AEDP Institute

FEELING LIKE A MAN: Using AEDP to Overcome Shame and Heal Attachment Trauma with Gay and Straight Men

an AEDP West Workshop

with Benjamin Lipton, LCSW & Ben Medley, LCSW-R

” Both Bens covered these themes in detail with humor, frankness and insight, and both showed marvelous videos of sessions with gay and straight men.

It was a powerful day, an important day, a provocative and evocative day for me. I feel so grateful to these two eloquent presenters for their willingness to bring these issues into my awarenes, to our community and into our clinical discussions.”     – Matt Fried, PhD


Perhaps with the exception of anger, emotions are feminized and shamed in our society.  For men, this has created a pernicious demand for defensive strategies of denial and dissociation that conceal underlying shame and unbearable feelings of aloneness.  As a result, men have been thwarted from reaping the psychological and social rewards of feeling one’s emotions.  The cost of this phenomenon, not only in terms of personal well-being, but also societal development, has been great.

For gay men, growing up in a world that favors and expects heterosexuality can be a doubly alienating and traumatic experience.  From a very early age, boys become aware of homophobia and heterosexism and begin to receive clear messages that being gay is not okay.  Often these boys, adolescents and, eventually, grown men are left carrying their struggles, and the pathogenic feelings attached to being gay in a homophobic world, alone.

With its specific focus on accessing and processing emotion from a therapeutic stance of affirmation and authenticity, AEDP offers the clinician theoretical knowledge and a set of operational tools particularly well suited to address the psychological needs of men, both gay and straight.  By dyadically co-creating new, positive experiences and deeply processing adaptive emotions in the context of a supportive, authentic, emotionally engaged relationship, men can recover and discover themselves.  For straight men, this experience opens the door to possibilities of relating to themselves and others with authenticity and compassion.  For gay men, this experience goes one step further by undoing the shame of internalized homophobia and allowing their True Selves to be seen, affirmed, and integrated.

Using extensive videotape from their clinical work, the presenters will illustrate specific ways that AEDP can be used to address the therapeutic needs of men that so often center on shame and aloneness.  Through the lens of AEDP theory and technique, we will first examine the ways that AEDP’s focus on healing attachment trauma provides a framework for work with gay men.  Then, we will explore the paradoxical ways in which gay male therapists, grounded in the AEDP therapeutic stance, seem to offer unique opportunities for healing the psychological wounds of their straight male clients.

In Feeling Like a Man you’ll learn:
  • How to recognize and undo shame with male clients
  • How homophobia and heterosexism impact both gay and straight men
  • How to use AEDP – including self-disclosure and dyadic regulation of affect – to undo aloneness and foster secure connection with male clients
  • How to use the AEDP technique of metaprocessing to anchor new emotional and relational experiences to help heal trauma and build resilience.

Meet the Presenter

Benjamin Lipton, LCSW, is a founding faculty member of the AEDP Institute.  He is based in New York City and travels nationally and internationally to teach and present AEDP to a broad range of professional audiences.  Mr. Lipton pioneered the first AEDP Advanced Core Training programs (Bay Area and Seattle) and currently co-leads the AEDP Retreat Style Essential Skills course.  His open and engaging teaching style and skill in translating complex ideas into clear and accessible learning points receives consistent praise from his audiences.  Mr. Lipton is the editor of From Crisis to Crossroads: Gay Men Living with Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities (Haworth Press) and has published many clinical articles and book chapters in psychology and social service journals over the past two decades.  His most recent article, co-authored with Diana Fosha, is on working with attachment in AEDP;  Attachment as a Transformative Process in AEDP: Operationalizing the Intersection of Attachment Theory and Affective Neuroscience.  Mr. Lipton has held adjunct faculty appointments at Columbia Presbyterian Department of Psychiatry and New York University School of Social Work and he serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services.  Previously, he was the Director of Clinical Services at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the world’s first and largest HIV/AIDS service organization.  In addition to his expertise in AEDP, Mr. Lipton has training in EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Somatic Experiencing, Solution-Focused therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Mr. Lipton is committed to the foundational principle of human development that change for the better, at every level of civilization, flourishes when people feel safe enough to be curious and take necessary risks.  He is passionately dedicated to bringing this alive in both his practice and teaching.

Ben Medley LCSW-R has a private practice in the Flatiron District, NYC where he works with individuals and couples and offers supervision to other therapists.  Ben earned his degree with NYU’s clinical social work program and is a Certified AEDP Therapist and AEDP Supervisor in Training as well as a Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist.  Before private practice, he worked as a therapist in the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services outpatient mental health clinic as a member of their LGBTQ treatment unit.  In addition, Ben worked in Greenwich House’s HIV Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Programs and developed a mental health program for college students studying abroad in Florence, Italy.  He has assisted with the NY Immersion Course with Diana Fosha, NY AEDP retreat style ES1 Essential Skills Course with Ben Lipton and Eileen Russell and now the NY ES1 Essential Skills Course with Natasha Prenn.  He has also presented for the NY Ongoing Learning Community and will be co-presenting with Ben Lipton in May 2017 for the NY AEDP workshop series.  Ben just started AEDP Jumpstart-a short-term group supervision to get started showing AEDP videos and applying AEDP theory and techniques in clinical work.  Want to know more?  Ask him! (or check out his website

Date, Time and Location

Date: Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Time:  9:30am – 4:30pm

San Francisco Theological Seminary
Alexander Hall: large hall at
‘the bottom of the hill’,
105 Seminary Drive
San Anselmo, CA, 94960

Fees and Registration

  • Professional • $129
  • Student/Intern • $69

Event Registration


Event Details:


9:30 am - 4:30 pm


San Francisco Theological Seminary - Alexander Hall
105 Seminary Drive Alexander Hall
San Anselmo, CA

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