What is Accelerated Resolution Therapy?
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy shown to achieve benefits more rapidly than other psychotherapies.
It used to be thought that memories were fixed and could not be changed. We now know that every time we recall a memory, there are slight variations. This, in combination with something called the reconsolidation window, a period of time during which memories can be deliberately changed, provide us with the opportunity to replace the distressing reactions you have to a memory with positive ones before you store it back in your brain.
Using a combination of eye movements (similar to the eye movements experienced while dreaming) and voluntary image replacement, the way the negative images are stored in the brain is changed. This results in difficult experiences no longer triggering strong emotions and/or physical reactions, some of which may be new or have been present for many years.
Is It Hypnosis?
ART is not hypnosis and you are in control of the session at all times. It can best be thought of as a type of exposure therapy. You are exposing yourself to the distressing memory by replaying it in your mind.
You do not have to go into details about the problem which many people find less distressing than other therapies. I will provide you with direction and guide you through the steps but you will be doing much of the work inside your head.
What is Voluntary Image Replacement?
ART uses a combination of therapeutic interventions including deep breathing, grounding techniques, mindfulness and positive visualization to decrease negative emotions in combination with Voluntary Image Replacement. Voluntary Image Replacement is a technique in which you choose to replace the distressing images with positive ones and when you later think about the issue, it is the positive images you recall. With Voluntary Image Replacement, you will still remember the facts of the incident but will forget the most distressing details.
How Does It Work?
ART takes an issue or problem and puts it into a scene that is visualized while eye movements are applied. This allows for distressing emotions or sensations to be elicited that likely will be changed during the therapy process. I will ask you to notice and describe the physical sensations you are experiencing and we will also use eye movements to process those. The idea is that by processing those sensations they can disappear and positive sensations are enhanced.
You will not forget the issue or lose the memory however; you can eliminate the negative emotional reactions you were experiencing in response to the memory.
Who Can ART Help?
ART is effective with both children and adults and produces quick, effective and safe results. People struggling with abuse, anxiety, grief, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, performance anxiety, phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and trauma can experience benefits from ART.
To do ART you need to be able to move your eyes, hold onto a thought and be motivated to get better.
How Many Sessions Will I Need?
Unlike other psychotherapies, ART has been shown to produce rapid benefits. Typically, one to five sessions are needed per issue.
An initial ART session is approximately 90 minutes, subsequent sessions are generally 60 minutes.
Rosenzweig, L. (2016). Accelerated Resolution Therapy The ART of Rapid Recovery. Rosenzweig Centre for Rapid Recovery.
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