Presence and Bravery in Action: AEDP interventions to awaken emotional resilience after loss, endings, and death

Didactic Portion of the course only
DATE(S): Friday – Sunday (only) , June 7 and June 9, 2024 | straing at 11:00 am EST USA
LOCATION: Live Interactive Online
PRESENTER(S): Kate Halliday, LCSW 

Course Information

Course Description Whether through departure or death, endings and loss are an unavoidable part of human experience. We want everything good to go on forever; staying present to both love and the inevitability of loss is an act of bravery. Avoidance of affective distress, especially relational pain and grief, means that many people are unprepared for inevitable experiences of separation and endings in life, and best efforts at adaptation to this reality have often imprisoned them in defensive or maladaptive patterns and suffering. A deep unacknowledged existential dread of death is a reality most people strive to deny. Pema Chödrön’s insight that “only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us,” resonates with the AEDP position about engagement with suffering: “The AEDP transformational process organically links emotional suffering with flourishing. It connects a biopsychoevolutionary perspective at one end with acceptance, wisdom, aesthetics, spirituality, and the quest for personal truth at the other” (DF, 2020) As findings in the AEDP research project have shown, explicit in vivo exploration of experiences of relational loss is in itself an opportunity for profound healing. It is worth our efforts, for ourselves and for our clients, to engage bravely with even the most painful and terrifying material: to thrive in the present moment demands an open- eyed recognition of impermanence. Metaprocessing what changes as a result of explicit focus on loss in the therapeutic relationship invites multiple layers of unfolding self awareness, and jumpstarts the Transformational spiral into State four, Core State, where we connect to compassion for self and others. This self-transcendence (Danny Young 2010) in turn frees our access to the “big” relationship with Mystery; the ineffable. Not only do compassion and self compassion, but joy and some liberation from fear flow out of this leap into core state. Although our clinical focus begins with loss and grief, joy and liberation are the true heroes of this course. Please join me as we explore and expand our capacities for affective bravery and delight. My intention is that participants of this course build greater trust in the process of AEDP to activate our inherent human potential for joy, even in the face of pain. (There’s a reason a common visual metaphor in AEDP is the vibrant green sprout emerging from concrete.)


Kate Halliday, LCSW is a psychotherapist based in Ithaca New York. She has been in private practice since 1998 after a number of years spent in community human service agencies.

Over the course of a long career, Kate has been influenced and enlivened by a wide variety of experiences and teachers. She began her career as a nursery school and elementary school teacher, and went on to train as a clinical social worker. A writer and a pragmatist, she was initially drawn to Solution Oriented and Narrative therapy. A longing to feel more effective in treating trauma led her to train in EMDR in 2000, and in 2009 she began learning AEDP. Like many of us in the AEDP community, Kate fell in love with the model from the first moment she saw Diana Fosha present a videotape; and in the years since, Kate has enjoyed every moment of AEDP-related experience.

After several years of assisting in Essential Skills courses, Kate recognized that her longing for more ongoing lived experience of AEDP might be realized by generating an AEDP community where she lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Kate began offering AEDP training groups to local clinicians there in April, 2015, and is delighted that the project has taken wings. There are now ongoing groups studying and being supervised in AEDP with her. Many of these clinicians attend Institute trainings elsewhere, and some are now Experiential Assistants in Essential Skills classes. Kate’s original commitment was to make AEDP accessible and affordable to clinicians in her local region which is far removed from a large urban center; this remains a primary interest for her as she considers how AEDP may be promoted around the world.

Kate’s clinical work, evolving from early training in Developmental Psychology and subsequent professional experiences, has focused on Trauma, Dissociation, and their repair. She has always had a commitment to serving her own GLBT community, and for the past decade or more she has had something of a speciality in work with transgender people. She is also re-discovering a passion for time limited treatment as she participates in the AEDP Research project.

Kate currently supervises both in her office and over Zoom. She's been pleased to discover that the process of remote meeting turns out to offer most if not all of the emotional intimacy and efficacy of in person sessions. Especially for those of us in far-flung locations, online supervision and even therapy offer opportunities for personal and professional growth (and delight!).