Trauma often plays a role in the development of substance use disorder (SUD). Individuals who engage in risk-taking behaviors like substance misuse have an increased risk of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that may lead to further traumatization or mental health issues. At The Family Place, we have trauma therapy built into the core of our programs. Every client has the opportunity to attend regular therapy sessions meant to provide relief. One of the popular options we offer is accelerated resolution therapy (ART), which shares many similarities with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
What Is Accelerated Resolution Therapy?
According to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, “Accelerated resolution therapy [is] a relatively new treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that was developed by Laney Rosenzweig over a decade ago.” ART is derived from EMDR, another therapeutic method that focuses on treating the emotional effects of trauma.
During a typical ART session, you might do some or all of the following:
- Mediation or mindfulness exercises
- Discuss memories or emotions linked to traumatic events
- Reprocess these events using guided imagery and rapid eye movement
Accelerated resolution therapy is an excellent option for individuals on a shorter treatment track because it takes only a few sessions to see significant positive results. During the admissions process, you will collaborate with the clinicians at The Family Place to determine which therapy method best meets your needs. If you have a history of trauma and the symptoms interfere with SUD treatment, you may benefit from ART.
How Trauma Affects Treatment
Research has shown that a trauma-focused approach to care can enhance the efficacy of other treatments for SUD. According to a study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma-focused training allows clinicians to meet “client needs in a safe, collaborative, and compassionate manner” by doing the following:
- “Preventing treatment practices that retraumatize people with histories of trauma who are seeking help or receiving services”
- “Building on the strengths and resilience of clients in the context of their environments and communities”
- “Endorsing trauma-informed principles”
The clinicians who create and implement your treatment plan will have those principles in mind throughout the rehabilitation process. Our team understands the debilitating effect of trauma on an individual’s mental and physical state. We have built our programs around trauma-focused care.
Trauma and Substance Misuse
You may struggle with co-occurring disorders caused by past events that left you feeling overwhelmed. We want to make it possible for you to take back control of your life by reprocessing those events in a safe and controlled way. Some of the most common forms of trauma we can treat with ART include:
- Witnessing or experiencing a physical assault
- Sexual assault and abuse
- Childhood neglect and abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Witnessing or experiencing trauma related to natural disasters
- Life-threatening or severe illness or injury
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that “[m]ental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.” The Family Place clinicians treat the root cause of that trauma using ART and other effective methods.
What to Expect From Accelerated Resolution Therapy
The intimate community at The Family Place creates an ideal atmosphere for individuals who have suffered from the effects of trauma while struggling with substance misuse. The supportive community provides a space where you can feel comfortable revisiting painful experiences.
You can expect most sessions to include a combination of guided imagery, memory processing, and rapid eye movement exercises designed to target traumatic memories and associated negative emotions. ART can treat the following symptoms and conditions:
- Specific phobias
Most individuals see significant results within a handful of sessions. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience reported that ART “usually takes 1 to 5 one-hour sessions, with an average of 3.7 sessions.”
How Do Rapid Eye Movement Techniques Work?
Accelerated resolution therapy uses some of the same principles seen in EMDR. A central part of ART is rapid eye movement exercises. Bilateral stimulation using rapid eye movement decreases stress and encourages muscle relaxation during a session. The activity can help with reprocessing memories and emotions in a healthy way.
Rapid eye movement in ART usually consists of the following steps:
- The therapist moves their hand in a slow and even back-and-forth motion
- The client keeps their neck and head still while following the movement with their eyes
- During this time, the therapist may ask the client to describe sensations, thoughts, and feelings they experience
This movement engages specific body systems that affect mental and physical reactions.
The Mind and Body Connection
At The Family Place, we strive to provide high-quality, low-stress rehabilitation programs for men, women, and pregnant mothers in crisis. Trauma-informed care is essential to ensuring the mental health of individuals undergoing treatment for SUD. We believe it is critical to understand and use the connection between mind and body to override maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors.
We accomplish this with ART by doing the following:
- Utilizing “smooth motion” rapid eye movement
- Replacing traumatic memories with positive or neutral imagery
- Anchoring positive triggers into the subconscious mind to provide relief from intrusive thoughts and flashbacks
Combining ART and Other Therapeutic Methods
We sometimes use ART alongside other therapeutic methods to create a comprehensive and holistic treatment plan. Rehabilitation programs combine accelerated resolution therapy with other therapies, including:
- Trauma therapy
- Talk therapy
- Family therapy
- Alternative therapies
Accelerated resolution therapy aims to provide relief from mental health and SUD symptoms interfering with the recovery process.
Start your recovery journey today! Reach out to learn more about the therapies and treatment programs we offer at The Family Place. You can recover from the effects of trauma with the help of tools like accelerated resolution therapy. Contact our office to speak with an intake specialist by calling 1-800-501-7796.