There are a variety of modalities and specialized interventions that can be used for trauma therapy. These treatments work by identifying and processing neurophysiological sources of trauma, emotion, pain and challenges. Through these processes, we can locate and focus on symptoms or experiences that aren’t always reachable in the conscious mind, using neurobiology.
Alliance for Healing offers EMDR, brainspotting and accelerated resolution therapy (ART). Below, we’ve outlined these three types of trauma therapies.
What is EMDR?
EMDR is an 8-phase treatment that starts with assessing eye movement. The theory is that there are spots in the brain that trigger negative thoughts or memories and by monitoring eye movement, therapists can pinpoint these brainspots, working to alleviate these feelings.
This type of therapy encourages patients to focus on their trauma memory (briefly) while experiencing bilateral stimulation (eye movements), to help reduce the vividness and emotion(s) associated with trauma.
What is brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a therapeutic tool that helps to access unprocessed trauma through recognition of eye positioning. Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system.
What is accelerated resolution therapy (ART)?
Accelerated resolution therapy, or ART, is uses back-and-forth eye movements to help patients address common problems such as anxiety and depression, phobias or PTSD. While ART uses eye movements similar to EMDR, during accelerated resolution therapy, the concentration is on replacing disturbing images with positive ones. While focusing on a problem and using eye movements, the brain makes new connections with the patient’s strengths and problem-solving abilities.
How do these three therapies work?
During treatment, the patient and therapist start with Phase 1: History-taking. From there, the therapists prepares the client (Phase 2), assesses the target memory (Phase 3) and then throughout Phases 4-7 the memory is processes to adaptive resolution. At the end of treatment (Phase 8) the therapist evaluates treatment results and next steps.
Processing of a specific memory is generally completed within one to three sessions. EMDR therapy differs from other trauma-focused treatments in that it does not include extended exposure to the distressing memory, detailed descriptions of the trauma, challenging of dysfunctional beliefs or homework assignments.
Who can benefit from these specialized therapies?
EMDR was developed to help with anxiety and trauma but can be used for many different experiences. It is a therapy that can work for men and women. EMDR can also be used in conjunction with other therapy treatments. It can also be a good option for those who are not as comfortable with talking about their feelings or experiences. ART can be a quick, effective and safe way to treat adults as well and children.
Trauma therapy modalities are not one-size-fits all. Learn about our therapists who specialize in EMDR, brainspotting and accelerated resolution therapy to see if these may be good options for your therapy needs.