There are more and more newly created models and approaches, within the clinical psychotherapeutic context. One of these models, of recent appearance, is the dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy, created by Dr. Diana Fosha.
In this article we will explain, in a summarized way, what this therapeutic model consists of, what its 4 main foundations are and how it can help people to reduce their emotional suffering.
Dynamic Accelerated Experiential Psychotherapy: What is it?
Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) is an integrative model within psychotherapy, and is specially designed to treat psychological trauma. It is based on healing and a non-pathologizing view of symptoms , and is geared to the transformation of the person. This therapy, on the other hand, is psychodynamic and psychoanalytic in nature.
Dynamic Dynamic Accelerated Experiential Psychotherapy was created by an American psychologist, Dr. Diana Fosha, PhD. Diana Fosha founded the AEDPT Institute in New York (USA), and is currently its director. In this center she also teaches clinical psychology and works as a psychotherapist.
To develop this model, Fosha understood people’s suffering as opportunities to heal and experience greater transformation , and this idea was supported by dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy. According to the author, such transformation would not be possible without certain experiences of suffering.
In fact, this therapeutic model uses the term “Transformance” to refer to that force that motivates the individual to strive to heal, be authentic, vital and connect with himself.
In terms of its influences, dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy draws on different disciplines or therapeutic orientations. These are: attachment theory, body-centred therapies, affective neuroscience and different transformational studies.
The aim of dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy is to help the patient become stronger in the face of adverse life circumstances, and especially after having experienced a traumatic situation .
In order to achieve this objective, the therapeutic relationship established between patient and psychologist is fundamental; this relationship must provide a safe base for the patient to express his or her most intimate emotions and fears, as we will see later on.
Through this model of therapy we work on the trauma, the loss and the painful consequences of certain life experiences , as well as on other aspects or symptoms that may arise throughout the therapeutic process.
Dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy is based on 4 foundations or pillars, which reflect its philosophy. These points are key to developing an effective psychotherapy process within this approach, and are as follows:
1. The power to be understood
Dynamic Dynamic Psychotherapy is based on the idea that being heard heals. This is essential for many people, and is actually one of the foundations of any psychotherapeutic process.
Thus, within this approach, a space is promoted to explore the needs and desires of the patient, and thus to promote change . The therapist will help the patient to explore all these feelings arising from their traumatic experience.
2. Healing capacity
Another foundation of dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy is faith in the healing capacity of the patient, which is found within him or her.
Sometimes, however, this ability is blocked by life circumstances or particularly painful experiences . The therapist here will have the mission of promoting this capacity, which in reality is intrinsic to each person.
3. The capacity to experience emotions
The next foundation of dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy is the importance of discovering the individual’s capacity to experience emotions. These emotions can be positive or negative, but the important thing is that they are shared and processed.
In this context appear the so-called “corrective emotional experiences”, which are part of the psychotherapeutic process, and which help the patient to challenge his ideas and to select those experiences that can really help him . Thus, through different techniques within therapy, a new way of experiencing emotions is opened up for the patient.
4. Exploration of wounds
The final foundation or pillar of Dynamic Accelerated Experiential Psychotherapy involves exploring the patient’s emotions at their maximum depth, so that they can heal. This involves exploring their “wounds,” their traumas, and their weaknesses.
Through healing, transformation towards a healthier interpretation of reality is achieved , according to this therapeutic model. The processing of emotions, both positive and negative, is essential for healing to take place. The therapist accompanies the patient throughout this process.
The role of the therapist
What role does the therapist play in dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy? It is the essential piece for the patient to have a secure base from which to explain how he or she feels. Thus, the therapist must show an open and close behavior towards the patient, and eliminate any hint of judgment or prejudice.
The important thing is that a space of tranquility and understanding is created, so that the person can open up . For this, and as in all psychotherapy, it is also important that the therapist shows security and transmits to the patient the message that “he is not alone”.
It can be (and should be) that a space of tranquility and trust opens up for the patient, and it may be that this is the first time for many that they do not feel alone. All the behaviours of expression of feelings manifested by the patient should be reinforced, since there will be moments of vulnerability and suffering that will have to be addressed and contained.
On the other hand, dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy gives great importance to the patient’s body movement, as well as his or her facial expression, tone of voice, eye movements , gestures in general, posture, etc. The therapist must always pay attention to these behaviours, in order to connect with the patient and explore with him/her.
Dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy also places a great deal of importance on the patient’s positive experiences, as they are very beneficial to the patient’s healing or transformation process. These experiences allow one to work with positive affects . Furthermore, positive emotions must also be processed and regulated, just as negative ones.
In fact, and in order to prove its usefulness, it has been observed how such positive experiences help in the recovery of the patient. Thus, we see how this model of psychotherapy starts from a non-pathologizing vision of the symptoms, and how it is based above all on healing and positive emotions.
Who can use this therapy?
Logically, people who are well trained in it. Fortunately, it is not limited to psychologists, but can also practice dynamic accelerated experiential psychotherapy psychiatrists, social workers…
However, within the health context and as far as psychologists are concerned, the ideal is for the person to have the Master’s degree in General Health or the PIR (Resident Internal Psychologist), in addition to having training and experience in the clinic.
- AEDP: Neuroplasticity in Action | In English with Spanish Translation | Diana Fosha, PhD | Barcelona, Spain. (2019). CCCB Seminar Barcelona.
- EDPA Europe. What is AEDP or Dynamic Accelerated Experiential Psychotherapy?
- Markin, R. D., McCarthy, K. S., Fuhrmann, A., Yeung, D., & Gleiser, K. A. (2018). The process of change in accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP): A case study analysis. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 28(2): 213-232.
- Vergara, C. (2017). Towards a psychotherapy based on neuroscience of emotion. Review of the book the healing power of emotions: affective neuroscience, development and clinical practice. News in Psychology.