AEDP is a form of talk therapy aimed at healing traumatic experiences by resolving feelings of aloneness. Diana Fosha is the founding psychotherapist of this technique and employed pieces of other treatment modalities to formulate AEDP. Other techniques utilized within AEDP treatment include attachment theory, emotion theory, neuroscience, somatic theory, and transformational studies. If you are considering treatment or would like to know what AEDP can do for you, read on to learn more.
What is AEDP therapy?
Psychology Today sums up AEDP as “a form of talk therapy that aims to help people overcome trauma, loss, or other serious emotional challenges.” Fosha believes one of the most difficult pieces to surviving trauma is the inherent feeling of being alone. Feeling alone in the pain, feeling separate from others, and believing one is unrelatable, are all components of feeling alone.
As a client and therapist work together, the most important task to tackle is formulating a trusting and safe environment in the therapy room. As the client begins to feel safe, they can then begin to discuss their experiences and emotions in a non-judgmental and caring environment. As they discuss their experiences and receive nurturance, validation, insight, and more, their past experience ultimately transforms.
Fosha believes in the innate ability of everyone to heal themselves. This belief is executed during the therapeutic relationship as the therapist points out the positive coping mechanisms the client has used to survive the trauma. In this way, the therapist begins to build confidence in the client that they can indeed heal and lead the healthy life of their desire.
AEDP Therapy Techniques
The crux of therapy revolves around establishing a trusting, non-judgmental, and nurturing environment. The therapist and client may spend as many as six sessions together to establish this trust. Once this relationship is established, the client can then begin to let their guard down and discuss their traumatic experiences, feelings, and emotions in an authentic manner.
As the client discusses their past traumas, the therapist listens and provides nonjudgmental insight. The therapist is also working to track any traces of aliveness, resilience, and positive coping mechanisms the client employed to survive their trauma(s). The therapist will acknowledge these positive aspects in the therapy room, reinforcing the client’s self-confidence to heal themselves.
The sensation of “aloneness” is an important focal point. A client who has lived through trauma often experiences this feeling of being alone, or of being “other.” It is as though the trauma was so deep and painful, no one else could possibly relate to them. Aloneness can also involve feelings of shame and self-hatred. Therefore, tuning into these feelings of aloneness and helping the client to alleviate these feelings, is of the utmost importance in order to heal.
As mentioned earlier, other theories come into play when utilizing AEDP treatment. For example, the theory of attachment posits that our earliest relationships formulate an imprint from which to form current relationships. Therefore, if our earliest relationships were not healthy, our current relationships might reflect the same patterns. When using AEDP treatment, attachment patterns will be part of the larger picture in assessment and treatment.
Fosha also believes deeply in the power of the human brain and its ability to formulate new pathways and behaviors (neuroplasticity). As the therapeutic relationship develops and deepens, and as the client is able to discuss their experiences in an authentic way, the brain begins to view these positive experiences in the therapy room as valid. Therefore, despite having a negative childhood, this therapeutic relationship allows for enough positive experiences to transcend the therapy room and into the client’s everyday life. The brain now understands the trauma in a different way and develops healthier coping mechanisms for the present life.
AEDP reviews and benefits
AEDP is still considered a relatively new form of therapy and therefore, there are limited research studies signifying its efficacy. However, anecdotal evidence supports its effectiveness, primarily in treating those with trauma, such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Any opportunity for a person to discuss their trauma in a non-judgmental and nurturing environment can be considered a positive outcome regardless if there is enough research to support it at this time.
Who is suitable for this treatment?
AEDP is considered a suitable form of treatment for most mental health issues. Though it was founded on the principles of treating major trauma, those suffering from depression and anxiety might also benefit from this technique. Often, people who suffer from depression and anxiety also feel deeply alone and AEDP works to resolve these deep and painful feelings.
Other mental health issues which may benefit from AEDP treatment include but are not limited to:
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)
- Relationship issues
- Parenting issues
- Substance abuse
AEDP treatment alternatives
As you can see, AEDP incorporates elements of other standard treatment practices. For example, in most cases, the importance of a nurturing and trusting relationship between the client and therapist is paramount when a client is trying to heal. One of the differentiating factors of AEDP is resolving the deep and painful feeling of being alone.
There are many excellent treatments available to those seeking help. Below are a few examples of other successful therapies and the corresponding conditions they are known to treat effectively.
- If trauma is of main concern, there has been a lot of research on the efficacy of using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to treat PTSD.
- Exposure therapy combined with cognitive behavioral therapy has been an effective form of treatment for phobias.
- A combination of medical oversight, residential programs, and cognitive behavioral therapy have been successful forms of treatment for those suffering from an eating disorder.
- Talk therapy utilizing emotionally focused therapy and the Gottman method, are modalities typically used to treat relationship issues.
Though many people find AEDP a helpful and successful form of treatment, it might not be for everyone. It is important to do your research and determine which approach might be best for you and your situation. It’s ok to start with one therapy and switch to another treatment. Ultimately the client is the consumer and has the power to decide which treatment is best suited for their particular circumstances.
AEDP treatment is a form of therapy geared to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Though it is predominantly used to treat traumas, it can be a successful form of treatment for other issues. AEDP differentiates itself by focusing on healing the sensation of feeling alone, which is an important feeling to resolve in order to function in our everyday communities.
If you are seeking support and believe AEDP might be right for you, reach out and get the support you deserve.
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