self-compassion exercises encourage patients to cultivate kindness, acceptance, and understanding towards themselves. Patients learn to treat themselves with warmth and gentleness through gestures such as self-soothing touch or compassionate self-talk. These exercises promote emotional resilience, self-esteem, and overall well-being, fostering a deeper sense of self-compassion and self-care.

Each technique is a cornerstone in the AEDP framework, guiding patients toward more profound emotional healing and transformation. Through collaborative exploration and experiential engagement, AEDP offers a powerful pathway to greater self-awareness, resilience, and well-being.

Benefits of taking AEDP

As noted in the research of Iwakabe et al. (2021), here are five benefits of taking AEDP, along with discussions of each:

  • Quick emotional improvement: AEDP helps people feel better emotionally fast, even after just one session. Clients reported feeling relief and hope right away.
  • Understanding yourself better: AEDP makes you more aware of your feelings and why you do things. Understanding yourself better can make positive changes in your life and relationships.
  • Better relationships: AEDP teaches you how to have healthier relationships by helping you feel more connected and secure. This can make your relationships happier and more fulfilling.
  • Learning to cope: AEDP gives you tools to deal with stress and challenging emotions. Techniques like breathing exercises and self-compassion help you manage your feelings better to handle challenges more effectively.
  • Growth that lasts: AEDP helps you grow as a person in a lasting way. You can live a more resilient and fulfilling life by healing emotional wounds and becoming more integrated.

Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?

Carepatron is a therapy practice management software and telehealth platform that offers a user-friendly interface, comprehensive features, and a commitment to security and privacy.

It streamlines administrative tasks, enhances client care, and facilitates effective telehealth sessions. The platform includes tools for appointment scheduling, billing, invoicing, client documentation, and secure messaging, allowing therapists to manage their practice efficiently.

It also provides a secure and HIPAA-compliant environment for virtual therapy sessions, ensuring continuity of care and accessibility for individuals in diverse locations. Carepatron prioritizes data security and privacy, implementing robust encryption protocols and stringent access controls to safeguard sensitive client information.

Its customizable features and flexible pricing plans cater to the unique needs of therapy practices of all sizes, allowing therapists to tailor Carepatron to suit their specific workflows and scale their practice as needed.

Ready to streamline your therapy practice and elevate your client care? Experience the difference with Carepatron today!


Fosha, D. (2000). The transforming power of affect: A model for accelerated Change. Basic Books.

Iwakabe, S., Edlin, J., & Thoma, N. (2021). A phenomenological case study of accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy: The experience of change in the initial session from a client perspective. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 32(4).

Fosha, D., & Slowiaczek, M. L. (1997). Techniques to accelerate dynamic psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 51(2), 229–251.

Commonly asked questions

How does AEDP work?

AEDP works by helping individuals access and process emotions that are often hidden or suppressed. Therapists use experiential techniques such as imagery, role-playing, and body-focused interventions to help clients explore and integrate their emotional experiences.

What are the goals of AEDP?

The goals of AEDP include promoting emotional healing, fostering secure attachment, enhancing self-awareness, facilitating emotional transformation, and promoting resilience and personal growth.

Is AEDP effective?

Research suggests that AEDP can be highly effective in treating a variety of mental health issues, including trauma, depression, anxiety, and relationship difficulties. Many individuals report significant improvements in their emotional well-being and quality of life after engaging in AEDP therapy.

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