Experiential Dynamic Therapy

Experiential Dynamic Therapy is a therapeutic orientation consisting of a family of approaches (EDTs) sharing common characteristics.

Psychodynamic: EDTs acknowledge that the mind is a mind in conflict. That core emotions, refined over millions of years of evolution, are constantly seeking expression. Simutaneously, often due to early life experiences where they were perceived as incompatible with attachments to crucial caregivers, emotions get buried under the weight of anxiety and defense mechanisms. As life progresses these once adaptive mechanisms gradually become outdated, resulting in unnecessary suffering and impairing relationships with others and with oneself. The therapeutic focus in EDT is on facilitating the experience of core emotions concealed under anxiety and defenses. EDT encourages the facing of avoided feelings so they might be used in the adaptive, constructive context in which they developed evolutionarily and ending the symptoms and suffering avoiding them has caused.

Experiential: EDTs place a strong emphasis on the experiencing of emotions rather than avoiding them or cognizing about them.  Thinking about feelings is replaced with inviting the complete spectrum of the cognitive, somatic, and action potential components that comprise the full experience of a feeling. The process of identifying / relinquishing defenses, recognizing / regulating anxiety, and deeply embracing complex core feelings in the therapy itself is central to what EDT views as bringing about lasting therapeutic change that generalizes to all other areas of one's life.

Relational: EDTs prioritize relational intimacy, using the therapeutic relationship to illuminate obstacles to both secure attachment and autonomous exploration.  Anxiety and defenses block emotions from becoming feelings, preventing genuine closeness with oneself and depriving the individual of their most reliable internal compass for navigating life. Resistances block authentic intimacy with others, rendering the individual isolated and alienated even in the company of others.  EDT pays particular attention to facilitating connection with oneself while in relationship to others, the quality of concurrently being fully present internally and interpersonally.  

Research: EDTs have a substantial and growing body of research supporting their clinical efficacy as a treatment modality, demonstrating effectiveness across a broad range of patient and diagnostic categories.

For further information and a wealth of EDT related resources, research, events, and training opportunities we invite you to become a member, check out the resource links on this site, visit the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association at www.iedta.net, , or contact us directly with any and all questions.