The Triangle of Social Experience In-Person

DATE(S): Date: Saturday June 22, 2024 | Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST

Course Information

We all have social experiences. We all belong to social groups, we all are socialized to group norms and practices, and we all experience social dynamics between people and groups of people. Throughout one’s lifespan, social experience helps shape how one views and feels about one’s self and others, as well as the social groups to which one belongs and the social groups to which others belong. Likewise, one’s affective experience, behaviors and sense of well-being are influenced by one’s social group membership and the social dynamics of power, privilege and oppression impacting these social groups. At its best, one can see and experience one’s self as worthy of love, connection and belonging, and at its worst, one can internalize negative messages and learn to view and experience one’s self as not being worthy. It is well-documented that people belonging to oppressed social groups experience higher levels of stress and negative life events. Likewise, this increase in stress has been linked to greater health disparities and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and symptoms of ptsd. The more intersecting systems of oppression a person encounters, the more there can be an increase in experiences of oppression and psychological distress. This stress occurs not only as result of overt and covert discrimination and prejudice expressed institutionally and inter- relationally, but also from a lack of a secure connection to others and the culture at large. Despite this link between oppression and increased mental health concerns, very few models of psychotherapy theory and practice have incorporated how to consider and address the negative impact systems of power, privilege and oppression can have on a client’s identity development, affective experience and relational experience. In response to this need, this workshop introduces the Triangle of Social Experience: a new AEDP representational schema developed by Ben to help clinicians link social, relational and affective experience. Together we will explore how to use the Triangle of Social Experience to guide interventions and facilitate a movement through the AEDP 4-State model of transformation. As a result, clients can reclaim full access to their affective experience and reclaim their core selves, moving from experiences of suffering and distress to one of internal liberation.


Ben Medley, LCSW loves supervising clinicians learning AEDP! He has a private practice in NYC where he works with individuals and couples and supervises both in-person and online. In addition to being a certified AEDP Supervisor, Ben is also a certified Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT) Supervisor. He has presented nationally and internationally, including co-presenting with AEDP faculty member Ben Lipton the workshop Feeling Like a Man: Using AEDP to Overcome Shame and Heal Attachment Trauma both with AEDP West in California and in New York City. He has also taught/presented with the Essential Skills course in Parma, Italy; taught/ presented in Ithaca with the Central New York AEDP community; has assisted with the NY Immersion Course with Diana Fosha; and has assisted in Essential Skills courses with Natasha Prenn, Ben Lipton and Eileen Russell. Ben also created and launched AEDP Jumpstart, a short-term AEDP supervision group for those beginning AEDP supervision and/or beginning to review video of clinical material. Before private practice, Ben began a mental health program for study abroad students with the Scuola Lorenzo di Medici in Florence, Italy; worked in the Jewish Board of Family Services LGBTQ Unit; and worked in Greenwich House's HIV Mental Health and Chemical Dependency programs. His paper "Recovering the True Self: Affirmative Therapy, Attachment and AEDP in Psychotherapy with Gay Men" is being published with the SEPI Journal: the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration and, in 2019, Ben will be helming the five-weekend ES2 training in New York City. Ben earned his degree in Clinical Social Work with the NYU Silver School of Social Work.