7 AEDP Therapy Techniques List

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on March 4, 2023
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AEDP, or Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, is a form of therapy that focuses on the here and now.

It seeks to provide clients with an experience of healing and transformation through the use of emotion-focused techniques.

AEDP draws on the idea that emotions are powerful sources of information and can be used to help people understand themselves better and to make positive changes in their lives.

This type of therapy is based on the attachment emotion theory which emphasizes the importance of secure relationships between individuals to promote emotional health.

In this article, we will explore what AEDP therapy is, how it works, and the most important techniques used in this type of therapy. 

What is AEDP? 

AEDP stands for Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy.

The goal of AEDP is to help clients access their deepest emotions to connect with themselves more deeply and make lasting changes in their lives.

This type of therapy does not focus on analyzing past experiences or understanding why certain patterns have developed; rather, it helps clients process current emotions to gain insight into their current challenges and make positive changes in their life.  

How Does AEDP Work? 

AEDP works by providing a safe environment where clients can express their feelings openly without fear of judgment or criticism.

The therapist uses empathy, validation, and acceptance to help the client access their authentic self so they can healthily work through difficult emotions.

The therapist also uses body-based interventions such as guided imagery, mindfulness exercises, creative expression activities, movement activities, etc., to help the client access deeper levels of awareness about themselves.

During sessions, AEDP therapists will stay attuned to the client’s experience by being aware of body movement, facial expressions, eye movements, and tone of voice.

List of AEDP Therapy Techniques: 

1) Self-disclosure

This technique involves the therapist disclosing personal details about themselves as a way to build trust with the client and create a safe space for them to open up about their own experiences without fear or shame. 

2) Emotion-Focused Techniques

These techniques are foundational to experiential therapies and involve helping clients identify and process difficult emotions by encouraging them to talk about what they’re feeling without judgment or criticism from the therapist.

The therapist provides support and validation while also helping them explore ways they can address these feelings effectively instead of avoiding them or suppressing them.

3) Metaphors

Metaphors are a great tool for helping clients gain insight into their unconscious processes because they allow them to explore ideas in an abstract way that isn’t threatening or intimidating.

Metaphors can also be used as tools for centering oneself during times of stress or anxiety by bringing awareness back to one’s body/mind connection.

4) Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness exercises help bring awareness back into one’s body so that one can observe their thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them emotionally or mentally.

These exercises involve focusing on breathing patterns while allowing thoughts, feelings, and sensations to come up without judgment or trying to push them away.

Instead simply observing them from an objective point of view until they pass through like clouds passing through the sky.

5) Creative Expression Activities

Creative expression activities like art therapy, journaling, music therapy, etc. are all good ways to deal with difficult emotions because they give you a way to talk about feelings that might be too big or uncomfortable to talk about directly with someone else (or even oneself).

6) Movement Activities

Movement activities such as yoga or dance classes are another great way for clients to get corrective emotional experience into their bodies so they can release any built-up tension or stress that may be causing emotional distress or mental blocks preventing progress during traditional talk therapy sessions. 

7) Guided Imagery

Guided imagery, especially within the context of trauma-focused techniques, involves using visualization techniques, such as imagining yourself walking along a beach while focusing on your breath or imagining yourself surrounded by loving friends and family members who comfort you when you need it most.

These visualizations can be powerful tools for calming down when negative thoughts seem overwhelming and out of control.

What to Expect

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As you begin AEDP therapy, you might feel slightly uncomfortable as gain emotional awareness. However, a good AEDP therapist will always be a secure base and provide a safe environment for you to explore your feelings without fear of judgment or criticism.

Over time, you’ll learn more about yourself, gain insight into any unconscious patterns that are impacting your life negatively, and develop a plan for implementing healthier coping strategies going forward.

Overall, the goal of AEDP therapy is to help you embrace yourself fully so that you can create lasting changes in your life with a greater sense of self-compassion and acceptance.

You might find that this type of therapy is helpful if you want to process difficult emotions or make sustainable life changes with a supportive therapist by your side.

How does AEDP help treat attachment trauma?

Attachment trauma can be a difficult and complex issue to address, but Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) aims to provide an effective approach to treating it.

AEDP is based on the idea that healing attachment trauma requires both emotional connection and transformation. Through its focus on the present moment, relational experience, and positive psychological transformation, AEDP helps individuals to process their painful emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

This allows them to create new ways of relating to themselves and others that are more secure and healthy. Additionally, AEDP interventions are tailored to each individual’s attachment style to best meet their needs.

