Bilateral Stimulation Through Accelerated Resolution Therapy

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Accelerated resolution therapy (ART) works by allowing an individual to successfully process an event that has gotten “stuck” in the part of the brain responsible for experiencing events as they are happening. In processing the event, ART does not change the facts or memories but instead allows the individual to associate healthier emotions or feelings with the traumatic event to reduce the associated dysregulation. When someone is experiencing PTSD or trauma symptoms, normal processing does not happen. This leads to traumatic memories feeling as though they are happening now.

Accelerated resolution therapy works through a series of different processes:
  • The therapist will assist in safely guiding the individual to go through the event in their mind’s eye. This typically results in the mind and body becoming activated. Our bodies will physically experience this distress, which is referred to as the somatic experience.
  • We then assist the individual in moving the physical feeling around using metaphor or analogy, with simultaneous bilateral brain stimulation (BLS). BLS naturally encourages our brains to go into “rest and relax” mode. This makes experiencing the trauma less distressful, while also encouraging the patient’s brain to think in very creative and unique ways that can help their bodily somatic experience and reduce that distress.
  • Once we have gone through the event a few times and have gotten the patient’s body to feel less activated physically, we then go into a “director’s scene.” This exercise is designed to change the details of the event, without changing the core of what really happened, into a more manageable and less distressing version.

This is not meant to erase or replace the original memory of the event – that will always be there, but we are creating a new way to experience it. The tag line for ART therapy is “Keep the knowledge and lose the pain”, and the director’s cut will help with that. Once we have a good director’s scene, we will go through it multiple times, dealing with any interjections or rough spots, and really encourage the body to feel it in a positive way.

Changing Our Perceptions

ART can feel very abstract for some people because it uses a lot of metaphor and analogy to experience your physical feelings. It can also feel strange to change our perceptions of an event that’s already happened. Despite these challenges, ART works well for many people. There are a lot of helpful ways our therapists can implement ART, and it is used widely throughout all stages of treatment. With a variety of different methods at our disposal, including various types of bilateral stimulation, we can use ART with almost any client who has been reliving their trauma (source:

Accelerated Resolution Therapy’s versatility extends to various therapeutic settings, accommodating diverse client needs. Its efficacy spans from acute trauma to long-standing PTSD cases. The method’s adaptability allows therapists to integrate it seamlessly into comprehensive treatment plans, complementing other therapeutic modalities.

Therapists leverage ART’s metaphorical approach, aiding individuals in understanding and reshaping their physical responses. Although initially abstract, this method gradually empowers clients to tangibly alter their emotional associations with traumatic events. This transformation often leads to profound relief and enhanced emotional regulation.

Moreover, Accelerated Resolution Therapy’s progressive nature encourages a proactive stance in therapy. As clients actively participate in reshaping their traumatic experiences, they gain a sense of agency and empowerment in their healing journey. This collaborative approach fosters a deep sense of trust between therapist and client, promoting a safe space for exploration and transformation.

By integrating innovative techniques with empathetic guidance, ART paves the way for profound emotional healing, offering a beacon of hope and liberation to those grappling with the burdens of unresolved trauma.

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