Trauma impacts and alters the brain. The brain scans of people who have been traumatized look different from a non-traumatized brain. The parts of the brain, limbic system and prefrontal cortex that are responsible for emotional regulation, memory, concentration, and motivation, are impacted. Thus, a traumatized person may have trouble thinking, speaking, and regulating their emotions. Trauma is considered a leading cause for development of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, substance abuse, physical health problems, and many other concerns.
Most people define trauma as physical and sexual abuse, war, or terrorism acts. However, smaller traumas such as abandonment, rejection, neglect, harsh criticism, bullying, loss of a relationship due to a breakup, divorce, illness, or death are not recognized as trauma. Even happy events such as marriage or birth of a child may contain aspects of a loss. These events can have very powerful impact on how we conduct our life, relationships, and how we feel and what we learned to believe about ourselves and others.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (A.R.T.) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are well established therapies that are known to resolve and eliminate trauma. EMDR and A.R.T. seem to mimic the natural healing processes of a REM sleep or dreaming responsible for memory reprocessing and consolidation. A.R.T. and EMDR taps into these healting processes via eye movements and other bi-lateral stimulation, thus accelerating the healing. Post-treatment studies show that once a traumatic event is fully processed, no distress is left. This phenomenon is sustained over time. Also, the post-treatment brain scans (EMDR specific) show that the brain has returned to its normal functioning – the limbic system has quieted down and the pre-frontal cortex has been reactivated.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is considered a leading approach for alleviating trauma related distress. Beside eye movements, other bi-later stimulation may be used to process the trauma such as tactile (tapper, tapping by hand) and auditory (beeps, tones, or music). EMDR was discovered by Francine Shapiro in 1987 when she realized that certain eye movements decrease negative emotions. The process entails a person thinking about a traumatic memory while experiencing a distraction via bi-lateral stimulation. This approach too reprograms how the distressing memories are stored in the brain. In addition, EMDR works more directly with self-limiting negative beliefs (or so called negative cognitions) by reprocessing the underlying sources of these beliefs thus reframing them. EMDR is well researched. Since 1987 over 20 studies have been conducted with positive outcomes. I am a Certified EMDR Therapist. More info: www.emdria.org
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (A.R.T.) is a cutting edge new generation eye movement therapy. A.R.T. was developed by Laney Rosenzweig, LMFT in 2008. A.R.T. is like EMDR, but with greater focus on visual and somatic memory reprocessing and desensitization as well as image replacement and metaphoric interventions. Some clients find A.R.T. to be more gentle and less triggering compared to EMDR. In A.R.T. clients do not have to share any detail about their trauma to benefit. A.R.T. combines long respected, sound treatment practices with safe and effective methods validated by current scientific research studies conducted by the University of South Florida. In 2015 A.R.T. was officially recognized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to be an effective evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD, depression, stress, and personal resilience. A.R.T. was also classified as a promising therapy for symptoms of phobia, panic, anxiety, sleep and wake disorders, disruptive and antisocial behaviors, general functioning and well-being. More info: www.acceleratedresolutiontherapy.com
EMDR & A.R.T. can help with the following problems:
- Sexual and/or physical abuse
- Fears & phobias
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety
- Disturbing memories
- Trauma & PTSD
- Grief & loss
- Substance abuse
- Anger & irritability
- Negative beliefs
- Low self-esteem