March 5th, 2020

// Accelerated Resolution Therapy Brings Relief to Caregivers Struggling with Complicated Grief

Accelerated Resolution Therapy Brings Relief to Caregivers Struggling with Complicated Grief 

Tampa, Florida (March 4, 2020) –For many people who are dealing with the loss of a spouse or close relative, time does not heal their pain. About 10-15 percent of people experience what is known as complicated grief – severe sadness over the death of a loved one that has not abated a year after the loss. 

Complicated grief is more likely to affect older adults and it can affect all aspects of their physical and mental health. 

A new study in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine offers hope for those dealing with complicated grief. The study found that the symptoms of complicated grief were significantly reduced for participants who underwent Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), an innovative mind-body therapy. ART empowers clients to resolve traumatic memories through a combination of relaxation techniques and memory visualization. 

Study participants who underwent ART found a 57 percent reduction of symptoms of complicated grief, a 70 percent reduction in symptoms of PTSD and a 50 percent reduction in symptoms of depression. 

“The results indicate that ART presents an effective, brief intervention for prolonged, complicated grief among older adult caregivers who have lost a loved one after hospice care,” said Dr. Kevin E. Kip (PhD, FAHA, AAAS), Distinguished Health Professor at the USF College of Public Health and a co-principal investigator of the trial. The study was led by Harleah G. Buck (PhD, RN, FPCN, FAHA, FAAN), Associate Professor at the University of South Florida (USF), College of Nursing.

The study focused on people age 60 and older who were experiencing complicated grief, as well as  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), following the death of a loved one in hospice care. The participants had all served as caregivers for their deceased loved ones. 

Participants were randomly divided into two groups: an experimental group who received ART immediately and a control group who were put on a wait list to receive ART. All participants were screened for complicated grief, PTSD and depression at the beginning and end of the study period. 

Those who underwent ART experienced significant decreases in symptoms of grief, PTSD and depression after an average of just four ART sessions. Unlike traditional talk therapies, ART does not require participants to discuss painful memories or feelings. Many therapists use ART in conjunction with other treatment modalities. 

ART is an innovative treatment that empowers clients to resolve traumatic memories through a combination of relaxation techniques and memory visualization. The treatment employs a series of horizontal eye movements to enable clients to effectively rewrite troubling memories. ART provides effective relief from the strong physical and emotional reactions associated with PTSD, trauma, anxiety, and depression.  

Since ART was developed in 2008 by Laney Rosenzweig, MS, LMFT, there have been six research studies completed and several more are in progress. These studies have produced more than 10 published papers about the therapy in scientific peer-reviewed journals including those written by researchers at the University of South Florida. The ART research conducted to date has been federally funded by the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. In 2015, ART was recognized as an evidence-based therapy by the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.

Restauranteur and entrepreneur Chris T. Sullivan formed and is funding ART International Training and Research, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to making ART more widely available to individuals in need of professional help in order to ameliorate the devastating effects of PTSD and other psychological traumas. The nonprofit is headed by Executive Director Kelly Breeding and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

This year, the nonprofit is hosting more than 100 training sessions throughout the United States offering local clinicians an opportunity to be trained and certified in ART. More information on ART International’s training sessions can be found on their website at artherapyinternational.org.  

An abstract of the study can be viewed here

To schedule an interview with Dr. Kevin Kip or Dr. Harleah Buck; ART International executive director Kelly Breeding; therapists who employ ART; or clients who have benefitted from the treatment, contact jscharper@hillmanpr.com

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