Upcoming Seminars

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Course Information

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) for Couples: Treating Interlocking Trauma

Co-sponsored by Duke University Department of Psychiatry/Division of Child and Family Mental Health and The Center for Transformative Therapy
Dr. Mars will illustrate how to work with couples carrying the effects of early relational trauma in order to heal shame-based blocks to intimacy. Clinical videotapes of treatment sessions over time will demonstrate the dyadic change processes central to AEDP. Dr. Mars will address both deactivation (avoidant) and hyper-activating (anxious/ambivalent) attachment strategies. He will highlight other key aspects of AEDP for Couples, including the therapist’s use of self in working with chronically traumatized and reactive couples; detecting and following the healthiest aspect of each member of the couple; and cultivating moment-to-moment somatic tracking of the couple and of the therapist’s own somatic shifts.



About David Mars:

David Mars, Ph.D. is the developer of AEDP For Couples. He has specialized in the somatically focused treatment of couples and groups for four decades.  David trained with Dr. Diana Fosha, the originator of AEDP since 2005. Dr. Mars is and has been an innovator in developing process-oriented, somatically, and empathically focused couple treatment. 

David develops and presents training seminars and workshops nationally and internationally that focus on the AEDP for Couples model.  He is the lead supervisor of the AEDP for Couples Core Training.  He teaches at AEDP Immersion Courses, the Essential Skills Program and leads two ongoing AEDP for Couples small supervision groups.  He is one of the founders of AEDP West. David is also on the adjunct faculty of the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco where he infused AEDP into his teaching of courses on the Clinical Relationship.

David’s style as a presenter is described as inspiring, warm and deeply personable.   He quickly evokes trust from his audiences, which ushers in a deep level of transparent exchange of ideas and points of view about how therapists can more effectively treat the historical trauma and deprivation that underlies marital dysfunction.  Perhaps more importantly in the process of helping therapists to evolve their clinical skills, participants are moved to apply what they witness in the workshops, due to the depth of experience they take in while witnessing the videos and live demonstrations that David brings.


Target Audience:

For Psychologists, Psychoanalysts, Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs, and Creative Arts Therapists - All levels.


Course Objectives:

  • Name the four states of AEDP theory and treatment
  • Identify three ways to establish a secure base in the first session of treatment
  • Describe two ways to regulate emotional reactivity in each couple member when either is triggered
  • Name the Seven Channels of Experience (Sensation, Emotion, Energetic, Movement, Auditory, Visual and Imaginal)

As participants witness the clinical videotape showing the couple's arc of treatment, Dr. Mars will demonstrate ways to:

  1. Generate and strengthen the secure base required for transformative couple treatment.
  2. Employ an effective Early Warning System to treat dissociation quickly and re-regulate both members.
  3. Expand the window of affect tolerance.
  4. Resolve shame about what each couple member has done and what each was helpless to prevent being done to them.
  5. Help therapists expand their capacity to attune somatically to their couples and clients.
  6. Use healing portrayals as a means to accelate healing and to bring lasting relief and improve the capacity to feel and deal in daily life.


Saturday, April 22nd
9:30 - 10:00 Welcome, Introduction, Channels of Experience meditation and opening introduction of the theory and practice of the AEDP for Couples model.
10:00 - 11:00 Didactic and clinical video showing how to establish safety, undo aloneness. The audience will learn about what transformance is and how to selectively amplify positive affect and love. The therapist stance will be demonstrated of how to use I statements and channels of experience.
11:00 - 11:10 Break
11:10 - 12:30 Video illustration will be shown of the early treatment of a couple's work that shows state changes in treating complex trauma in each couple member including large group dialogue.
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 Video illustration of late treatment of the same couple. Safety is maintained through the use of Process Training language, which ensures that audience members stay within the guidelines of a non-judging stance and speaking with a somatic focus. This practice translates directly into the practice of the somatically focused work of the AEDP for Couples model.
3:30 - 3:40 10 minute break
3:40 - 5:00 Comments, questions and answers from the audience of therapists regarding their integration of learning from the day into their knowledge base and the specific needs of their clients and couples.