Experiencing trauma is scary and can lead to the development of mental health conditions if not processed in a healthy manner. These conditions can further impact the quality of life you have following the traumatic incident.
Choosing a treatment option may seem overwhelming as there are many options. Two of these options are Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. While similar in nature, both these therapies offer unique manners of working with traumatic memories to your benefit.
History & Development of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
ART was initially developed by a licensed family and marriage therapist, Laney Rosenzweig, in 2008. She created this approach through her work with trauma and a variety of approaches, including EMDR.
Once she had standardized the ART approach, it was ratified as an evidence-based approach by the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices in 2015. ART is rooted in elements of previously used evidence-based practices with the intent to optimize the treatment of trauma-related mental conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Principles of Accelerated Resolution Therapy
ART therapy uses a protocol of 40 eye movements in a standardized manner, along with reprocessing the traumatic memory by incorporating more positive thoughts and emotions. This allows for the memory to be recalled without you experiencing the physical stress reactions and negative emotions that are usually linked with the memory.
ART practice is based on the following principles:
ART uses rescripting and reframing to adjust the traumatic memories into more positive understandings of the event. This increases personal resilience and post-traumatic growth. ART sessions are held in a contained manner, and although they are more rapid in nature, the therapist will always ensure the safety of the client during any recalling of traumatic memories.
Principles of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR therapy is an approach that uses a protocol of 8 phases or steps that are facilitated by a trained professional. The aim is to shift the way the traumatic memory has been processed to ensure a more tolerable experience of the memory. This is achieved through the use of coping strategies, bilateral stimulation through eye movements, sounds, or physical sensations such as tapping, and reprocessing the memory with more adaptive information.
EMDR follows the following 6 principles:
When working with a trained therapist, you will provide a full history of your background and work together to the conclusion of the treatment. The length of treatment will depend on your needs; however, EMDR is usually a short-term therapy approach.
Key Differences Between EMDR & ART
While there are many similarities between EMDR and ART, there are some key differences that you might want to take into consideration when deciding which approach you would like to engage with.
ART Vs. EMDR for Treating Specific Conditions
When you are looking at choosing a treatment option, you need to look at the whole context to find the best option for you. Some of the factors you may want to consider are time constraints, financial constraints, personal preferences, etc.
While both approaches are good options for a trauma-related disorder, the context must be taken into consideration. When there is a time constraint, ART would be a better option as this is a shorter treatment option. EMDR therapy would be appropriate for a traumatic experience as well.
Due to the nature of EMDR, this would be the better approach for symptoms of depression as it is more flexible to the individual’s experience and can cover more that the individual may need in this situation.
Both EMDR and ART are good options for working with grief-related experiences. Both approaches will allow you to explore the experience and memories of grief to find a more helpful experience or understanding of the loss.
There is research that ART definitely assists with anxiety-related disorders. Similarly to depression, EMDR can offer slightly more flexibility and adaptation to what you specifically need. Choosing an approach with regard to anxiety will be your personal choice, looking at your specific context.
When working with abuse, EMDR would be better suited as an approach; however, you may wish to look further than EMDR to treat abuse-related difficulties, as these difficulties can be complex and require a longer-term support intervention.
Limitations & General Concerns
As with all different therapeutic approaches, ART therapy and EMDR therapy do have limitations; working with trauma is a delicate process, and experiencing the trauma may increase the symptoms in the short term before you find relief.
Both EMDR and ART are short-term therapy interventions; some experiences will require a longer-term intervention to provide the most benefit for you.
If you decide to follow an ART or EMDR therapeutic process, it will be important to ensure that you work with a fully trained therapist. Not only do you need to ensure that your therapist is licensed, but also that they are trained in the ART or EMDR technique.
Using both these approaches requires specialized training before they can practice the approach. Ask your therapist if they are trained in the approach you would like to use.
If you are experiencing any of the above and are interested in engaging in a process using ART or EMDR, you can contact us at One Life Counselling and Coaching. When you’re ready, we’re here to support you through your therapeutic journey.