About AEDP™ Psychotherapy

The Origin of our Name: AEDP Psychotherapy

AEDP psychotherapy, was an acronym based on its original name “Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy” given to the model in the year 2000 by AEDP founder and developer Diana Fosha, PhD. Over time, as the AEDP model has been practiced by thousands of clinicians, its techniques and outcomes analyzed by researchers and published in peer reviewed journals and, most importantly, experienced by hundreds of thousands of clients, the model has become much more than the original four word description. Today we refer to the model simply as AEDP.

What is the AEDP™ Model of Psychotherapy?

AEDP psychotherapy is an experiential model that seeks to alleviate patients’ psychological suffering by helping them process the overwhelming emotions associated with trauma in a way that facilitates corrective emotional and relational experiences that mobilize positive changes in our neuroplastic brains.

Crisis and suffering provide opportunities to awaken extraordinary capacities that otherwise might lie dormant, unknown and untapped. The AEDP model is about experientially making the most of these opportunities for both trauma processing and healing transformation. Key to the therapeutic action of AEDP is the undoing of aloneness and thus, the co-creation of a therapeutic relationship experienced as both safe haven and secure base where transformational healing can occur. Through the undoing of aloneness, and the in-depth processing of difficult emotional and relational experiences, the AEDP clinician fosters the emergence of new and healing experiences for the patient, and with them resources, resilience and a renewed zest for life.

Diana Fosha, PhD is a psychologist, author, researcher, clinician and educator, and the developer of AEDP psychotherapy. She first described AEDP in her 2000 book, “The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change.” An evolved, updated version of the model is articulated in a book Dr. Fosha edited and co-wrote along with 12 faculty members of the AEDP Institute for American Psychological Association (APA, 2021), “Undoing Aloneness & the Transformation of Suffering into Flourishing: AEDP 2.0.” 

Since she first articulated the theory and practice of AEDP her 2000 book, Dr. Fosha has been active in promoting a scientific basis for a healing-oriented, dyadically transformational trauma treatment model.  Described by psychoanalyst James Grotstein as a “prizefighter of intimacy,” and by David Malan as “the Winnicott of [experiential psychotherapy],” Diana Fosha’s powerful, precise and poetic phrases —“undoing aloneness,” “existing in the heart and mind of the other,” “rigor without shame” and “True Other”— capture the ethos of AEDP. 

AEDP has roots in and resonances with many disciplines — among them interpersonal neurobiology and affective neuroscience, attachment theory, emotion theory, body-focused approaches, and transformational studies. 

The AEDP model of psychotherapy:

  • Is transdiagnostic, i.e., it can effectively treat trauma, depression, emotion dysregulation, negative thoughts, experiential avoidance and interpersonal problems
  • Establishes a therapeutic relationship of safety and trust
  • Enhances positive functioning such as self-compassion, well-being, and self-esteem in both therapist and client

Dr. Fosha’s synthesis of theory, research, and clinical practice termed AEDP, has become widely recognized as an important step forward in psychotherapeutic treatment. Psychotherapists who complete AEDP training and who can demonstrate the model being used effectively in a clinical setting can become Certified by the AEDP Institute. The model is currently practiced by thousands of clinicians worldwide.

Empirical Support

AEDP Psychotherapy: An Evidence-Supported Practice
There is direct empirical support for the effectiveness of AEDP as a psychotherapy model. The results from Iwakabe and colleagues’ (2020, 2022) practice-research network study examining treatment outcomes of 16-session AEDP in ecologically valid private practice settings, showed that AEDP psychotherapy is effective with a variety of psychological symptoms and issues, including depression, emotion dysregulation, negative thoughts, experiential avoidance, and interpersonal problems. AEDP is also effective in enhancing positive functioning such as self-compassion, well-being, and self-esteem. These improvements are maintained over 12 months, and the maintenance of improvement was observed in all areas of functioning.

Nonetheless, AEDP is not proposed to be well suited to all patients. Exclusion criteria in the outcome studies conducted by Iwakabe et. al (2022; 2020) included: active suicidality; addiction and substance abuse; psychosis and severe impulse disorders, bipolar disorder, or moderate to severe autism spectrum diagnosis, and a current crisis situation requiring immediate crisis intervention (e.g., intimate partner violence). In order to mitigate potential risks of people experiencing severely dysregulated affect, significantly outside their window of tolerance, and subsequently engaging in harmful coping strategies outside of session, people suffering the above should be referred either to their physician, a psychiatrist, or to a clinician who practices another different form of therapy that might better meet their needs.