New “no talking” therapy offers hope to veterans with PTSD

SOUTH PASADENA, CA – 11/7/2016 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) uses eye-movements like those that occur during REM sleep combined with a technique called Voluntary Image Replacement to allow trauma survivors to overwrite disturbing images with positive images.   ART is a brief form of evidence-based talk therapy demonstrated to be effective for veterans and civilians impacted by painful memories and traumatic events.  After gaining popularity with veterans on the East Coast, ART is now available in Southern California.

Trauma is an experience that impairs a person’s ability to respond appropriately to additional stress.  Traumatized people often find themselves over-reacting or under-reacting to everyday stressors.  In severe cases, traumatic stress can lead to a debilitating disorder called PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs found that approximately thirty percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD.  Tragically, up to two-thirds of veterans with PTSD are not currently receiving treatment.  ART is an attractive alternative treatment for veterans because ART avoids some common barriers that prevent veterans from seeking traditional therapy.

While traditional talk therapy can be effective for trauma symptoms, many veterans avoid therapy because they do not want to talk about their experiences.  ART does not require clients to talk about the details of their trauma.  Clients can choose to tell the therapist everything or nothing about the traumatic event.  

Veterans often leave traditional therapy before completing treatment.  ART has a high completion rate because it only requires one to five sessions, instead of the months or years required by other forms of therapy.

ART was developed in 2008 by Laney Rosenzwieg, a psychotherapist in Connecticut.  After her clients rapidly improved with ART, Ms. Rosensweig was asked to train clinicians at Ft. Hood.  Ms. Rosezweig’s therapy has been extensively studied at the University of South Florida by Dr. Kevin Kip.  

Dr. Kip’s research demonstrated that ART is highly effective for veterans with PTSD.  In Dr. Kip’s studies, veterans were treated in an average of three 60-minute sessions.  Surprisingly, results were just as strong for veterans who had previously tried other forms of therapy without success.

ART is gradually receiving support from the mainstream mental health community.  In November 2015, after it was found to be an effective therapy for veterans, service members, and civilians by the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices.  In July 2016, the Army awarded a contract to researchers at the University of South Florida to train more military mental health professionals in ART.  In September, Brian Penrod, LCSW opened the first dedicated ART clinic in California with colleague Alisha Garr, LCSW.

Although multiple studies have shown that ART works, it is not yet clear how.  ART is thought to use the brain’s natural ability to consolidate memories during sleep.  Using this method, clients remember all the factual aspects of their past, but can choose which painful images, sensations, and feelings they would like to forget.

While the results have been promising so far, many more high-quality studies must be completed before ART will be accepted as the primary therapy for veterans nationwide.

About Brian Penrod

Brian Penrod, LCSW is one of only three certified Accelerated Resolution Therapy practitioners in California.  Mr. Penrod is a licensed psychotherapist who used older talk therapy techniques for years before becoming certified in ART.  After receiving strong feedback from his clients, Mr. Penrod opened a therapy practice dedicated only to ART.  His practice in South Pasadena opened September 2016.  Mr. Penrod’s website can be found at

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