Mental health professionals train to treat PTSD in Texas

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A group of Texas mental health professionals are participating in training to treat people with post traumatic stress.

They’re getting certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy, which is described as “an innovative and highly effective technique for treating PTSD, trauma, anxiety, phobias and other mental health conditions.”

The three-day training in Austin is one of four dozen trainings on this psychotherapy around the country this year.

The therapy uses a combination of relaxation and memory visualization to induce physical and emotional relief for PTSD in an average of four sessions.

“The client is able to process through traumatic events and other problems in a way that allows the brain to process things more deeply, which brings a more effective response,” licensed clinical social worker Yolanda Harper said.

“Initial research has shown ART to be as effective, quicker, easier to learn, and more cost-efficient,” researchers wrote.

According to research published last year in the National Institutes of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine, the therapy’s effectiveness compared to cognitive processing therapy was being studied among civilians, military veterans and active service members.

The therapy does not require clients to recount their memories of traumatic events, which could benefit military members, law enforcement officers, or medical professionals who are bound by non-disclosure agreements who are prohibited from discussing confidential details.

“I am excited to learn techniques that are not based on talking,” Jennifer Ballow, of Austin, said.

The therapy, which was established in 2008, has been recognized as an evidence-based therapy by the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidenced-Based Programs and Practices since 2015.

Harper recognizes the treatment looks odd.

“That is the conversation that I have with clients,” she said. “‘Yes, it’s weird and we do it because it works, and here’s the research on how it works.'”

Other similar treatments include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The major differences between EMDR and ART is EMDR is content-oriented, while ART is procedural, ART focuses on visual imagery and emotional sensations, and ART narrows in on a fixed number of eye movements, while EMDR uses a variable number of eye movements.

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