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An Interview with Diana Fosha, Ph.D., on Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)

David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 14th 2011

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Diana Fosha, Ph.D. Dr. Diana Fosha, Ph.D., is the developer of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, or AEDP, and founder and director of the AEDP Institute. Dr. Fosha is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change, and first editor, along with Marion Solomon and Dan Siegel, of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development and Clinical Practice, and of papers and chapters on healing, transformational processes, and experiential psychotherapy and trauma treatment. Dr. Fosha is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology of both NYU and St. Lukes/Roosevelt Medical Centers in New York City. Dr. Fosha describes AEDP as a model of treatment that she has developed over the course of the last decade or so. As a model of treatment, it starts from a fundamental premise, which is that there's a healing force, drive - a drive or a motivation - to heal and to grow and toward self-repair - that's operating in every single individual, no matter what history of trauma or suffering they have had. She says that one of the key aspects of this approach is to assume that, from the get-go, that kind of healing drive is in operation; that healing is not only something that the therapist is going to try to bring about as an outcome, but that it's something that resides within the person, and it's something to be activated from the get-go.

 

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host.

On today's show, we will be talking with Dr. Diana Fosha about Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy. Diana Fosha, Ph.D., is the developer of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, or AEDP, and founder and director of the AEDP Institute. With an interest in the phenomenology of experience, Dr. Fosha is on the cutting edge of transformational theory and practice. Changing how we think about change, she is opening up exciting possibilities for what can happen in psychotherapy.

Dr. Fosha's career has been devoted to exploring different aspects of the transformational process that describes a seamless arch between suffering and flourishing. Most recently, Dr. Fosha has been exploring the role of positive affective experiences as wired-in somatic markers of precisely the kind of transformational processes that are involved in healing psychic suffering and in the fostering of flourishing and well-being.

Dr. Fosha is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change, and first editor, along with Marion Solomon and Dan Siegel, of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development and Clinical Practice, and of papers and chapters on healing, transformational processes, and experiential psychotherapy and trauma treatment.

Dr. Fosha is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology of both NYU and St. Luke's/Roosevelt Medical Centers in New York City. She makes her home in New York City, where she has a clinical practice. Her heroes include Charles Darwin, William James, and Patti Smith.

Now, here's the interview:

Dr. Diana Fosha, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Diana Fosha: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

David: Well, I'm so pleased to have you. We've kind of gone back and forth, missing each other, and finally we've gotten connected. Now, you're the developer of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy. Wow, a mouthful.

Diana Fosha: I know. It is a mouthful.

David: Yeah. So, not surprisingly, it's also known as AEDP. So tell us, what is AEDP?

Diana Fosha: I am very glad to proceed with telling you about AEDP. And it's a model of treatment that I've developed over the course of the last decade or so. And let me try to be succinct about this. As a model of treatment, it starts from a fundamental premise, which is that there's a healing force, drive - a drive or a motivation - to heal and to grow and toward self-repair - that's operating in every single individual, no matter what history of trauma or suffering they have had.

And that one of the key aspects of this approach is to assume that, from the get-go, that kind of healing drive is in operation; that healing is not only something that the therapist is going to try to bring about as an outcome, but that it's something that resides within the person, and it's something to be activated from the get-go. So that's one aspect of it.

David: Well, I can buy that so far. That's kind of close to the tradition that I come out of as well.

Diana Fosha: That sound good? So far, so good.

David: Yeah. So far, so good.

Diana Fosha: And I guess the other two sort of general aspects that I'll mention - and then I'll see where our conversation goes - is that it's an attachment-based model, and that we really understand the nature of emotional difficulties as developing in the context of aloneness - and, actually, unwilled, unwanted aloneness - that makes emotion regulation or dealing with intense emotions triggered by traumatic situations or difficulties in difficult ordinary existential situations.

David: Okay. Well, there's a lot of juicy stuff there that we can dig into as we go along here.

Diana Fosha: All rightee. Dig away.

David: Well, for starters, let's look at each of the four words. Accelerated. What is accelerated about this approach?

