Accelerated Resolution Therapy
The history of therapy is built around the idea of talking through our hurts and emotional baggage in the hopes that we will gain new insight, experience catharsis, or get help in reframing our problems so we feel better about them. Lots of people are helped and feel supported through talk therapy but sometimes it is simply not enough to help us feel better. In fact, sometimes talk therapy can cause us to feel worse as we dredge up painful memories that leave us feeling exhausted but give us no relief. This happens when we only access the part of the brain that tells the story of what is causing us pain without engaging the part of the brain that carries all the emotions and bodily sensations that are a result of the story.
Confused yet? Here is a simplified version of how the brain stores trauma. The left side of your brain is where your logical thinking process happens. It problem solves and keeps the facts of the events of your life. Think….fact without emotion. The right side of your brain is your creative mind and that is where images, feelings and sensations are stored. So when you remember a painful event, your left brain recalls the facts and your right brain engages the emotions and sensations that come along with those facts.
Sometimes you know when you recall a painful memory you are going to experience strong emotions like fear, anger, guilt or sadness. Here is an example. You were attacked by a vicious dog and now you are afraid of all dogs. You may even have an irrational fear of being outside because a dog may attack you again. This fear can create panic every time you leave your house. You know where it comes from but you can’t stop feeling the panic even though the dog attack is unlikely to ever happen again. This is because your left brain knows that logically you are safe but your right brain has not gotten the memo and it signals all the alarms to protect you even though there is no real threat.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy will engage both sides of your brain to process those memories, feelings and sensations so your left brain can communicate to your right brain that you are safe and your panic and anxiety leave. ART is a cutting edge treatment that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with modern technology to achieve maximum results within the shortest period of time. It can help people who suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma, and more.
Pretty cool stuff right?
Here is another example. Let’s say you are in a relationship where you often get angry and escalate fights with your partner. You know you need to get a handle on your anger but rage hits you before you even see it coming. Your therapist does ART with you and you realize you had an experience in your childhood where you felt powerless to protect yourself. You had no idea the two were connected but your right brain uses anger to protect you when you feel threatened so you never feel powerless again. You process through that experience with ART and your rage issues go away.
Both of those examples are real-life experiences where ART has helped someone get better quickly without months of talking through issues. The problem with traditional therapy is that it often requires a long and tedious process before any results happen. Sometimes you just need results immediately! In fact, over 80% of patients who have tried ART have reported significant improvement after just one session.
ART v. EMDR
Some of you have heard of or done EMDR and you may be wondering how it is different from ART. Both therapies use techniques to engage both sides of the brain and both are scientifically valid forms of trauma therapy. The most important difference for me as a therapist is EMDR allows the client to have more control of their desensitization process which can leave clients stuck in distressing memories and sensations. In ART, the therapist is more direct and moves the client to more positive feelings and sensations more quickly. There is a place for both techniques in treating mental health but I prefer ART for its simplicity and efficiency.
Interested in ART?
We can help! If you’re interested in Accelerated Resolution Therapy as a treatment method, give us a call! We have several counselors specially trained in this new cutting-edge treatment. If you questions about it, feel free to reach out to our team or I would love to hear from you in the comments below!