Transformance: The AEDP Journal™, Volume 10: Therapeutic Presence Issue

August, 2020

Editor’s Introduction

by Gil Tunnell, PhD

This issue of Transformance: The AEDP Journal, has been over a year in the making, and I thank the eight authors for their patience! Carrie Ruggieri, the new associate editor, and I believe it has been well worth the wait and the effort, as the six articles bring together the writings of senior therapists who are well versed in Therapeutic Presence (TP).

We are honored to have among our authors for this issue, Shari Geller, who coined the term Therapeutic Presence. Other articles in this issue expand upon Geller’s concept from the AEDP perspective. Each author provides us with ways to create and maintain TP in a blend of unique styles, in the form of four scholarly articles, a very personal essay, and a highly useful toolkit for creating TP online.

All authors make the point that while we can be well trained in clinical skills and have a complete intellectual understanding of the AEDP model, these skills and knowledge should become background when we are with our patients.  >>>>


Cultivating Therapeutic Presence 

Strengthening Your Clinical Heart, Mind, and Practice.

By Shari Geller

Working effectively in psychotherapy is only possible when clients feel safe and secure. To promote safety and optimal therapy, therapists need to focus more on how they are with clients than what techniques they do in the therapy session. Decades of research demonstrate that the therapeutic relationship is the most consistent predictor of change.

Yet what contributes to a positive therapy relationship has been less clear. Emerging research suggests that therapeutic presence (TP) is a necessary and preliminary step to facilitating positive therapeutic relationships and more effective therapy… >>>>


The Being is the Doing:

The Foundational Place of Therapeutic Presence in AEDP

By Benjamin Lipton, LCSW

The primary didactic objective that bridges all my teaching is to convey that in AEDP, the “doing” of therapy is, first and foremost, the therapist’s way of being as a therapist, and that this being transcends the concept of therapeutic stance. Everything we “do” in AEDP begins with the therapist’s ability to be present in body and mind, while being oriented to what is happening in the client, and staying open to being explicitly impacted by what is happening in the intersubjective space of the moment between therapist and client. This is what Diana Fosha has named “feeling and dealing while relating,”what is now known more broadly recognized in the work of Shari Geller as Therapeutic Presence (TP).

In this article I propose my model of therapeutic presence, Active Empathy: Presence, Attunement, Intention, Resonance, and Reflection (PAIRR), built upon my synthesis of embodied presence phenomena,and emphasizing the active, relational thrust of the processes. Active Empathy is engaged when… >>>>


The Inner Power Awakens: Contemplative Presence and AEDP as a Way of Life

By Danny Yeung MD & Lily Zhang

Presence has been underscored as a foundational therapeutic stance for AEDP. We propose that contemplative presence is deeply intrinsic to the AEDP therapeutic stance. Enabled by von Economo neurons, the AEDP therapist, by embodying contemplative presence, can enhance intuitive ability and accuracy to land the right intervention with a client, in just the right time, and in just the right way.

A session transcript highlights practical elements and applications of contemplative presence. The stances of ‘being’ proposed by Rogers, Buber, and Schweitzer are explored for their resonance with the AEDP therapeutic stance, and also for the example that a root idea, such as contemplative presence, can be adopted as a way of life.

Finally, we offer our reverie that …  >>>>


Therapeutic Presence With Emerging Adults:
An AEDP-Informed Approach

By Wendy Summer

As the developmental period of emerging adulthood (ages 18 to 25) is now recognized more broadly, so are the mental health challenges facing this particular generation of emerging adults (EAs). Anxiety and depression rates for EAs have increased by more than 60% in a recent 10-year period, as college counseling centers struggle to keep up with their needs.

This article explores how to use therapeutic presence within Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) to treat EAs. With the overall goal of helping EAs successfully emerge into adulthood, treatment with these clients has the potential to … >>>>


Finding the Elephant in the Room:

An AEDP Journey to the Heart of Loss, Presence, and Self

By Marc Cecil, PhD

Starting with the discovery of an elephant figurine left behind by a dear patient, this paper shares the personal journey of transformation and healing of an AEDP therapist and his patients. While facing a painful loss, the author finds the light of the elephant in the room and discovers the essence of AEDP. Following the quiet strength of the elephant, a metaphorical guide to therapeutic presence and healing, the therapist connects to the map of AEDP and makes room for the pain and joy in his patients as well as in himself. By highlighting the glimmers of transformation, he enables a natural healing and growth process to unfold. Bearing witness to the reality of death and dying, the therapist helps others see the obvious but painful truth in their lives, and also finds his own.

With the author’s growing sense of presence and connection to himself and others, his patients find their self-compassion, courage, and wisdom, along with a new sense of wholeness in being alive. Parallel to a new balance developing inside his patients, the therapist finds some of the missing pieces of his own story and the treasures inside himself and others in his life. This discovery reinforces … >>>>


See Me Feel Me:
An AEDP Toolbox for Creating Therapeutic Presence Online

By Natasha Prenn and Kate Halliday

When teletherapy became the medium of therapeutic delivery following the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in North America in early 2020, the authors spontaneously launched an experimental project of recording brief YouTube videos for their AEDP colleagues. Each video offered viewers the experience of an AEDP-inspired conversation between the authors (and occasional guests). Episodes anchored each discussion with didactic presentation of specific interventions easily translatable to therapy online.

Here we present some reflections on this experience, and offer a summary of specific skills and interventions especially applicable to promoting Therapeutic Presence when “meeting” with the internet as the medium. It is our assertion that the “doing” of psychotherapy supports the “being” of the psychotherapist, and that the being of the psychotherapist in turn promotes client presence…>>>>


That’s all for Volume 10

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