Diana Fosha: Accelerated sort of serves two functions in the name. One is that it's an homage to a tradition that has been very influential on my own growth as a therapist, which is short-term dynamic psychotherapy. And the other aspect, which is actually substantive, is that the methodology - which is both being experience-based and transformationallly focused - speeds up treatment.

David: Okay, so you've made the second word "experiential," which you just made reference to. What do you mean by that? What makes it experiential, say, compared to other approaches?

Diana Fosha: That's really the big, big word in the title, and that's where now all of this wonderful stuff that's going on in neuroscience research and neuroplasticity and attachment research - all of that sort of comes together because we're starting to understand more and more about how little logic and rationality have to do with our emotional lives at least; and that the processes that really matter are visceral and somatically based, and based in the body, and they're experienced in rather nonlinear ways.

So the experiential basically says this is - we're going to proceed in a rather bottom-up way to try to get the people that we're working with away from their stories, away from their narratives, out of their heads, and to start to actually focus in on what's happening in their bodies and on their subjective sense of self, and really proceed from that.

So whether we're talking about emotion or relationship or a particular set of difficulties that brought the person into treatment, rather than focusing on the story or on the beliefs or on the cognitions, we're going to try to, as much as possible, get that person to drop down in their body. And whether they do or they don't, that becomes the focus of the work.

Let me just say one other thing just for a moment, which is that we're just as interested in what makes it hard to do that as we are when the person is actually able to do that, and we're able to work from that point forward.

David: Yes, so you talk about it being bottom-up rather than top-down, and by that you mean that you really start with the person's experience in their body rather than their head-based description of an experience.

Diana Fosha: Or understanding of the problem or something like that, yeah.

David: And then the last two words - "dynamic psychotherapy" - I'm pretty sure I know what that refers to, but I want to make sure our listeners are on board, so dynamic psychotherapy.

Diana Fosha: Let's stipulate that they will know what psychotherapy means.

David: Yes, I think we can stipulate that. But "dynamic" refers to something rather special. Perhaps you can tell us about that.

Diana Fosha: Yes. I think "dynamic," again, refers to a tradition of psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, where there's an understanding that our past relationships and experiences contribute to shaping our perception and experience of current events.

However, the difference in AEDP from standard psychodynamic psychotherapy is, again, that I will be just as interested in certain patterns that appear to repeat as I am in the person's capacity under the right supportive conditions to really have new relationships that are not defined by the past. So it's really - but it's a notion that allows us to look at what's repeating and stuck, and where's the potential for something that's new and growthful and creative and adaptive.

David: Okay. For me, dynamic has connotations of unconscious, that the unconscious would play a role, and at least a teeny bit psychoanalytic. Would that be accurate here or not?

Diana Fosha: Traditionally it's more than just a tad psychoanalytic.

David: Right.

Diana Fosha: But the way that it sort of manifests in the work is that, you know, I think unconscious has really been reconfigured in light of - or it's certainly been reconfigured in my mind - in light of all the stuff that we're understanding about the brain and the nervous system, and all of the processes that go on out of awareness and that have just a profound, profound shaping effect.

So I think it refers both to some of the things that are kept out of consciousness for dynamic motivational reasons, like when people really dissociate or forget or repress traumatic experiences, so it both part definitely takes over that sense. But it's also just really a recognition that for most of us, or for all of us, most of the processes that matter to our survival and to our emotional lives really go on out of our awareness and require attention and focus, at the very least, to become knowable or useable.

David: Okay.

Diana Fosha: Does that make sense?

David: Yes. It does.

Diana Fosha: I'm trying to condense a whole lot here.

David: I know you are. You've written: "Unlike traditional models of therapy that are psychopathology based, AEDP as a clinical practice, roots itself in transformational theory, a change-based theory of therapeutic action." Now, I wasn't aware of something called "transformational theory." What can you tell us about that? What is transformational theory? Where does that come from?

Diana Fosha: Transformational theory is also - is really a term that I've coined to cover a variety of theories and practices.

David: Okay. No wonder I hadn't heard of it before, but go ahead.

Diana Fosha: Well, so now you have.

David: Yes, right.

Diana Fosha: Now you have.