By providing moments of meeting, contact, care, empathy, recognition, and delight, AEDP helps individuals heal from attachment trauma while also fostering greater self-awareness and self-compassion.

For more info, see the 2011 science article about AEDP transformation process.

Understanding the personal ability to heal deep emotional wounds by creating space for change and exploration

Inside every person is an innate ability to heal through a process of exploration and change.

This is a core tenet of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), a trauma-focused form of experiential therapy that seeks to create a safe space in which individuals can explore their emotional pain, feelings, and memories, while also uncovering greater self-awareness and insight into their patterns of behavior.

Understanding the significance of trusting their emotions and experience

The goal of AEDP is to eventually create a sense of safety and trust in one’s own emotions and experiences.

To get to that point, a therapist may use a variety of techniques such as exploring body sensations, guided imagery, self-soothing exercises, and other mindfulness practices and coping skills.

Through this healing process, a person can learn how to trust their intuition and take ownership of their traumatic memories, while also calming down during moments when negative thoughts seem overwhelming and out of control.

Important Considerations

One aspect of AEDP therapy, known as “metaprocessing,” may present challenges for specific individuals. Metaprocessing involves actively observing and experiencing the process of change as it unfolds. Throughout AEDP sessions, your therapist will guide you in tuning into your bodily sensations while addressing emotions, aiming to cultivate a secure and nurturing bond between you and your therapist.

Initially, metaprocessing might evoke some discomfort and require time for adjustment. Critics argue that individuals with well-established defense mechanisms or underlying hostility might find metaprocessing particularly challenging. See link.

Additionally, it is crucial to note that metaprocessing may not be suitable for individuals experiencing depersonalization or derealization, as it can potentially intensify their sense of disconnection from themselves. See study.

Issues That AEDP Treatment Treats

AEDP Therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps people overcome psychological suffering and process overwhelming emotions through emotional healing. It can be used to treat a variety of issues1, including:

  • Trauma
  • Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Low self-esteem
  • Grief and loss
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Benefits of AEDP Therapy Techniques

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows the effectiveness of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP).

Here are some benefits supported by research2:

  • Improved coping with traumatic experiences, difficult emotions, and PTSD symptoms
  • Reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • Strengthened relationships with others, including greater empathy, trust, authenticity, and self-disclosure
  • Increased feelings of safety and security within interpersonal relationships
  • Improved self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-compassion.
  • Effective among attachment therapies for treating individuals with complex attachment trauma, as it helps to create new pathways to healing.

What is AEDP training?

AEDP training is offered by the AEDP Institute, which provides a variety of courses and seminars designed to help mental health professionals learn and practice AEDP.

Visit https://aedpinstitute.org/ for the official AEDP institute homepage. You can find some great books on AEDP and AEDP therapeutic techniques there. Have a look at this resource if you’re looking for an AEDP therapist in your area.

AEDP Immersion Course

The institute offers an Immersion Course3, which is required for certification and is the recommended first step in learning AEDP. The course utilizes a three-pronged method to engage both the left and right brain, as well as mind and heart, in your learning of AEDP.

It also offers Skills Courses such as Essential Skills (ES1) or Core Training, which are necessary for Level 2 therapist certification. The institute also offers On-Demand Training and Seminars & Seminar Series for those interested in furthering their knowledge of AEDP.

Overall, the AEDP Institute provides comprehensive training programs designed to help mental health professionals learn and practice this healing-oriented approach to psychotherapy.

AEDP Therapy Techniques Conclusion

AEDP is an effective form of therapy that focuses on helping people access deeper levels of awareness about themselves so they can make lasting positive changes in their lives.

It uses therapeutic process techniques like self-disclosure, emotion-focused techniques, metaphors, mindfulness exercises, creative expression activities, and movement activities.

All of these are designed to help clients process difficult emotions safely and effectively in a supportive therapeutic environment where there is no judgment and unconditional acceptance from both the therapist and peers.

If you’re looking for online counseling services & believe this type of therapy could benefit you then please do not hesitate to reach out today!

Sources

  1. Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). (2023, January 1). Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/accelerated-experiential-dynamic-psychotherapy-aedp
  2. Iwakabe, S., Edlin, J., Fosha, D., Thoma, N. C., Gretton, H., Joseph, A. J., & Nakamura, K. (2022, September). The long-term outcome of accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy: 6- and 12-month follow-up results. Psychotherapy, 59(3), 431–446. https://doi.org/10.1037/pst0000441
  3. AEDP Immersion Course – AEDPTM Institute. (n.d.). AEDPTM Institute. https://aedpinstitute.org/aedp-training/immersion-course/

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