AEDP - Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

Instructor: Nathan Kilgore

Nathan has taught college Psychology, Sociology, English, and Communications and has a master's degree in education.

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) is built on the core foundations of transformance, neuroplasticity, and the therapist. This lessons details how AEDP works and the contributions from the founder of this form of psychotherapy.

Introduction to Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)

To describe the purpose of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), its founder, Dr. Diana Fosha, has referred to the words of Ernest Hemingway, 'The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.' This quote captures the essence of AEDP - to assist the patient in utilizing painful or unpleasant experiences to build strength and self awareness.

Three Foundations of AEDP


Some say our survival instincts tell us to resist painful emotions and unpleasant memories (this is referred to as resistance). However, Dr. Fosha suggests that there is an opposing force to resistance called transformance.

Transformance is the force of the psyche that urges someone towards growth and change, even during difficult or painful seasons of life. It relies on the brain's innate ability to self-heal and occurs as patients explore and experience unpleasant or painful emotions in the safe environment created by their therapist. Transformance a key component of AEDP and is believed to create neuroplasticity.


The brain has approximately 86 billion neurons, or nerve cells. Each neuron is connected to other neurons through connectors called synapses. An intricate network of connected neurons maintains brain function.

The concept of neuroplasticity suggests that that these neurons can become like plastic - flexible, or able to take different shape and form as needed. Neuroplasticity is the changing of synapse and neurological pathways in the brain.

One way that neuroplasticity is thought to occur is by compensation. That is, when one part of the brain becomes damaged, the part of the brain close to the injury compensates for the weaker portion by making new connections. Consequently, AEDP believes that the brain holds natural ability to heal itself through the rerouting of neural pathways during transformance, when patients change their behavior or environment.

The Therapist

AEDP emphasizes the importance of the therapist in encouraging neuroplasticity. The therapist needs to build a relationship with the patient that is 'responsive, positive and safe.' In turn, brain function becomes more effective and emotions better managed as neuroplasticity is enabled.

As painful emotions are explored during therapy, they are released and met with empathy from the therapist, with the goal of eliminating the patient's loneliness. The therapist's validation and reflection of the patient's experience create an environment of security and companionship, fostering a safe and secure relationship with the client.

What Makes AEDP Unique

Most psychotherapies begin by figuring out what is wrong and then trying to fix the problem. The patient may rely on the therapist to provide the solution, which can mean that the speed and effectiveness of their therapy relies heavily on the competency of their therapist.

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