Diana Fosha is a contemporary psychologist who developed Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP).

Professional Life

Diana Fosha was born in Bucharest, Romania on December 17, 1952. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Barnard College, graduating magna cum laude in 1974. She interned at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at Cornell University and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1982 from City College, the City University of New York.

She studied dynamic psychotherapy as part of her post-doctoral training in both Canada and New York and began teaching at City College in 1977 as a psychology instructor and then at Barnard College. For five years, Fosha held the position of Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Downstate Medical Center, SUNY at Brooklyn, in New York. She later became a Clinical Associate at the New York Center for Training and Research in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. Fosha also held positions at Gracie Square Hospital, Saint Clares-Riverside Medical Center, and the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. She was an assistant professor of psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital and a Director of Advanced Seminar and Practicum in Accelerated Experiential/Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) in New York City. She is a founding member of the International Experiential Short-Term Dynamic Therapy Association.

Fosha currently runs a private practice in New York City and is the director of the AEDP Institute. She teaches psychology and psychiatry at NYU and St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Medical Centers in New York City and is the author of The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change and the first editor of The Healing Power of Emotion: Affective Neuroscience, Development and Clinical Practice. Her other written contributions include multiple papers and chapters addressing transformational processes in experiential psychotherapy and the treatment of trauma.

Contribution to Psychology

Fosha developed Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy to treat traumatic life events, but empirical studies indicate that AEDP can be helpful with a variety of psychological concerns. This treatment approach has its roots in several different psychological theories, including attachment theory, body-focused approaches, and affective neuroscience. 

AEDP is a highly structured, transformation-oriented therapy model. This form of therapy holds that every individual has an internal drive to heal and grow operating within, no matter what type of trauma they have experienced. In this therapy, those in treatment are encouraged to process through painful emotions and experiences in order to develop new, healthier coping mechanisms.

Practitioners of AEDP argue that unhealthy, defensive reactions are at the root of many psychological problems, but that by processing these emotions, people in treatment can develop healthier outlooks and eliminate unhealthy defenses. AEDP has been used with those who have experienced trauma, as well as with those who are experiencing personality disorders and chronic pain conditions.