AEDP West Sunday Seminar
with AEDP Faculty Member DANNY YEUNG, M.D.
January 30, 2011 | San Anselmo, CA
The Phenomenology of Trauma, Transformation and Transcendence

REVIEW by Glenn Francis

Danny shared a presentation with us that was warm, humorous, spirited, and lively -- and went deep.

Unfolding the four “W’s” – the What, Why, Who (a genealogical slide of the lineage from Sigmund Freud. . . to Diana Fosha), and How of AEDP, Danny showed us three session clips illustrating the ‘What’ (I feel loved, therefore I am), and thereby profoundly illuminating the ‘How’, by showing us his work.

What is AEDP? ". . . Moment-to moment reading and optimal responding of patient’s core somatic affective experience now . . ." A dynamic explanation of the self-at-worst and self-at-best Triangles of Conflict led to an unfolding of States and their Transformations; from stress, distress and symptoms, to the openness and compassion of ‘the truth sense’. The brain, said Danny, is as much a digestive organ as the stomach.

Using cues from the BASIC acronym (Behavioral impulse, Affect, Somatic sensation, Imagery, Cognition), Danny suggested our role is akin to an obstetrician’s, all the way from ‘making contact with the baby’ in State 2 to the reverence of core state.

Themes of the body as a portal, and mindfulness were a segue to a long video clip with a patient struggling desperately with shame, nightmares, disrupted marital relating, dissociation, and acute mood dysregulation from an abusive relationship with her father. Denny demonstrated and taught a masterful capacity to provide a holding presence through his voice and words, through the sounds he offered -- and through his skillful introduction of internal attachment figures, guided the patient’s emerging adult self.

His work demonstrated elegant somatic access, titrating double-doses of positive affect for each negative affect and pendulating a terribly wounded six-year-old with an adult self, able to call on a resourceful and protective circle of inner attachment figures, moving out of terrifying aloneness toward a profound opening of the patient saying she was experiencing "strength personified."

Danny emphasized how powerfully shame leads to passivity and hiding, and the need for an attachment figure to reach in so the patient can feel reflected. He spoke about ". . . getting a little closer to see if the patient is willing to take my hand, metaphorically." Shame, he said, heals in company.

In the very moving key depths of this work Danny spoke about "doing a delivery right here," encouraged us in the patience of not pushing when the baby's coming, and repeatedly offered the patient safety and empathetic holding. During subsequent metaprocessing the patient said she was "Giving voice to the core."In the last part of his presented work Danny's emphasis was on letting the body complete itself. He emphasized that a patient going through distressing experiences alone feels utterly differently than when they are accompanied by another who vividly offers their presence into the single most important thing of "What we do/how we are - and what the patient does with it/how the patient responds.

"We saw the patient move into spaces of calm being, of peace, clarity, and integration in which she said "it's all connected." She moved into serenity -- and the quiet loveliness of it affected all of us.

Danny Yeung, M.D., C.C.F.P., C.G.P.P., F.C.F.P., is a Lecturer of Psychiatry at University of Toronto and consultant/supervising psychotherapist at several mental health service agencies in Toronto, Canada. Inspired by the work of Dr. Fosha since late 2002, he has been receiving advanced training in AEDP.

Dr. Yeung has co-authored with Dr. Fosha a chapter in Stricker & Gold's A Casebook of Psychotherapy Integration (APA, 2006), titled AEDP Exemplifies the Seamless Integration of Emotional Transformation and Dyadic Relatedness at Work. Passionate about sharing AEDP with Asian cultures, he has conducted Level 1 Immersion Courses, advanced workshops, and created Level 2 supervision groups in Hong Kong since 2005. As adjunct faculty of Tyndale University Seminary and College in Canada, Dr. Yeung teaches a master-level AEDP course for the counseling program. He has also written on, conducted seminars, and hosted primetime radio shows across Canada in psychospiritual transformation.

Invigorated with the integrative vision of AEDP, Dr. Yeung is exploring its interface with positive psychology, spirituality, prayer, mindfulness, EMDR, energy psychology and Chinese philosophy. His first book, Portrait of the Soul, co-authored in Chinese with Victoria Cheung and currently in its fourth edition, has an uncanny resonance with the principles of AEDP. His soon to be released second book titled The Rainbow After: Psychological Trauma and Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, will be the first original AEDP work published in the Chinese speaking world.