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  • Writer's pictureDr. Diane Benfield

Discovering Healing through AEDP Therapy - by Dr. Diane Benfield, LCSW

Dr. Diane Benfield, DSW, MSW, LCSW, is a dedicated therapist specializing in psychotherapy, grief, depression, and anxiety.

Dr. Diane Benfield, DSW, MSW, LCSW, is a dedicated therapist specializing in psychotherapy, grief, depression, and anxiety.

She offers video consultations as part of The After Cancer's Care Team.

From world traveler to clinical oncology social worker

I have been very blessed with many opportunities to travel and study in my life.

Psychotherapy is my third (and final) career. I was very fortunate to have studied in Europe for my bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in the 80s and early 90s, worked in hotels and restaurants in the Caribbean for many years after college, and then traveled the world with my backpack - returning to the USA in 1997 to put down roots.

I set my sights on becoming a middle school teacher and did it proudly for almost 10 years and loved it. When I desired a more one-to-one helping relationship with people, I went back to school to get a Master of Social Work degree. I worked in substance abuse treatment for my first 8 years as a therapist. An amazing opportunity opened to become a clinical oncology social worker at the Cleveland Clinic. I needed a change, and I jumped at the chance!

Exploring posttraumatic growth in psychotherapy

Since early 2018, I fell in love with oncology and have not looked back. I went back to school to earn a Doctor of Social Work degree that same year and explored posttraumatic growth for my dissertation – it describes the unexpected and positive changes that occur in people during and after great life-changing suffering. Witnessing this undeniable growth in people after trauma is a beautiful process and happens routinely in the lives of my clients.

Journey with AEDP Therapy: Healing and Certification

After years of practicing and learning, I found the therapeutic style I most resonated with, and it is called Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). This approach is deeply relational, attachment-based, emotions-focused, experiential, and somatic in nature. This model of therapy begins healing from the very first session by undoing aloneness and having an emotionally engaged therapist. I meet regularly with a master AEDP therapist for 1:1 supervision and engage in routine workshops and long weekend courses all year long.

I am a level 2 AEDP practitioner and am well on my way to level 3 and then on to certification. I am licensed to practice in NC, FL and WA. I am working toward becoming a snowbird between the mountains of Asheville and South Florida to spend more time with my dad. I visit Scotland each year to see my mother who has Alzheimer’s and the old stomping grounds of my youth.


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