What to Expect in Accelerated Resolution Therapy: How it Works

Accelerated Resolution Therapy is a type of treatment that combines principles from many different types of psychotherapy. It aids in the management of the effects of psychological stressors, such as the treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). To recondition stressful memories, caregivers use techniques such as image prescription and rapid eye movement.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is among the treatment modalities that the Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) requires.

EMDR is the first choice of therapy for people dealing with trauma memories such as PTSD, according to the World Health Organization.

What is EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)?

EMDR therapy is a technique used by caregivers to treat mental illness. It entails shaking the eyes in a certain way while processing traumatic memories. We use EMDR at intensive therapy retreats to help you recover from distressing life experiences and trauma. In comparison to other types of therapy, it is relatively new.

How Effective is EMDR

EMDR therapy has proven its effectiveness in treating mental health faster than other treatments since its discovery in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro and subsequent clinical trials beginning in 1989.

However, medical experts are unsure how and why this method works. They believe it is true because recalling traumatic events is less emotionally upsetting when you are not paying full attention to them. Bilateral stimulation (BLS) is used in EMDR to give you something to focus on while you access painful memories.

This reduces the intensity of the memory without making it psychologically overwhelming.

EMDR versus Other Therapies

Unlike other types of therapy, EMDR does not require you to discuss the upsetting issue. You are also not required to complete a questionnaire in between sessions. Instead of focusing on changing the painful event’s behaviors, thoughts, or emotions, it allows your brain to heal naturally.

The EMDR therapy design module assists you in resolving traumatic memories that your brain may not have processed. This treatment produces positive results in many people in fewer sessions than other types of psychotherapy.

How Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Affects the Brain

Your brain has natural recovery mechanisms for traumatic events and memories. Communication occurs between three primary sections of the brain during the process. Your amygdala serves as an alarm system for potentially stressful events. The hippocampus aids in learning and remembering danger and safety. Third, the prefrontal cortex contributes to emotions and behavior can be controlled and analyzed.

Your natural freeze, flight, or fight instincts are common responses to stress. The distress you may have felt during or after a traumatic event can sometimes linger. Unsettling thoughts, emotions, and images can transport you back to the exact moment. Even after you’ve resolved the problem, your brain’s struggle to fight the experience remains.

Who Benefits from EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is beneficial to adults and kids with the following issues.

  • Phobias, anxiety, and panic attacks
  • Going through violence and abuse
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Bipolar disorders and depression
  • Chronic medical issues
  • Sleep disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Sexual assault
  • Grief
  • Performance anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD
  • Violence and abuse

Adaptive information processing (AIP)

The adaptive information processing model and EMDR therapy interact to determine how the brain stores memories. According to Francine Shapiro’s theory, the brain stores normal and traumatic memories differently.

During routine events, your brain stores your memories smoothly. It also connects them to a network so that they can connect to other things in your memory. When an upsetting event occurs, your brain may become disconnected from your experience and what it translates into language.

Often, the brain stores trauma memories in a way that prevents them from healing naturally. As a result, your brain fails to recognize the end of a dangerous situation. Fresh, new experiences can connect with them, reinforcing the traumatic experience. It causes mental harm by destroying the link between your memories and senses.

The mind is more sensitive to things that happen during traumatic events than the body is to pain from an injury. Such a reaction is usually limited to suppressed memories and recallable events. Your mind reacts similarly to how you learn from harmful situations by suppressing them in order to avoid accessing them due to their upsetting nature. Suppression of such trauma is not permanent, which means it can still cause negative reactions.

How EMDR Therapy Works

You may need to attend multiple sessions of EMDR therapy in eight phases. They include:

  • History and treatment planning entails reviewing your symptoms and medical history with your caregiver in order for them to determine your position in the treatment process. The phase also includes a brief discussion about your trauma in order to identify memories that need to be addressed.
  • EMDR therapy preparation includes lessons on various techniques to help you cope with and manage psychological and emotional stress. It also includes resourcing, which includes controlling unpleasant feelings that may arise during treatment. Mindfulness and deep breathing exercises are two stress management techniques you could learn.
  • The third phase of EMDR therapy is assessment, which involves focusing on specific aspects of your memories. Disturbing self-beliefs, painful emotions, physical sensations, and intrusive thoughts or images are all examples.
  • Desensitization necessitates concentrating on negative images, thoughts, or memories. We at the Intensive Therapy Retreat will guide you through bilateral stimulation in a therapeutic manner. It could consist of blinking lights, audio tones, tapping, or specific eye movements. You must allow your mind to wander and not dwell on random feelings or thoughts.
  • Positive images or self-beliefs are installed to replace previous negative ones. You may need to reinforce this belief with another session of bilateral stimulation (BLS).
  • Your therapist will conduct a body scan to see if your targeted memory causes any unpleasant sensations or physical pain. If this is the case, you may need to have another BLS session.
  • The therapist evaluates your progress and recommends relaxation techniques at the end. These can assist you in maintaining the benefits of the therapy.
  • Your final accelerated resolution therapy session begins with a re-evaluation. Your therapist will inquire about previous sessions’ memories and feelings. If they continue to bother you, you may need to undergo target therapy. Otherwise, they may advise moving on to new goals.

Want To Learn More About EMDR Therapy?

Visit Intensive Therapy Retreats at our Montreal, Quebec, Canada office for more information on how Accelerated Resolution Therapy works. You can call us today to set up an appointment.