Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that was developed in 2008 by a licensed therapist Laney Rosenzweig, MS, LMFT. Laney was initially trained to conduct Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy treatment created by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1995 to alleviate problems created by traumatic memories. EMDR treatment is conducted in 8 phases and usually takes several sessions. It is considered an effective treatment for trauma and other mental health conditions. Over the years EMDR has been well researched and has gained credibility and popularity within the mental health community.
After years of treating clients with EMDR, therapist Laney Rosenzweig identified eye movements and a treatment process that differed from EMDR which proved to be highly effective, and had the added value of a shortened treatment time. The benefit of ART is clients do not need to think about, feel, and discuss their problem nor relive their past trauma in depth during a series of sessions in order to reap the benefits of treatment.
Usually, ART clients experience relief and positive change after one session. This gives clients hope. It provides momentum for them to further pursue either traditional treatment (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, “talk therapy”) with enhanced effectiveness, or to continue with ART to address additional underlying issues or additional problems.
Laney Rosenzweig has created many unique, typed scripts for ART therapists to use when treating clients with various conditions. These scripts follow treatment protocols that help clients view and change memories that have caused them to feel stuck and have negatively impacted their bodies and lives. Laney continues to create scripts (typed outlines for ART trained therapists) to use with clients to treat various mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), grief, and trauma).
Using script material/and a specific treatment process ART therapists guide clients to use back and forth eye movements. Clients get in touch with how their body feels and what their brain is revealing about old images/bad memories. Clients briefly see and then replace what has been causing them to relive or feel pain from the past with new images. Often it is the client’s own brain that chooses the new images and replaces the old problematic images.
The facts of the past and the reality of what happened obviously does not change. However, clients alter their personal narrative about events, memories and perceptions through ART. Science and experience reveal that memories are not fixed. They naturally get altered and sometimes even erase over time. ART therapy helps clients gain control over their own thoughts, memories, feelings, and how their body has been responding over time to their heavy burden of stress and negative memories. Research on how the brain is impacted by trauma, stores memories, and heals from past hurts is ongoing. Accelerated Resolution Therapy encourages clients to let their brains “do the work” in a safe, supportive therapeutic environment. Clients are often pleasantly surprised at the connections and insights they gain from ART and the new way they remember the past and feel after treatment.
New discoveries of how to integrate Accelerated Resolution Therapy alongside other treatments continue to emerge. For instance, ART helps individuals overcome past trauma, and this in turn can increase the effectiveness and expedite the progress made during couples counseling.
Faith Franz is Master ART Certified.