What is it about?

This article describes and demonstrates intervention strategies that help patients achieve a successful and satisfying end of therapy experience in a time-limited, 16-session treatment of AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy). Informed by contemporary neuroscience, AEDP is a non-pathologizing, change-oriented psychotherapy that draws on the healing power of emotion and human connection to treat trauma and foster ongoing transformation that extends beyond the end of treatment. The therapy completion process in 16-session AEDP (i.e., psychotherapy termination) is itself part of the healing process. The patient and therapist’s shared experience as treatment comes to its conclusion--being together in how we say goodbye-- simultaneously reinforces and advances therapeutic accomplishments, thereby fostering enhanced wellbeing in patients’ post-therapy lives. Even though the treatment ends, the therapist’s care for the patient continues, as does the change process begun in therapy. The article explains AEDP theory and interventions, which are illustrated through rich clinical examples transcribed from actual psychotherapy sessions. Research support for 16-session AEDP is also provided.

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Why is it important?

The article offers strategies to help patients and therapists process the powerful feelings that arise as their work together comes to an end, thereby offering patients a new, healing experience that can help redress previous experience of loss or disconnection. The completion of treatment (termination) is an important part of any psychotherapy. In AEDP, therapy completion is viewed as a graduation and a launching-- a portal that opens onto an exciting next chapter in the patient's life. AEDP is a highly integrative, powerful treatment model, which allows therapists to draw on their genuine feelings of care for their patients, in order to help patients access the innate wisdom of their emotions and live more freely and fully. The article offers case examples and research support for AEDP interventions that promote an ongoing change process, that extends beyond the completion of therapy.

Perspectives

Interest in AEDP is growing quickly, around the world. I am honoured and delighted to have this opportunity to help introduce colleagues to this deeply satisfying and powerful way of helping people and healing attachment trauma. It is my hope and belief that this article will be of interest and useful to therapists who are new to AEDP, as well as for clinicians who have significant experience in the model. I'm grateful for how AEDP has profoundly changed both my professional and personal life. I also provide professional consultation/supervision and workshops to therapists who are interested in AEDP. I truly delight in helping support people in learning this powerful psychotherapy model and practice.

Dr Richard Harrison
University of British Columbia and Vancouver Couple & Family Institute

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This page is a summary of: Termination in 16-session accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP): Together in how we say goodbye., Psychotherapy, December 2020, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/pst0000343.
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