Metatherapeutic processing is an unique contribution of AEDP and consists of processing the change that occurred in a piece of therapeutic work.
It is looking at the before and after the changes that have occurred in the view of self and other. Not only does it help the client to become more aware of the change that occurred, but it actually promotes even deeper levels of change.
Consider the following (constructed) example:
T: What does that change feel like inside, what is your experience of it?
C: I can now see that it was wrong what he did to me and although it was painful to look at, I came out stronger and I feel like I haven’t felt in years (…) able to breathe again (…) and somehow I feel taller (laughs)
T: That is wonderful (…) and how was it for you to have done this together with me?
C: I really felt understood by you and I felt that you were here with me.
T: And how does that make you feel?
C: I feel really safe (…) that I don’t have to do it alone (tears welling up)
T: It has been a very moving experience for me as well
C: Thank you
T: You’re so welcome
But there is another component of metatherapeutic processing which I would call relational metaprocessing. In several examples we can see how Diana Fosha also invites the client to process how the presence and help of the therapist was experienced by the client (e.g. the “together with me” in the above example)
This little 5 min. ending makes all the difference. The client doesn’t leave, having done his work, like “goodbye, see you next week”. The explicit sharing and processing of the experience of the relationship, results in a moment of deep connection. It’s the creation of instant attachment and affirms that the client and the therapist are in this together. The client doesn’t walk out alone.
*I thank Denise Schiffman for helpful suggestions for this text.