AEDP Institute

Expanding the Ordinary to Extraordinary: A Review of Eileen Russell’s Book, Restoring Resilience

Transformance Talk based on Transformance:

The AEDP Journal, Volume 6 Issue 1

(published December 2015)

 by Eileen Russell, PhD

Book Review by Gil Tunnell, PhD


Listen and watch Eileen Russell and her editor / interviewer Gil Tunnell – both Sr. Faculty at AEDP – plus members of the AEDP community in this Transformance Talk to learn about Ms. Russell’s highly regarded book, Restoring Resilience.

From Tunnel’s review:

Eileen Russell’s new book Restoring ResilienceDiscovering your clients’ capacity for healing (New York: W. W. Norton., 2015) is a major contribution to the psychotherapy literature. It is the best professional book I have read in a long time.

Rich in new, jargon-free theory and filled with clinical vignettes that illustrate working with different forms of resilience … Russell is clear from the start that she is not talking about the everyday, ordinary notion of “resilience,” but rather a multi-faceted concept that manifests itself in different ways at each stage and state of the therapeutic process.

More than demonstrating what resilience looks like in its various facets, Russell describes numerous clinical interventions that can be used to nurture it. In my view, this is why the book is so important: The author goes beyond helping the reader identify resilience in all its forms, but provides explicit clinical interventions appropriate for cultivating each form. For example, in early treatment, she writes that it is insufficient simply for the clinician to note the patient’s resilience privately or even share their thoughts on the patient’s resilience with the patient. Instead, Russell invites therapists to get curious about resilience, become more adept in spotting it, get the patient curious about it, and, together with the patient, mine it and bring it into the light. …

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Meet the Presenter

Eileen M. Russell, PhD

Eileen M. Russell, PhD, has been trained and supervised intensively in AEDP since 1996 by Diana Fosha, PhD and Jenna Osiason, PhD. In addition, Dr. Russell is trained in EMDR and in Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing. Dr. Russell received her doctorate from Fordham University and received her clinical training from New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and New York University Medical/Bellevue Hospital Center. Until 2004, she was senior psychologist at NYU Medical/Bellevue Hospital, where she worked with people dually diagnosed with substance dependence and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Russell is currently a part-time Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Medical Center where she supervises students in AEDP and dynamic psychotherapy and the lead supervisor of one of two New York City AEDP Core Training Groups. She has taught AEDP seminars at several universities and clinics in New York and New Jersey and supervises clinicians learning AEDP.

In her book, Restoring Resilience: Discovering your Clients' Capacity for Healing (W.W. Norton & Company, June 2015), Eileen draws on interpersonal neurobiology, affect regulation research, a number of theoretical orientations and clinical experience to show therapists how to build from what’s going right in clients’ lives, help them cultivate and deepen their native resilience and create lasting change. Together with Diana Fosha, she has co-authored a paper on "Transformational affects and core state in AEDP" for the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. Her research and writing interests include the development of AEDP theory and practice, and spirituality in psychotherapy. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City and New Jersey.

Gil Tunnell, PhD

Gil Tunnell, PhD, completed a three-year core training in AEDP with Diana Fosha in 2007.  His special interest is applying individual AEDP to couple therapy.  In the late 1980s, he trained in Structural Family Therapy under Salvador Minuchin, M.D., and has written on the differences between Structural Therapy and AEDP (Tunnell, G. (2015). Facilitating transformance for couples: A comparison between Structural Family Therapy and AEDP. Transformance Journal, 6 (1)), and with families (Tunnell, G. (2006), “Postscript 10 years after: ‘The Oedipal Son’ revisited” in S. Minuchin et al, Mastering Family Therapy: Journeys of Growth and Transformation (Wiley).    Dr. Tunnell is co-author with David Greenan of Couple Therapy with Gay Men (Guilford, 2002), and has published widely on working with gay male couples (Tunnell, G. (2012). Gay male couple therapy: An attachment model.  In J. J. Bigner & J. L. Wetchler (Eds.), Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy. Routledge).  He also has a chapter in a book which received the 2011 Distinguished Book Award from Division 44 of the American Psychological Association (Tunnell, G., (2011). An attachment perspective on the first interview: Accelerated Experiential  Dynamic Psychotherapy. In C. Silverstein (Ed.), The Initial Psychotherapy Interview: A Gay Man Seeks Treatment, New York: Elsevier Insight Books.  Dr. Tunnell also trained in family therapy with Maurizio Andolfi in Rome, Italy.  He previously was director of family therapy training at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, and is Adjunct Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he teaches family and couple therapy.  He is in private practice in New York City.