David: Okay. So, by transformational theory, you - what is it that you're bringing in under that umbrella?

Diana Fosha: See, what I've been very, very - I did grow up, so to speak, professionally - or my initial training was psychodynamic psychoanalytic. And in that model the understanding of change is very, very gradual. And that applies, of course. There are many change processes that occur gradually and in small increments over a period of time.

But what I got very, very fascinated by were quantum changes, changes that really didn't happen just gradually, but happened in the course of one moment the person was in one place, and then by the end of the hour something really, really major had shifted. And it seemed to me that there was very little theorizing in mainstream psychotherapy writing about these kinds of positive quantum shifts.

David: Where were you seeing, where were you either reading about or seeing in your own practice these quantum shifts? Because, of course, everybody would like that, right?

Diana Fosha: I mean in my practice, but this is where AEDP sort of shares those kinds of phenomena with other emotion-focused practices or, for instance, with other trauma-based treatments like EMDR.

David: Okay. And -

Diana Fosha: You know, where there's a sense - go ahead.

David: Oh, I was just going to say, I interviewed the founder of EMDR.

Diana Fosha: Dr. Francine Shapiro, right?

David: Yes. I was blocking on her name, so thank you. Yes, Francine Shapiro.

Diana Fosha: So there's a very - you know that's a quantum shift model.

David: Yes.

Diana Fosha: You know that for single incident trauma, you can often see resolution of something that's been plaguing an individual for a long time in a session or in three sessions. And also if you interview people about profound changes in their lives, however those occurred - whether in therapy or out of therapy - the common assumption is that those are fleeting or not long lasting, but it turns out that qualitative research shows - and we're beginning to have some - anyway, research shows that in fact those changes can be long lasting. And so I became very interested in sort of trying to investigate or trying to start to think about how those kinds of mechanisms operate in these larger transformational processes.

David: Yes, so am I right, then, that your position is that interpretation and insight don't particularly lead to change?

Diana Fosha: Yes. And they're not - you know I think they're profoundly useful after the transformation has taken place, as a way of integrating and making meaning and helping to integrate with the person's self. So it's a post-transformation intervention that I think is very useful. But I don't think they're particularly effective in producing the change.

David: Yeah. And you've coined another term which I assume is right on what we're talking about - "transformance"?

Diana Fosha: Yes.

David: And that's basically referring to the process that you've just been describing?

Diana Fosha: It's actually where we started, which is to - it's a term that really references all of these motivational strivings in the individual towards healing or towards growth. And the field is so replete with terminology about psychopathology, that when I first started and I said healing resides within the individual, you said, well, that resonates with you and with some of the approaches that you're familiar with or you have used yourself. But, again, I think that the language to convey those ideas have not - the lexicon for healing experiences is nowhere near as developed as the clinical lexicon for psychopathology. So transformance was really motivated by this wish to honor and name - because naming is always a kind of a sacred activity - to name the very, very important motivational striving.

David: Yeah, I really relate to what you're saying. As a matter of fact, I was in Philadelphia just last week at the Second World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association. And a lot of the thrust of that movement, positive psychology, really comes from a similar place of saying, well, psychology has placed so much emphasis on psychopathology and on negative lexicon, as you say, and so they're kind of feeling around and searching for a deeper understanding and an evidence-based understanding of the positive side of human nature and of healing.

And, of course, one of the things that I've thought about in relation to what you're talking about - and I'm probably not the first - but religious conversion is an example where people have a sudden life-altering change. I mean whether or not you subscribe to the underlying theology, there are cases where people have immediately stopped drinking or stopped being drug addicted as a result of religious conversion.

Diana Fosha: Yes. I will tell you a little sort of detour here, so that what you're saying is incredibly salient for me and these ideas that we're talking about. You know, when I was exploring these phenomena that we're talking about, I combed the literature to see sort of who else was writing about them, and one of the works that I came upon was William James, the very classic Varieties of Religious Experience.

David: It always blows my mind when people start quoting William James, how prescient he was about everything.

