Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy: what it is and how it works

More and more new models and approaches are created, within the clinical psychotherapeutic context. One of these models, of recent appearance, is accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy, created by Dr. Diana Fosha.

In this article, we will explain, in a summary way, what this therapeutic model consists of, what are its 4 main foundations and how it can help people reduce their emotional suffering.

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Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy: what is it?

Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy (in English Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy, AEDP) is an integrative model within psychotherapy, and is specially designed to treat psychological traumas. It is based on healing and a non-pathological vision of symptoms , and is oriented to the transformation of the person. This therapy, on the other hand, is psychodynamic and psychoanalytic.

Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy was created by an American psychologist, Dr. Diana Fosha, a doctor of Psychology (PhD). Diana Fosha founded the AEDPT Institute in New York (USA), and is currently the director of it. In this center he also teaches clinical psychology and works as a psychotherapist.

To develop this model, Fosha understood the suffering of people as opportunities to heal and experience a greater transformation , and in this idea the accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy was supported. According to its author, such transformation would not be possible without certain experiences of suffering lived.

In fact, this therapeutic model uses the term “Transformance” to refer to that force that motivates the individual to strive to heal, be authentic, vital and connect with himself.

As for its influences, accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy draws on different disciplines or therapeutic orientations. These are: attachment theory , body-centered therapies, affective neuroscience and different transformational studies.


The objective of accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy is to help the patient become stronger in the face of adverse life circumstances, and especially after experiencing a traumatic situation .

To achieve this objective, the therapeutic relationship established between patient and psychologist is essential; This relationship must provide a secure basis for the patient, where to express their emotions and their most intimate fears, as we will see later.

Through this therapy model, trauma, loss and painful consequences of certain vital experiences are worked on , as well as other aspects or symptoms that may arise throughout the therapeutic process.

4 basics

Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy is based on 4 fundamentals or pillars, which reflect its philosophy. These points are key to developing an effective psychotherapy process within this approach, and are the following:

1. The power to be understood

Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy starts from the idea that being heard heals. This is essential for many people, and is actually one of the foundations of any psychotherapeutic process.

Thus, within this approach, a space is promoted to explore the needs and desires of the patient, and thus enhance change . The therapist will help the patient to explore all these feelings that are born from his traumatic experience.

2. The healing capacity

Another of the fundamentals of accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy is the faith in the patient’s healing capacity, which is within himself.

Sometimes, but, this ability is blocked by vital circumstances or especially painful experiences . The therapist here will have the mission of building such capacity, which is really intrinsic to each one.

3. The ability to experience emotions

The next foundation of accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy is the importance of discovering that individual’s ability to experience emotions. These emotions can be positive or negative, but the important thing is that they are shared and processed.

In this context appear the so-called “corrective emotional experiences”, which are part of the psychotherapeutic process, and that help the patient to challenge his ideas and select those experiences that can really help him . Thus, through different techniques within therapy, a new way of experiencing emotions, on the part of the patient, opens up.

4. Wound exploration

The last foundation or pillar of accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy involves exploring the patient’s emotions at their maximum depth, so that they can heal. This involves exploring their “wounds”, their traumas and their weaknesses.

Through healing, the transformation towards a healthier interpretation of reality is achieved , according to this therapeutic model. For the existence of healing, the processing of emotions, both positive and negative, is essential. The therapist accompanies the patient throughout this process.

The therapist’s role

What role does the therapist play in accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy? It is the essential piece for the patient to have a secure base from which to explain how he feels. Thus, the therapist must show an open and close behavior towards the patient, and eliminate any hint of judgment or prejudice.

The important thing is to create a space of tranquility and understanding, so that the person can open up . For this, and as in all psychotherapy, it is also important that the therapist shows safety and transmits to the patient the message that “he is not alone”.

It may happen (and so it should be) that a space of tranquility and confidence for the patient is opened, and it may be the first time for many in which they do not feel alone. For this, all behaviors of expression of feelings that the patient manifests must be reinforced, since there will be moments of vulnerability and suffering that must be addressed and contained.

On the other hand, accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy gives a lot of importance to the patient’s body movement, as well as his facial expression, tone of voice, eye movements , gestures in general, posture, etc. The therapist, at all times, should attend to these behaviors, in order to connect with the patient and explore with him.

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Positive experiences

Accelerated dynamic experiential psychotherapy also places a lot of importance on the positive experiences of the patient, since they are very beneficial for their healing or transformation process. These experiences allow working with positive affections . In addition, positive emotions must also be processed and regulated, as well as negative ones.

In fact, and in order to verify its usefulness, it has been observed how these positive experiences help in the recovery of the patient. Thus, we see how this model of psychotherapy starts from a non-pathologizing vision of symptoms, and how it is based mainly on healing and positive emotions.

Who can use this therapy?

Logically, people well trained in it. Luckily, it is not limited to psychologists, but they can also practice dynamic experiential psychotherapy accelerated psychiatrists, social workers …

However, within the health context and as far as psychologists are concerned, the ideal is that the person has the General Health Master’s Degree or the PIR (Resident Internal Psychologist), in addition to having training and clinical experience.


by Abdullah Sam
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