AEDP Institute

On the Clinician’s Role

The AEDP therapist acts as the secure base for the client so that the client can work through overwhelming experiences. No longer alone, the client’s intense emotional experiences, be they painful or joyful, previously defensively excluded in the absence of optimal care giving, can now be processed in the here-and-now towards a corrective emotional experience. Informed by mother-infant develop mentalist studies, the secure base is effectively established through the AEDP therapist’s moment-to-moment tracking of dyadic affective attunement, disruption and repair.

The AEDP therapist further aims to mine the transformative power and adaptive action tendencies inherently embedded in undefended human emotions unleashed in the holding environment of deeply engaged relatedness. Affective neuroscience demonstrates the centrality of the right cerebral hemisphere in emotional processing.

Dyadic affect regulation through psychobiological state attunement has been shown to be mediated through right brain to right brain communication between dyadic partners. Right brain language codes use gaze, play, vocal tones and rhythms, touch, visual imagery, and somatosensory experience; right brain mediated processing of emotion and attachment occurs through this somatic, non-verbal lexicon. And this somatic lexicon is what the AEDP therapist seeks to engage in the therapeutic interaction. Insights in quantum transformations describe the phenomenon of sudden and discontinuous change which the AEDP therapist aims to facilitate in the patient, thereby accelerating the therapeutic process.

Such dramatic phenomena are accomplished through catalyzing a psycho-neurobiological state transformation with the visceral affective experience, expression, coordination and communication in the emotional engaged presence of a empathically attuned AEDP therapist.

Danny Yeung, Toronto

Four Pillars of AEDP

AEDP (i) rests on a deep faith in clients’ innate capacities, hard-wired and always recoverable, to self-right and heal into their authentic True Self; (ii) privileges the power of new experiences of being seen and understood to heal the deepest injuries and create a new platform for exploration and change; (iii) lasers through defenses to the deepest levels of wounding where healing can be most catalytic to further change; (iv) evokes new trust in the power of experiencing any and every emotion, no matter how frightening, sharing, reflecting, processing, with a safe other to full and sweet self-acceptance and love.

Linda Graham, San Francisco CA

On the Mind

AEDP takes seriously and literally the plasticity and fluidity of the mind. Moment to moment the AEDP therapist notices, tracks and seizes upon areas of health and hope in the patient and sets about capitalizing upon them. This focus on the adaptive wired-in already present vitality of the patient leads to an organic resourcing of our patients from the very beginning of treatment.

From infant-mother research, AEDP takes the stance of a real, relating, caring other. A real person who responds authentically and honestly is inherently a secure base. From this place the AEDP therapist is always working with a dual attention: the relationship and the emotional experience of patient and therapist. This dual focus accelerates change.

The AEDP therapist has a protocol to follow and a phenomenology to anchor the work: the theoretical flowchart of AEDP tracks the patient from (i) anxiety and defense, to (ii) core affect, and then (iii) core state. As an emotion-based therapy the focus is always on helping the patient feel, and have the experience of feeling. Finally, metaprocessing teaches patients that there is value in talking about experience, that everything can be talked about, and that talking cements experience.

Natasha Prenn, New York NY

On the True Other

We all have strivings toward connection, understanding, growth and transformation. The more these yearnings are thwarted by deprivation, misattunement, trauma or loss, the more profound and painful the longings and needs can become. The AEDP therapist seeks to awaken and restore these basic human drives through becoming a safe, nurturing, and responsive “true other.” If a deep, caring and authentic relationship is the vehicle for change, then it is feelings and full emotional processing that fuel the process of transformation, delivering patient and therapist alike to a place of peace, inner wisdom, self-actualization, energy, mutual delight and fulfillment.

Kari Gleiser, Hanover NH

On Healing Trauma

AEDP works to heal the negative sequelae to attachment trauma and harness the untapped resources for resilience and growth of our patients through the explicit and implicit co-creation of a safe and secure relationship with an attuned, self-actualized, self-reflective therapist. A process of attunement, spontaneous disruption and intentional repair informed by specific, experientially driven intervention strategies, and operating at multiple levels: moment-to-moment, session-to-session and across a whole treatment process, provides the essential, synergistic framework for healing and transformation.

Benjamin Lipton, New York NY