Diana Fosha: He's amazing. It gives me chills, really, to reflect on that and what brilliance, what absolute brilliance is in the work. And he describes the phenomena that are in the transformational process that AEDP deals with in psychotherapy, that happen spontaneously in these religious conversions. So you are right on.

And actually William James himself in that work says that his focus is not on religion, but on experience; that it's an experience that occurs in the context of a particular set of religious beliefs. But that the essence of what he's trying to understand and describe, more than anything else - and that's where I feel such kinship or such honor to be influenced by him - what are the phenomena to go with these psychological experiences that produce lasting changes? So, yeah.

David: Okay. You know, there are so many therapies out there. We've made reference in passing to a few already, and I'm sure we'll probably reference some more.

Diana Fosha: Yes.

David: What made you feel that the world needed yet another therapy?

Diana Fosha: To tell you the truth, I didn't. It's not what motivated me. Somebody said to me - looking at the growth of AEDP, and how many people seem to resonate with it and seek the training, and so on and so forth - "Is this a dream come true?" And to share this with you, I said, "It's not a dream come true, because I didn't dream it." I wrote a book. The book came out in 2000. It had been my hope that a bunch of people would read it, and maybe their thinking would be influenced by it, and maybe their work with patients would be affected by it, and I would have made a contribution.

So I really did not dream, when this book came out in 2000, that 11 years later I would be having interviews as a developer of a model of therapy. So I think that it's become one because it struck a chord. There was something - and I can share with you my speculations about what has had something to do with that - but in a way, it's a sort of - it's a bottom-up therapeutic movement that people are really, really drawn to it, and it has grown.

David: Well, I guess so, because I was on your website, and you have an institute, a training institute. And I was shocked at the size. I mean you have a very large staff.

Diana Fosha: Yes. Yeah. I'm sort of shocked at the size of it myself every now and then, when I actually stop to really reflect on it. But I think - I've sort of said that it's a very self-selected group - large, but self-selected group - who's drawn to this work and finds resonance with it and want to learn it. And that it's both heart and mind, and the left brain and right brain; and that different elements, different strands of it, may be in common but may be with other approaches. And actually I think that there's nothing too original about any one model because we're all dealing with phenomena which are sort of wired into our psyches and bodies. So thank God that we're all sort of discovering things that are congruent, because otherwise we'd be truly in big trouble.

David: Well, I'm thinking about the blind men and the elephant.

Diana Fosha: Exactly.

David: So we're all talking about the same elephant here and perhaps accurately describing various features with these different approaches. Now, you just mentioned right brain and left brain, and I saw that in your writing as well. And references to brain lateralization have entered the pop psychology lexicon. Is your use of right and left hemisphere metaphorical? Or is it rooted in research?

Diana Fosha: Probably both.

David: Okay.

Diana Fosha: To be perfectly honest about it.

David: That sounds honest. Yes, that sounds honest.

Diana Fosha: In other words I'm fascinated and have tried and am trying to be very current and informed by the actual research on both lateralization, but also on limbic versus cortical. You know there are many, many aspects of the nervous system and the brain. And I think there's a constant dialectic between a sort of clinical understanding, clinical phenomena, and the research.

But I think that when I talk about left brain and right brains, it is a kind of shorthand way to referring to a bunch of qualities, but it's to some degree metaphorical, if we're going to be rigorous about it. I think we're a long ways from knowing precisely what lights up in the brain or what branch of the nervous system is on line and what neurotransmitters are activated. We're not there yet.

But we're making, hopefully, more informed hypotheses, and it's sort of cool that there's a lot of dialog between neuroscientists and clinicians. So one of the things that has been very important to me is to make it a bit more of a bidirectional dialog, so that the neuroscientists are actually having some sense of the phenomena that the clinicians deem important, so that there's a bit more of a back and forth. And I think that's happening.

David: Yes. Earlier you made reference to something that I recognized kind of as resistance. I forgot exactly what you said, but you said something like we pay not only - we not only pay attention to what's happening, but also to the difficulties of people that people encounter as they try to get there. So I wanted to ask you about the role of resistance and how you handle that.

