KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Recovering from trauma can be an arduous and difficult process for many people, regardless of the kind of trauma they face.
A group of therapists met in West Knoxville on Friday to learn a new way to help people recover. The event was hosted by ART International and offered courses to help clinicians and mental health professionals learn about Accelerated Resolution Therapy.
Officials said that the technique allows people who have experienced trauma to feel relief without having to re-experience their traumatic experiences by talking about them. Therapists said that it works for people suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, grief and loss.
It mimics the Rapid Eye Movement cycle, which people experience as they fall asleep, while a patient is still awake. During an ART treatment, therapists move their hands in front of the patient's face and tells them to follow its movement with their eyes.
They also advise patients to use the time during therapy to think about their trauma without having to verbalize what they are thinking. Since the brain is mimicking the same physical process as the REM cycle, when it usually processes a lot of information, therapists believe it can help them process trauma.
"It recreates the stimulus in the brain that it's used to," said Brenda Stuteler in an earlier interview, who practices ART. "It's a very familiar environment. One thing that happens during the REM cycle of sleep is that's when we process all kinds of things. What this does is it allows the brain to process the trauma."
Patients are in complete control during therapy and are conscious during treatment, officials said.
The Knoxville event teaching clinicians about the technique will continue until Jan. 17. Safety guidelines for COVID-19 are in place. Tickets are no longer available to attend it.