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The Merits of Integrating Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy and Cultural Competence Strategies in the Treatment of Relational Trauma: The Case of "Rosa"

Nicole Vigoda Gonzalez

Abstract


The psychological sequelae of prolonged and repeated exposure to relational trauma can manifest into a challenging clinical picture typically known as Complex PTSD. Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) is a multimodal and integrative model particularly designed to address attachment disturbances and extreme forms of affective avoidance and dysregulation commonly seen in survivors of relational trauma. Conducting this treatment in a language that is not the patient’s native tongue may interfere with emotional processing, a key component of AEDP. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it aims to examine the benefits of experiential and attachment-based models for the treatment of "Rosa," a bilingual woman and survivor of relational trauma, who presented to treatment with depressive and Complex PTSD-like symptom. Second, the study explores whether actively incorporating Rosa’s bilingualism and ethnic identity into the treatment enhanced her capacity for emotional processing and other related aspects of AEDP. This exploration constitutes an ideal avenue for documenting the clinical challenges one may encounter in doing psychotherapy with bilingual trauma survivors. For in this type of therapy, the affective processing of traumatic memories can be lost in translation. This requires the creation of an individualized treatment plan that can address these barriers, amplifying the emergence of relational safety and ultimately facilitating the patient’s new experience of core state (Fosha & Yeung, 2006), an integrated state of clarity, ease, and self-compassion.

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