Diana Fosha: Yes. And a funny thing sort of; transformance is meant as that force which is contradistinction to resistance. Whether we're talking about resistance or barriers or defenses or protective mechanisms, right, they're all different ways that we can talk about the same phenomena.

David: Yes. You know at one level we want to change, but at another level we resist change.

Diana Fosha: Exactly.

David: It's threatening to move what from what we know and comfortable with to a different place.

Diana Fosha: Exactly. And I think that [unclear] so beautifully and I think very much in resonance with how I think about it and what I think we all observe in our clinical practices. And I think you're right; that when you said I said, well, it's important whether the person gains access, let's say, to an emotional experience or encounters a resistance or a barrier. We want to honor those. We want to honor those; we want to understand.

There's as much information that's relevant and profound in why a person gets scared of change, or why they need to put the brakes on, on why it has been life saving in the past to have these kinds of barriers or resistances on board. So I think that's the first step in working with it, which is honoring it and affirming it as playing a very, very fundamental function even though seemingly at odds with the person's wish to change or transform.

David: There's such an emphasis on evidence-based therapy these days. What's your take on that, and does AEDP qualify?

Diana Fosha: First part and then second part? First part - I think, again, that there's a lot of good will and motivation towards making therapy evidence based, and it's aimed to sort of correct some of the excesses of the past, and it protects our clients. So I think there are some of those intentions.

Unfortunately - and I don't want to sort of get into a political discussion too much - but, unfortunately, I think the evidence-based movement has been co-opted by insurance companies and it has become a sort of business thing rather than only something that's for the benefit of the patient.

David: So it becomes a cudgel with which to deny insurance reimbursements?

Diana Fosha: Yes. And, as I said, it's sort of motivated also financially not only for the benefit of consumers, which in this case are people in need of psychotherapy, and there's an entire critique of evidence-based treatments. Not saying that the evidence is solid, but that, in a way, it becomes shaped by what's rigorous research.

And so much of life and suffering and complex therapy don't quite fit easily into the, of necessity, rigorous categories of research. So that the simpler a problem is, the more likely one is to do good research, whether it helps or it doesn't. And the more complex things, for the moment, we don't have exactly the same kind of rigorous understanding of them. So there's a sort of whole critique on that.

In terms of AEDP, AEDP for the moment is, speaking strictly and rigorously, not evidenced based. We're just beginning to do research into it, both process and outcome. But our research efforts are in their infancy, so we're probably at least a couple of years away from starting to have some data. But aspects of it have received a lot of empirical validation from related models.

David: Yes. For example, I interviewed Leslie Greenberg last year, whose approach is called emotion-focused therapy, and I notice that he was one of the key influences for your work, and that - I think he's been researching affect in relation to therapy for about 30 years.

Diana Fosha: For about 30 years. There's a huge research program coming out of Les Greenberg's work. He really is one of the foremost researchers, not only in outcome, but in the actual process of psychotherapy and different, sort of from the inside out, things that are deeply meaningful. So there's a tremendous amount of overlap between EFT and AEDP, particularly in the processing of emotion - there are other aspects which differentiate the two treatments - so in that way so much of the EFT research can be adduced to support some of therapeutic processes that are central to AEDP.

David: Right. And while we're talking about influences, I also have the impression that you've drawn on parts of understanding from object relations and from attachment theory, which you mentioned earlier. Maybe you can just talk a little bit about how those tie in to your work.

Diana Fosha: Well, I think attachment theory has been not just influential, but it feels - I'm looking for a word that goes beyond that. It feels really sort of fundamentally important in relation to AEDP. That so many - and that's a very robustly researched evidence-based model, so that the insights derived from that have really - that many of the - let me see how to say it. Let me start again. That there's such profound clinical applications from what we know about attachment processes throughout the life cycle, that have such huge clinical implications that directly bear on how we as AEDP therapists really proceed and relate to our patients. That it's really a central influence, though.

David: Okay. I think earlier you mentioned trauma. What's your approach to trauma?

Diana Fosha: I'm trying to think what's not my approach to trauma. So you sort of stopped me for a second. In trying to answer precisely, let me talk about sort of two aspects of it, and one is trauma that is the individual's response to catastrophic events, whether they're in terms of childhood abuse, or whether they're in terms of rape or accidents or war or catastrophes - the kind of thing that leads to PTSD and what's been referred to in the field as "Big T" trauma.

