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Program Description:

This all-day workshop will enhance your ability to work deeply to heal trauma, including complex and racialized trauma, by leveraging the power of relational and experiential approaches of accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy, or AEDP™.

AEDP psychotherapy is an empirically-supported model that is drawn from neuroplasticity, affective neurobiology, attachment theory, dyadic developmental research, and transformational studies, which has shown effectiveness with adults complex PTSD, helping them to cultivate a secure attachment style access and process emotions, and increase resilience.

The target psychotherapy are the defenses that cause people to become stuck in “unwilled and unwanted aloneness.” AEDP therapists co-create a secure base and empathetic environment that allows for the undoing of aloneness and transformation. AEDP strategies include tracking moment-to-moment emotional and somatic experiences as part of the therapeutic dyad, supporting clients to “feel and deal” with difficult emotions, including those that are avoided or suppressed due to past trauma or attachment experiences. Clients develop emotional regulatory repertoires through internalizing the relationship and emotion-regulating strategies within the therapy dyad. Clients are simultaneously encouraged to experience revitalizing emotions in within the therapy dyad, leading to more a more authentic, integrated, and revitalized sense of self.

In this one-day workshop, Sonya Parker will teach participants how to engage with AEDP, its principles, techniques, and interventions to be used on their own or to deepen and strengthen other therapeutic modalities. She will be emphasizing considerations for applying AEDP to intergenerational and ongoing injuries from oppressive systems, with mindfulness to intersectionality and cultural attunement.


9:00-10:30 – Introduction to AEDP model, theory, language, and the role of emotions and attachment trauma and healing from trauma. Relevant background on trauma that comes from macro-societal levels, such as racialized trauma.


10:45-12:15 – Working with Trauma and Emotional Processing: Participant will learn about how to foster therapeutic relationship and to leverage it to access, process, and transform emotional experience through moment-to-moment tracking of client affect and somatic experiences. Considerations, too, on cultivating a safe and secure therapeutic relationship with attention to intersectionality in therapist dyads. Demonstrations from recorded sessions.


1:15-2:45 – More practice of above, and application of AEDP to healing trauma and also promoting flourishing. Participation through case studies, experiential exercise, role plays, demonstrates.


3:00-4:00 – Further application and experiential practices.

4:00-4:30 – Discussion and wrap up

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. List and explain at least 2 reasons that co-regulation in the therapeutic relationship can help clients to explore and process emotions more deeply.
  2. Explain the importance of dyadic regulation to ‘undo aloneness’ when working intersectionality with clients so that clients can ‘feel us with them’.
  3. Identify at least one way in which discrimination and oppression contribute to trauma, negative emotions and attachment injuries, and how to help clients to access, process, and transform emotions related to these experiences.
  4. Engage in moment-to-moment tracking of emotional expressions and somatic experience in real time to identify emotional blockages, defenses, and opportunities for emotional processing.
  5. Identify the internal conflict and hopelessness felt by BIPOC patients’ experience of racialized trauma which can be softened within States One and Two maladaptive experiences of the AEDP model.
  6. Apply at least two techniques to help clients in session to access and express emotions more deeply such as somatic awareness, imagery, role-plays, and expressive arts.
  7. Engage in at least one technique for corrective emotional experiences within the therapeutic relationship through attunement, empathy, and emotional processing.

Trainer: Sonya Parker, LCSW, RYT-200, a licensed therapist and registered yoga teacher, offers interventions that are grounded in attachment, relational, affective neurobiology, trauma-informed, and somatic-mindfulness modalities. Sonya has over 14 years of experience in school social work, inpatient behavioral health, outpatient psychotherapy, community mental health, substance abuse treatment, with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and groups in various clinical and organizational settings. She is currently earning her doctoral degree in social work, researching the allostatic load that racial discrimination contributes to mental health disparities in particular. Sonya is actively involved with evolving AEDP psychotherapy, and has given trainings that integrate spirituality and psychedelics. She is particularly committed to exploring the intersection of spirituality and AEDP psychotherapy to develop tools that leverage the power found at this meeting point to treat and mitigate racialized trauma and oppression by people of African ancestry and BIPOC communities in the US. Sonya serves on the AEDP Vision Collective and as Lead Chair of the Vision Collective’s Racialized Trauma and Spirituality Exploratory Group.

Trainer: James Santos is a corporate chaplain and minister providing pastoral counseling to individuals and organizations. He is also a Level III Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) therapist pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and working to become a Certified AEDP Therapist and AEDP Supervisor. He is a member of the AEDP Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion committee and consultant for the Racialized Trauma and Spirituality in AEDP Exploratory Group. James has worked in many multicultural settings in downtown Louisville, KY and led trips internationally where he provided pastoral care, consultation, and education, helping groups navigate new cultural and spiritual experiences. His pastoral and therapeutic posture is a healing-oriented, mind-body experiential therapy with roots in affective neuroscience, attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, emotion theory, transformational studies, somatically based trauma studies, psychodynamic, relational psychoanalysis, and positive neuroplasticity studies. He received theological training at Southern Seminary and is a non-staff minister for pastoral care at Sojourn North Church in Goshen, KY.  James’ heart is passionate about helping to advocate for and guide others on the journey of self-clarity, emotional healing, relational integrity, and spiritual vitality.


Cénat, J. M., Dalexis, R. D., Darius, W. P., Kogan, C. S., & Guerrier, M. (2023). Prevalence of current PTSD symptoms among a sample of Black individuals aged 15 to 40 in Canada: The major role of everyday racial discrimination, racial microaggresions, and internalized racism. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 68(3), 178-186.

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Hood, A. M., Morais, C. A., Fields, L. N., Merriwether, E. N., Brooks, A. K., Clark, J. F., McGill, L. S., Janevic, M. R., Letzen, J. E., & Campbell, L. C. (2023). Racism exposure and trauma accumulation perpetuate pain inequities-advocating for change (RESTORATIVE): A conceptual model. The American Psychologist, 78(2), 143-159.

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Iwakabe, S., Edlin, J., Fosha, D., Gretton, H., Joseph, A. J., Nunnink, S. E., Nakamura, K., & Thoma, N. C. (2020). The effectiveness of accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP) in private practice settings: A transdiagnostic study conducted within the context of a practice-research network. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 57(4), 548-561.

Iwakabe, S., Edlin, J., Fosha, D., Thoma, N. C., Gretton, H., Joseph, A. J., & Nakamura, K. (2022). The long-term outcome of accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy: 6- and 12-month follow-up results. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 59(3), 431-446.

Levy, S., Mason, S., Russon, J., & Diamond, G. (2021). Attachment‐based family therapy in the age of telehealth and COVID‐19. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 47(2), 440-454.

Salter, M., & Hall, H. (2022). Reducing shame, promoting dignity: A model for the primary prevention of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. SAGE Publications.

UNC Chapel Hill – Clinical Institute Program


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