How Accelerated Resolution Therapy Differs from Prolonged Exposure Therapy
In her Tedx talk “The Power of Rapid Eye Movements”, ART certified therapist Yolanda Harper paints a picture of a typical experience of a PTSD patient receiving treatment with prolonged exposure therapy:
“Tell me about war.”
“I was in Vietnam; people are dying.”
More detail is required here to illustrate a full experience.
“… I was on patrol at daybreak in the jungles of Vietnam, sweat was dripping from my body. I could smell Napalm in the air. There were shots in the distance, sounds of agony and torture. I look up and see a comrade hanging from a tree, his flesh dangling from his bones. My heart was racing, I felt sick to my stomach, I thought I was going to die.”
After this recap, the patient must tell the story repeatedly until enough detail has been reached. In her early days of training, Harper recounts the discomfort felt as a practitioner in hearing such events both on behalf of her patient and as a fellow human being. However, frequent recounts of the traumatic event are required in Prolonged Exposure therapy and required for treatment.
What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?
Prolonged Exposure therapy is often used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to encourage individuals to face specific traumatic events “head on”, overriding the patient’s tendency to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma.
These sessions are often very anxiety-producing. A therapist must work intensely to ensure a safe environment is provided for the client while the client learns about how their trauma manifests in day-to-day life and helpful coping mechanisms for when it arises.
Prolonged Exposure therapy is typically performed weekly over three months with 90-minute individual sessions and uses two main elements: Imaginal Exposure and…
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