And there's the "Little T" trauma, which are really the events in daily lives and relationships with parents and significant others and school and doctors really. The more ordinary things that everyone experiences and are not the extraordinary events of Big T traumas, and that are nevertheless profoundly, profoundly impactful on shaping how our nervous systems react to stress and emotion, and our bodies, and our psyches.

So that I think that AEDP par excellence and in that way, sort of maybe more than - I'm going to say at this moment - more than any other treatment I can think of off-hand, addresses attachment trauma in part by how we work with relational experience in the here and now. So there's something very specific about AEDP in that way in the treatment of attachment trauma.

David: Something I read gave me the impression that you see a relationship between suffering and flourishing. Do I have that right?

Diana Fosha: I think you got it. I was going to say something about that when you were talking about positive psychology.

David: Okay, good. Go ahead.

Diana Fosha: The negative and positive emotions are not sort of two realms. They have been treated as such, but I think one of our experiences over and over, and working experientially or working with emotion, is that we start with something that's commonly regarded as negative or feels painful or is difficult or is scary or whatever you have.

And by processing it - let's take a loss, for instance, an experience of loss or grief - that by actually going into it and being with the individual who's grieving or who's processing this loss, and tracking sort of how the body's processing that emotion, that the completion of the processing is what results in flourishing. That it's not by going to the side of grief or putting the grief to the side on focusing on happiness. It's by diving into the grief and coming out the other side that our experience is that you have the most intense and robust positive experiences

So they're not really in the clinical work. It's not like we try to focus on happiness or try to focus - is that we use the healing potential to sort of get the patient to be in collaboration with the therapist, and then together really go into these very painful areas of trauma or grief or fear or what have you. And then it turns out that I think that's how we're wired; that we deal with those things and we emerge stronger and with a lot more vibrancy and vitality.

David: Okay. Tell us a little bit about your own background. For example, where did you going to school?

Diana Fosha: How far back?

David: Well, let's start with college.

Diana Fosha: I'm a New Yorker. I'm a die-hard New Yorker. So I went to Barnard undergrad. And then I did my doctoral work at the City University of New York, the clinical psych program at City.

David: Okay. So I already made reference to your institute. What are your future plans and dreams for AEDP and the institute?

Diana Fosha: And, by the way, our institute is a virtual institute because our faculty is really - I want to say all over the country - but it's really all over the world.

David: Okay. I was imagining a huge building.

Diana Fosha: Yeah. You know, we don't have a building because we have really faculty all over.

David: So what are your plans and dreams for this virtual group that you've assembled?

Diana Fosha: I think the plans and dreams are several-fold. One is to keep developing and growing the model. It doesn't feel static or finite. And this kind of back and forth between neuroscience and attachment and development and so on and so forth, and actually the clinical phenomena that we study - because we videotape our stuff and so on and so forth. So it feels like the practice of AEDP is constantly emerging as the result of what we learn by studying. So I think that's one.

The second has to do with research. I hope that a decade from now, we will have really very solid evidence for how practitioners are affected by the training, and about how the transformation processes and the treatment work.

David: Now, what if listeners want to learn more about AEDP. For example, I know we have some therapists who listen, and therapists in training. What if they want to get some training in AEDP?

Diana Fosha: Well, first of all, I would urge them to visit our website.

David: Which is -?

Diana Fosha: www.aedpinstitute.com - AEDP institute is one word - where they will be able to sort of both download papers for free and see what we're up to, and training programs, and books and articles and DVDs. So that is a great, great place to begin.

And, secondly, also through the website, we have a listserv, where people who are interested in this work can participate. And it has been a very vibrant, interesting set of discussions, as well as a place to ask questions about "What do you do when?" when you're stumped by something that's happening clinically. Or "Do you have a referral in this place of the country?"

David: Yeah, great. And that sort of edges into a related question, which is what if a listener is a potential client and is interested in finding an AEDP practitioner in their area?

