AEDP psychotherapy is an empirically supported model that gives patients corrective emotional and relational experiences that mobilize changes in the brain.
What is the AEDP™ Model of Psychotherapy
AEDP psychotherapy is an approach 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 changes in the brain.
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.
Psychologist, author, researcher, clinician and educator Diana Fosha, PhD, has been developing the AEDP model for over 20 years. She first described it in her 2000 book, “The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change;” and an evolved, updated version of the model is articulated in a book Dr. Fosha edited for American Psychological Association (APA, 2021), “Undoing Aloneness & the Transformation of Suffering into Flourishing: AEDP 2.0.”
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.
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.
Please go here for a list of AEDP research publications.
There is no better way to capture the ethos of AEDP than to say this: we try to help our patients—and ourselves—become stronger at the broken places. By working with trauma, loss, and the painful consequences of the limitations of human relatedness, we discover places that have always been strong, places that were never broken.
The AEDP Institute is devoted to providing a forum for an emergent community of clinicians. We seek to co-create environments — clinical, intellectual, collegial — of shared values. We seek ours to be a community of co-created safety and security from which the boundless exploration that is our aim can take place.
AEDP Institute Goals:
- To train and certify post graduate level mental health professionals in the AEDP model of psychotherapy.
- Oversee research to continue to fine tune (and prove) the efficacy of the AEDP model of psychotherapy
- Publish articles about AEDP psychotherapy
- Support the community of mental health practitioners who have found AEDP to be their professional home.