Accelerated Reprocessing Therapy

 Accelerated Reprocessing Therapy (ART)

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating addiction and mental health disorders that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program that includes family therapy, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Accelerated Reprocessing Therapy?
Accelerated Reprocessing Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has its roots in existing evidence-based therapies, but is shown to be more effective more rapidly. ART was designed to treat people with mental health problems and addictions and usually consist of about 15 sessions. Although, there are studies that conclude recovery can occur in as little as three or four sessions, depending on the event or traumas and the duration of it.  Recognized by national organizations, as well as the DOD (Department of Defense), it’s useful for those who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, addictions or substance abuse, chronic pain, and more. With ART, people can see results as early as the first session.  With ART, the client is always in control. The therapist guides the session and helps those individuals process traumatic events rapidly since they are the most painful to relive. It enables the therapist to propel the client to growth and positive change.  The process is straightforward and uses relaxing eye movements combined with a technique called Voluntary Memory/Image Replacement. This process changes how negative images are stored in the brain. The result is that traumas and difficult life experiences stop being triggers for strong emotions or physical reactions. The best part is that individuals do not need to talk about their traumas with the therapist to achieve success.
Core Techniques of ART
ART implements a combination of techniques in a unique and specific way and has the following benefits:
  • Utilized with other therapies and medical treatments
  • No medication is given, but if already taken medication, the technique can still be used
  • No homework assignments
  • Does not involve hypnotherapy
  • The client is always in control
  • The client does not have to share their traumatic memories, or
  • Does not have to recall a traumatic scene(s) between sessions
Similar to Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), ART uses rapid eye movement akin to when you’re dreaming (REM). Still, it takes a different approach than EMDR, using a directive technique proven to help people achieve rapid recovery from symptoms and reactions that may be present for years or decades. 
Studies on ART
According to the website, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, studies show people will feel relief from their symptoms within one to five sessions. Three major clinical trials have been done on ART for PTSD out of the University of South Florida.  In a randomized controlled trial of veterans or active duty service members, 5 sessions of ART was completed. ART demonstrated a 61 percent response rate than that of other PTSD therapies and a 94 percent completion rate. Furthermore, in this trial, the individuals only needed about 4 to 5 sessions, which is significant given that traditional evidence-based therapies need at least 8 to 15 sessions required for the absolution of PTSD. The ART protocol, like other reconsolidation therapies, eliminates the person’s fear response and rewires their neural pathways, so they no longer associate the memory with fear or distress. The brain allows new learning to rewrite and erase old, unwanted learning and not just merely suppress and compete against that learning. ART can be used for those individuals in addiction recovery or to treat mental health disorders in a safe and controlled environment. Combined with other treatments in a residential recovery setting, ART can be a powerful treatment method for those struggling with co-occurring disorders.