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Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Photo by Melanie Kreutz / Unsplash

I took a step outside my comfort zone a few weekends ago in June 2023, to attend an Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) training. I had had conversations with colleagues that already incorporated this therapy treatment into their practice and spoke of its benefits. However, I still had reservations and skepticism about a model that used eye movements as one of its core interventions. It was outside of my clinician education and training and on a gut level, it felt too mystical and….weird.

ART is a therapy model developed in 2008 by Lainey Rosenzweig. It is an evidence-based approach to therapy; originally used to work on post trauma stress symptoms. However, I learned ART is effective in treating additional mental problems such as: panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression and relationship issues. After going through the training, not only did I love how any different mental health issues it was effective in treating; but I also loved being able to gain additional tools to offer my clients. As a clinician, I am always asking myself, “What is the best model of therapy for this particular client? What model gives them effective tools and a helpful lens to look at their problems through.”

In an ART session, there is a “step-by-step” protocol where the therapist helps guide a client through their mental health problems while utilizing eye movements to help process problematic images or sensations/emotions, desensitize and replace them with positive images and sensations. The eye movements utilized in ART have been shown in research to be connected to the relaxation response in the brain and help calm down the Sympathetic Nervous System. In addition, ART utilizes Gestalt techniques and metaphors to help clients connect better to their emotions and the parts of themselves where the problematic event or emotions reside.

While going through the training myself, both receiving and practicing providing ART, I was surprised at the effectiveness of the eye movements. They helped reveal connections my brain made that I was unaware of. The eye movements were also surprisingly effective in calming anxious sensations (i.e. a pit in my stomach or clench of my jaw) in my practicum experience. I am now looking forward to incorporating Accelerated Resolution Therapy into my practice and passing on these same tools to my clients. I now encourage anyone who was as skeptical as I was to look at the founder’s TedTalk and research showing the effectiveness of ART on their website www.artworksnow.combefore dismissing a tool that could help bring healing into their life.