New focused relaxation therapy is game-changer for those struggling with mental health issues

A group of mental health counselors in Tampa is learning a new therapy method for their clients. It’s known as A.R.T. or Accelerated Resolution Therapy.

“What it is, is a very focused relaxation that takes you through an event to help the brain digest and break it down,” said Diego F. Hernandez, Clinical director of ART Research at USF. 

Hernandez walks the group through the ART methods. It involves rapid eye-movements and in the end, is said to help patients not only understand their trauma but find long-term resolutions.

“By being focused on more than one task you’re doing it to with intent to the get to the end of the story, it helps move the story along,” Hernandez said.

It’s been used on those suffering from PTSD and other deep-rooted traumas. It may also be helpful in dealing with all the uncertainty surrounding the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

”We're definitely seeing an increase in depression, anxiety and stress,” said Ashley Burch, with Memorial Hospital in Tampa.

Burch is learning the technique to use on her patients.

“It is definitely a new tool in our toolbox,” she said.

“I was blown away after my first session,” said Kashi Heynis.

She went from client to teacher, using A.R.T. for the last few years.

“It doesn’t just impact individuals themselves it actually sends a wave of impact through everybody they're around,” Heynis said.

“This therapy is a game-changer,” Hernandez said.

Sessions last from 60 to 90 minutes and patient responses are said to improve over time.