AEDP, an approach based on neuroscience research, braids what we’ve learned about attachment theory, emotional intelligence, transformational theory and infant-mother research. A trauma-informed approach, AEDP privileges healing as well as insight. The goal of this work is to tend to the deeper causes of anxiety, depression, or other symptoms by unearthing the roots of these struggles.
The underlying cause of our distressing symptoms can often be traced back to buried emotions which could not be processed when they first emerged due to feelings of aloneness and overwhelm during that life period. Without support from a caregiver or loved one to help us manage our big feelings, we resort to relying on other defense mechanisms such as shutting down, distracting or numbing. Yet emotional repression fosters a lonely intra-psychic place and can create a “stuck-ness” to our energy– leading to depression, anxiety and other mental and physical symptoms. When our trapped emotional energy is safely digested and released in the presence of a compassionate and trusted other, our bodies begin to re-regulate; we arrive at an inner state which ultimately feels more grounded and openhearted.
This process begins by mindful awareness- noticing our somatic sensations while in the midst of an emotional wave. What are we feeling inside? A tightening in our chest? A lump in our throat? Clenched jaw or fists? The next step is to become curious about identifying the specific emotion we may be feeling. Does this particular body sensation equate to sadness? Fear? Anger? Placing a name to an emotion helps to diffuse some of its energy and creates a deeper sense of Self-knowing, which typically offers some relief. The following step is to allow our emotional experience to flow to completion in its usual wave-like manner. Noticing any impulses behind the emotion helps to enhance its expression. What does the anger want you to do? Scream? Move? Engaging in some kind of imaginative or fantasy realm around emotional impulses often helps to diffuse this energy. And lastly, after the completion of an acknowledged and fully processed emotional wave, we can harvest the resultant wisdom and open hearted state.