PLAINVILLE – Clinicians joined the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Plainville for a workshop training session hosted by ART International Training and Research in a relatively new psychotherapy technique intended to treat clients struggling with trauma and anxiety .
The technique, called accelerated resolution therapy, was developed in 2008 by Laney Rosenzweig, a West Hartford-based licensed marriage and family therapist. ART International Training and Research is a non-profit organization that seeks to support training, research and education on Accelerated Resolution Therapy and its accessibility for people with trauma. The group is chaired by Chris Sullivan, founder of Outback Steakhouse.
“It works for anxiety, OCD, depression and PTSD,” Laurel Wiers, a workshop trainer and licensed marriage and family therapist who has used the technique for five years, said Friday. “It’s essentially eye movement therapy and uses gentle pursuit eye movements. A therapist sits and puts their hand in front of the client’s face and moves their eyes back and forth. What this does is is that it changes the way the brain stores distressing images and feelings.
When individuals are confronted with things that would previously trigger them, therapy aims to eliminate the emotional and physical responses to those triggers. A similar therapy technique is called EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), however, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, Wiers said, is a more direct technique that provides clients with faster relief and resolution.
“Memories that are stored in the brain aren’t frozen like we once thought,” Wiers said. “You don’t remember something, put it away and every time you remember, that same memory comes back. Each time you recall a memory, it is open to change. Therefore, when we recall a traumatic memory, what we are doing is changing the way it is remembered.
The trainer said that even if a client would recall the account of a traumatic incident, they would lose distressing images and sensations associated with memory and replace them with positive images and sensations through the “voluntary image replacement process “.
Every weekend, technique workshops are held across the country. The Plainville workshop will last a total of three days and after that, participants will be certified to use the therapy.
“You must be a qualified therapist to use ART (accelerated resolution therapy). So whatever context you’re going to find a therapist working in, if they’ve decided to use the tool, they can use it in their practice as well,” the trainer said.
Three participants were present for the Friday workshop, Alison Kinsey, Kim Vohden and Gianna Giannini.
Vohden said she was interested in the technique because, as a school psychologist, she knows the pandemic has been difficult for many families.
“I’m excited to bring it back to use with my students to help them feel better so they can be more engaged in their education and process all that’s happened in their lives,” he said. she declared.
Giannini said she worked in a hospital as well as a private practice in Rhode Island and traveled for the studio.
“What really piqued my interest was being able to give back to the first responder community because I meet a lot of clients like that and you can only help them so much,” she said. “That can help take this to the next level.”
Waiting lists are unmanageable in community health and private practice, said Kinsey, a workshop participant and community mental health outpatient clinician.
“People can’t see a therapist and we’re in crisis,” she said. “I think having something that works quickly is part of my attraction to it.”
Workshop participants complete a three-day basic training and can also participate in advanced courses after registering 30 sessions with the basic training.
Wiers said clients treated with ART could see improvements in their lives as early as one to three sessions.