Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Accelerated Resolution Therapy is an out-of-the-box evidence-based therapy that provides fast and lasting relief in treating effects of trauma, stress, anxiety, phobias and related symptoms in an average of 4 sessions. Clinicians and patients frequently report seeing outstanding results with this therapy.

Colonel Wendi Waits is Clinical Associate Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Director for Behavioral Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. She writes about Accelerated Resolution Therapy including case vignettes in this article for Psychiatric Times. In that article she summarizes the clinical and practical benefits of Accelerated Resolution Therapy.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (say “A-R-T”) is an innovative exposure-based treatment derived from EMDR, but it has a tighter protocol, is more directive, is more procedural and easier to learn in a three day training. It is delivered in just one to five sessions and requires no homework or need to learn special skills. ART is reported to be effective, efficient, easy on patients, and easy on clinicians.

ART was developed in 2008 by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Laney Rosenzweig. Laney first used the ART technique successfully to treat a client with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) during a one-hour session. Since then, the procedure has been refined to help individuals overcome issues related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical and sexual abuse, common workplace anxiety, depression, eating disorders, unresolved complicated grief, chronic pain, and phobias.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy has been clinically demonstrated to resolve PTSD symptoms in an average of four sessions, and often in one session. No other current therapy has shown this sort of dramatic result. ART is currently being used in four US Army hospitals, with more therapists at other military hospitals undergoing training. Significantly, ART has recently been recognized as an “evidence-based practice” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Federal government.

Utilizes Existing Therapies

The ART protocol is a body-based, theoretically grounded modality using cognitive behavioral and experiential therapies along with psychodynamic psychotherapy. ART involves imaginal and in-vitro exposure through visualization, relaxation techniques, combined with re-scripting of traumatic imagery using techniques similar to those used in cognitive therapies for insomnia and nightmares (Imagery Rehearsal Therapy). This process facilitates the separation (elimination) of physiological sensations associated with recall of traumatic experiences. These are the key components as described by Kevin Kip (2014).

  1. A narrative component
  2. In-vivo and/or imaginal exposure
  3. A cognitive restructuring component
  4. Relaxation/stress modulation techniques

Basic Benefits

The overarching benefit is that the ART protocol works quickly. This is one of the main perks of ART as results can typically be obtained in only one to five sessions. In most cases, this is over a brief period of just two weeks. Here are additional benefits of the protocol:

  • Brief treatment means a single clinician can work with a patient throughout every phase of treatment.
  • The patient is in control of the procedure throughout the session. The clinician acts as a resource and guide to assist the patient through the treatment process.
  • Patients frequently report feeling comfortable and relaxed during their sessions.
  • Discussion of specific memories is not required; the patient can choose whether or not to share traumatic scenes and experiences.
  • The procedure is exceptionally interactive and directed collaboratively by both the patient and the clinician.
  • Clients do not focus on traumatic episodes between their treatment sessions.
  • No homework is required.
  • The procedure is effective with or without medications.
  • It can be used along with other types of medical treatments and therapies.
  • The completion rate for ART considerably greater than that of previously accepted therapies used in treating PTSD.
  • The procedure utilizes existing therapies. These include cognitive behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, exposure therapy, imagery re-scripting, guided therapy and brief psychodynamic therapy.
  • Accelerated Resolution Therapy is very specific and the approach is more direct, compared to other types of therapies.
  • Results are faster for treating PTSD symptoms for individuals who have suffered from symptoms for many years.

Review of Accelerated Resolution Therapy

University of South Florida 2015 Study

Kevin Kip, PhD, FAHA, professor and executive director for the Research Center at the USF College of Nursing, led the team of scientists and clinicians who conducted the first randomized controlled trial of ART in a military population. ART is delivered in two to five one-hour sessions, requires no homework, and no written or verbal recall of the traumatic experience.

Laney Rosenzweig TEDxSpringfield

Laney Rosenzweig, MS, LMFT is the founder of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and the CEO of Rosenzweig Center for Rapid Recovery (RCRR). She has been in the mental health field since 1989. Laney developed ART over seven years ago and has trained over 500 therapists as well as military clinicians in the US and overseas.

It Just Works!

You can change how you feel about yourself, gain control over your symptoms, and live with a greater sense of ease in 3 to 5 sessions of ART. In one session, you will know if this therapy can help you, and it's very likely that it will. This is a new therapy, similar to EMDR. It is now used by the Veteran's Administration to treat PTSD in about 4 sessions. Studies show this therapy can transform negative emotions, significantly reduce or eliminate anxiety, irritability, compulsive behaviors, and enhance confidence and self-awareness. It is as remarkable as it sounds. I am excited to be the first clinician in Oregon and Washington to be certified in this emerging therapy, Accelerated Resolution Therapy. ART is recognized as an evidence based practice by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Federal government. This is quote from a recent client in Portland, after 3 sessions:

"It's kind of amazing how different I the negative emotional connection between feelings and food just kind of disappeared. Depression feels much better too. I'm really astonished at how big a difference it made so quickly."

About Dave Ebaugh, LCSW

Dave earned his Master’s degree at University of California, Berkeley, in 1990. After graduation, he moved to Portland where he worked as a clinical social worker in a variety of settings, including the inpatient substance abuse program at Providence and the acute psychiatric program at Cedar Hills Hospital. He specializes in treatment of trauma-related disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, phobias, compulsive behaviors, and problems related to shame and guilt.