Diana Fosha: I thank you so much for that. One of the things that we have on our website is a therapist directory, and that lists all of the practitioners by geographical area who have done work in AEDP. And I would urge listeners who are interested in this kind of model of work or this kind of treatment, if you don't find a practitioner in your area, contact one of our faculty and we will try to see what we can do.

David: You know, a question I should have asked you earlier when we were talking about accelerated. Do you have a sense of what the sort of average number of sessions is?

Diana Fosha: I don't. And in that way, accelerated was chosen very mindfully. It's not short-term treatment, and it's not time limited. We don't work with a time limit from the beginning, which is one of the features of short-term therapies. So some therapies are brief, and some therapies can take a lot longer. But hopefully they're accelerated compared to what else they might be working.

David: Yeah, okay. Well, as we wind down, is there anything else that you'd like to say.

Diana Fosha: I really just appreciate this conversation. I have really a sense that, in your questions, you've asked about things that are very, very important to this way of working. So I wanted to thank you for that. [Unclear]

David: Well, thank you. And, Dr. Diana Fosha, thanks for being my guest on Wise Counsel.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Diana Fosha. If you'd like to learn more about her work, you'll find an abundance of information and links on her website, which once again you'll find at www.aedpinstitute.com. You can also further deepen your understanding and appreciation for her approach by listening to or reading the transcripts from some of my past Wise Counsel interviews. Just go to the Wise Counsel archives and look for my interviews with Bruce Ecker, Leslie Greenberg, Francine Shapiro, and David Wallin. I think you'll find these provide very relevant theoretical background which will help to illuminate Dr. Fosha's work.

You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net. If you found today's show interesting, we encourage you to visit Mentalhelp.net, where you can add a comment or question to this show's web page, view other shows in the series, or simply page through the site, which is full of interesting mental health and wellness content. Access the show's page and show archive information via the podcast box on the Mentalhelp.net home page.

If you like Wise Counsel, you might also like ShrinkRapRadio, my other interview podcast series, which is available online at www.shrinkrapradio.com. Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.

 

Links Relevant To This Podcast:

About Diana Fosha, Ph.D.

Diana Fosha, Ph.D.

Diana Fosha, Ph.D. is the developer of AAccelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), and founder and director of the AEDP Institute. With an interest in the phenomenology of experience, Dr. Fosha is on the cutting edge of transformational theory and practice. Changing how we think about change, she is opening up exciting possibilities for what can happen in psychotherapy.

Dr. Fosha's career has been devoted to exploring different aspects of the transformational process that describes a seamless arc between suffering and flourishing. Most recently, Dr. Fosha has been exploring the role of positive affective experiences as wired-in somatic markers of precisely the kind of transformational processes that are involved in healing psychic suffering and in the fostering of flourishing and well-being.

Dr. Fosha is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change (Basic Books, 2000), and first editor, along with Marion Solomon and Dan Siegel, of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development, & Clinical Practice (Norton, 2009), and of papers and chapters on healing transformational processes in experiential psychotherapy and trauma treatment. A DVD of her AEDP work with a patient has been released by APA, as part of their Systems of Psychotherapy Video Series (APA, 2006), and another one is on the works. She has done workshops, telecourses, and trainings nationally and internationally. Many of her papers are available through the AEDP website at www.aedpinstitute.com.

Dr. Fosha is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology of both NYU and St. Lukes/Roosevelt Medical Centers in NYC. She makes her home in New York City where she has a clinical practice. Her heroes include Charles Darwin, William James, and Patti Smith.

 

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Don't Force What Isn't Real - Cameron - May 2nd 2013

    I had a therapist that had completed 2 levels of AEDP workshops. I noticed in our first sessions that he was using the pronouns 'we' and 'us' often, combined with the word 'together' (referring to the two of us). I read up on AEDP and saw that Fosha teaches using these pronouns from the 'get-go' to fascilitate bonding. In my case it hindered bonding. I had just met my therapist, I knew there was no 'us' or 'we' yet, it takes time to bond. I didn't appreciate this artificial forcing of a bond. I asked him to stop. It really makes me wonder about Diana Fosha.

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