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There are many longstanding treatments for addiction and mental health conditions. Even with these proven tools available, the mental health world is always seeking improved approaches. This seeking is what led to accelerated resolution therapy (ART) — a relatively new therapeutic offering that’s shown incredible promise during its short tenure.

Transformations at Mending Fences takes a holistic approach to mental health. In other words, we treat every part of a person, and in many cases, this requires the availability of several therapeutic options. If you’re dealing with addiction or other mental health issues, contact us today to get started on an individualized treatment plan. No matter your situation, help is available.

How Does Accelerated Resolution Therapy Work?

Much like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, the ART approach uses imagery and rapid eye movements. The main focus of accelerated resolution therapy is to reprogram the way the brain stores distressing images and memories. This process strives to remove the ability of these images and memories to trigger strong emotional and physical reactions.

While the first use of accelerated resolution therapy treated obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is now used to deal with a variety of issues. These include addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and even self-esteem problems. Research has shown many issues resolved in less than five sessions. The ART approach accomplishes this via two primary tools:

  • Memory reconsolidation: When someone recalls an emotionally based memory, their brain “unfixes” the memory and makes it malleable. This is known as memory reconsolidation. By taking advantage of the period after recall, a person can create positive imagery to associate with distressing images.
  • Smooth-pursuit eye movements: When an individual slowly moves their eyes from side to side, they’re engaged in smooth-pursuit eye movements. This basic exercise relaxes the brain so it’s easier to focus on the ART process. The therapist accomplishes this movement by having the client follow their finger.

These are the basic components of accelerated resolution therapy, but the underlying mechanisms are much more complex. That’s because the ART process utilizes a variety of existing therapies to accomplish its goals. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques, guided imagery, imaginal exposure, and even a narrative component.

While most patients will see positive results within four sessions, some see significant change after only one session. Research and case studies have shown that the benefits and positive imagery linked to a memory persist for at least 18 months. It’s likely that these outcomes last even longer, but long-term research into the effects is still ongoing.

What Are the Benefits of ART?

The quick results achieved during sessions are the chief benefit of accelerated resolution therapy. Of course, there are other approaches that provide quick results as well. For instance, equine-assisted psychotherapy has been shown to offer results in as little as three weeks. Fortunately for those interested in the ART approach, there are many other benefits:

  • The patient maintains control during sessions while the therapist acts as a guide
  • Traumatic events are not focused on outside of therapy
  • Sessions take place in relaxed and comfortable settings
  • Accelerated resolution therapy can be used in combination with medication
  • Short treatment regimens mean a higher completion rate and the ability to work with a single clinician
  • The utilization of existing therapies offers the benefits of longstanding approaches
  • ART is direct and focuses on specific issues

While many approaches offer a variety of benefits, accelerated resolution therapy still stands out. Of course, some of these advantages can be garnered from separate approaches. So, it’s important to look at all your options. For instance, you’ve no doubt heard of EMDR if you’re considering the ART approach.

Recognizing the differences between these two therapies is vital for understanding your treatment options. Regardless of which will work best for your unique situation, though, Transformations at Mending Fences offers both. If you have questions not answered by the following sections, feel free to contact us today.

ART vs. EMDR

There are many similarities between EMDR and accelerated resolution therapy. Most importantly, SAMHSA considers both to be evidence-based therapies. This is particularly impressive for the ART approach, considering how quickly results are seen. Even with such similarities, though, there are several differences between EMDR and the ART approach.

Image Processing

Voluntary imagery replacement (VIR) is a major component of accelerated resolution therapy. Its goal is to change the recall of an image from negative to positive. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing instead attempts to desensitize a client cognitively from their trauma.

Sensation Processing

EMDR has a larger focus on physiological sensations than accelerated resolution therapy. In fact, ART therapists use a set of eye movements to help clients remove any physiological sensations they may have during therapy.

Standardization

During EMDR therapy, therapists will change the number of eye movements their client must complete. Conversely, the ART approach utilizes a fixed number of eye movements (40) while guiding their client through therapy.

Other Differences

Image processing, sensation processing, and standardization are the three main differences between accelerated resolution therapy and EMDR. There are other differences between the two, however, that deserve mention. These include:

  • Ongoing assessment of imagery and sensations during ART
  • Clients direct the process of event re-envisioning during ART
  • ART therapists are directive, while free association takes place during EMDR
  • ART utilizes procedural orientation, while EMDR is content-oriented
  • EMDR typically takes 6-12 sessions; ART may take five or less

You should not construe any of these differences to indicate that one approach is better than another. Accelerated resolution therapy no doubt stands out in many ways, but everyone has different needs. What works for you is something you should discuss with a certified professional.

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Is Accelerated Resolution Therapy Enough?

Discussing a mental health treatment that can offer results in as little as one session is exciting. When doing so, however, it’s important to be realistic. Even the most effective therapies aren’t right for everyone. And even for those who can benefit from accelerated resolution therapy, the most useful treatment plan may include additional approaches.

This is why we offer each of the following mental health therapies at Mending Fences:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Equine-assisted psychotherapy
  • Medical detoxification
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Trauma groups
  • Adventure therapy

Offering an array of approaches can improve other treatment options — including those as beneficial as accelerated resolution therapy. While this is particularly the case for individuals dealing with dual diagnoses, the fact is that anyone can benefit from multiple treatment options. The primary goal is to help individuals get their lives back on track.

Whether this takes one type of therapy or many, a customized therapeutic plan is the best approach.

Get Started With Accelerated Resolution Therapy Now

It seems there are always new alternative and fad mental health treatments emerging. Fortunately, accelerated resolution therapy doesn’t fall into this category. While the idea of an approach showing results in as little as one session may seem outlandish, ART is an accepted, legitimate, and evidence-based therapy. That makes it a powerful tool for mental health, and it’s why Transformations at Mending Fences offers this approach to our clients. The important thing to remember is that no two people are the same. While accelerated resolution therapy may be appropriate for some, alternative approaches may better suit others. Fortunately, Mending Fences offers an array of treatment options.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you get your life back.