Accelerated Resolution Therapy Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms,...

...brief treatments with Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) substantially reduce symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including, depression, anxiety, sleep dysfunction and other physical and psychological symptoms.

The talk therapy uses back-and-forth eye movements as the patient fluctuates between talking about a traumatic scene, and using the eye movements to help process that information to integrate the memories from traumatic events. The two major components of ART include minimizing or eliminating physiological response associated traumatic memories, and re-envisioning painful or disturbing experiences with a novel technique known as Voluntary Image Replacement.

"Early results are very promising," said principal investigator Kevin E. Kip, PhD, professor and executive director of the USF College of Nursing Research Center. "Most people who came in to be treated had very high scores for PTSD, and after treatment, the majority had very large reductions. The treatment also reduced other symptoms, like depression, as well as improved sleep."

Tags: PTSD

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The part about the eye movements sounds like EMDR which has been around for years. I read in Scientific American or somewhere that an experiment was done comparing treatments based on EMDR either with or without the eye movement component (in the control group participants stared straight ahead while they recalled a traumatic event instead of moving their eyes) and no difference was found in the outcomes. The suggestion was that the eye movements were just a gimmick. To be honest I'm not familiar with the research literature on this, so I don't know if this finding has been rebutted or upheld in later experiments. 

Here's a link to the abstract of a meta-analysis article that shows EMDR is no more effective than conventional treatment. http://ebmh.bmj.com/content/5/1/13.long

I haven't got around to looking into ART in any depth, but I'm inclined to take it with a grain of salt. The published study reports positive results for a trial with no control group. 

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