Experiencing a traumatic event can have a significantly negative effect on mental health, especially if a person perceives the event to be central to their life. A recent study found that when people experienced traumatic events as being more central to their lives, they were more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and their psychological well-being was reduced. This was especially true among individuals who had experienced sexual assault.
When a person develops PTSD as a result of a traumatic experience, they are likely to benefit from professional treatment to help them overcome their symptoms. After all, PTSD involves numerous unpleasant symptoms, including flashbacks of the traumatic event, distressing thoughts related to the event, avoidance of thoughts and feelings linked to the event, a strong startle reflex, constantly feeling on edge or anxious, having upsetting dreams about the event, experiencing difficulty sleeping, and isolating oneself from others.
Individuals living with PTSD may also have outbursts of anger, struggle to experience positive emotions, and develop negative thoughts about themselves and the world around them. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available that can alleviate these symptoms and improve functioning for people who have been exposed to trauma. One such treatment modality is Accelerated Resolution Therapy.
What is Accelerated Resolution Therapy?
Accelerated Resolution Therapy helps clients to process and resolve traumatic memories with the guidance of a therapist, using techniques similar to those utilized in EMDR. During a therapy session, a client visualizes a traumatic event, while the therapist helps the client to process the physical sensations associated with the event. While visualizing the event, the therapist also helps the client to use rapid eye movements.
After visualizing the traumatic event, the client then engages in a rescripting process, in which they replace the negative images surrounding the event with more positive images. This allows the client to change their traumatic memory by adding positive material to the memory.
Benefits of Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Accelerated Resolution Therapy can be an effective treatment for patients living with trauma. Studies have shown that the treatment modality reduces trauma-related guilt, PTSD symptoms, depression, and anxiety. Negative reactions to this form of therapy are rare and not serious, and the benefits have been found to be long-lasting.
Compared to other approaches like EMDR, Accelerated Resolution Therapy may help patients to recover in fewer sessions. Some patients have shown a resolution of trauma symptoms after just one session.
Finally, Accelerated Resolution Therapy gives patients the power to decide whether to narrate and share details of their trauma with the therapist. Patients can visualize the trauma without speaking aloud about the event’s details, which may make them more comfortable with the treatment process.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy has been found to be safe and effective, but it is a newly established treatment, meaning that compared to other trauma treatments, there is less research supporting its benefits. In addition, limited long-term data is available to establish the effects of Accelerated Resolution Therapy years down the road. Established modalities like EMDR have been well researched, and plenty of long-term data supports their benefits.
Some patients may prefer a well-established trauma treatment compared to Accelerated Resolution Therapy. When seeking treatment, this modality can be offered as one option among the other available options. A benefit of Accelerated Resolution Therapy is that it has been found to be effective, at least over the short-term, and it tends to produce results more quickly than methods like EMDR. On the other hand, first-line treatments like EMDR may require more time, but there are plenty of studies with long-term follow-up showing that they are beneficial.
Ultimately, patients will decide with their therapist and treatment team which type of therapy is the best fit for their needs. Among all the available options for treating trauma, Accelerated Resolution Therapy has been found to be effective, and it tends to produce fast results so that patients can find relief from their trauma. Your therapist can help you to determine if this form of therapy is suitable for you.