Have you always wanted to try therapy, but weren’t sure what you would talk about? Maybe you felt highly motivated to change, but didn’t know how you would open up to someone new? The truth is, many people want to go to counseling to better their lives, but feel it is too hard to talk to someone new about the challenging things they’ve been through. Or someone may worry about “burdening” another person with the painful experiences they’ve had. Thankfully, our therapists are now able to offer a great solution.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy or ART for short, is an innovative approach that aims to help people quickly tackle difficult problems, all without ever having to share that problem with the therapist. This approach utilizes rapid eye movements, much like EMDR, to help a person bypass their logical “front” brain and get to healing the emotional “back” brain.
Emotions are tricky, as they sometimes do not get the message from the brain that an experience has ended. Any time the memory is recalled, the old emotions trigger a physiological response in the body, recreating how the event felt the first time. Memories can be brought up by a variety of triggers such as smells, certain sounds, topics of conversations, or similar events. Although you may be able to tell yourself logically that you shouldn’t be reacting this way because the event has passed, your emotions are simply not getting the message.
By utilizing eye movements, your brain can show itself the problem using imagery. Your ART therapist will skillfully guide you through the process of utilizing imagery to see the problem, identify the sensations the old emotions are causing, and healing those sensations for good. Those that have been through an ART session typically report relief within the first session. This approach is highly targeted and directive to help a person heal those painful old emotions and access solutions from their own brain.
Even if you are already in therapy and are utilizing other techniques, but you feel stuck on something, you now have the option to participate in ART, all while seeing your regular therapist. ART pairs well with other therapies since you do not have to share the memory with your ART therapist, and it is short-term. You are welcome to process your stuck point through ART and continue your treatment goals with your original therapist.
Written by Michelle Robertson, LCMHC