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West Hartford resident teaches therapy to military bases

Photo illustration by Devin N. Boyer/U.S. Air Force

By Kristin Stoller | The Hartford Courant | Published: February 4, 2016

WEST HARTFORD (Tribune News Service) — A new PTSD treatment developed by a West Hartford resident has garnered recognition and funding from federal military officials.

Laney Rosenzweig compares her therapy to filling a tooth.

Rosenzweigdeveloped Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or ART, where clients struggling with post traumatic stress disorder or recovering from sexual abuse say she has used eye movementsto help them live with horrific images in their mind.

She said she uses eye movements on her clients, similar to the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep. While in that state, clients are asked to erase their old, painful images and replace them with new ones — called voluntary image replacement, she said.

A client never loses the memory, it goes into the factual side of their brain, Rosenzweig said. The facts about the trauma always remain intact, but there is no longer an emotional charge, she said.

"It's the perfect therapy, because you only lose the part that hurts you," said Rosenzweig, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "Our motto is keep the knowledge, lose the pain."

Rosenzweig says it's like filling a tooth because clients know that whatever images they replace their negative ones with are not theirs, she said.

In November, ART was named to the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Rosenzweig was asked to teach her therapy to military medicine clinicians at Fort Belvoir, Fort Benning and Fort Hood.

"We've trained over 50 clinicians at the Forts and they love this stuff," she said. "They just eat it up."

She said she partnered with Dr. Kevin Kip, a researcher at the University of South Florida, who received $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to run studies related to PTSD and other emotional problems within the military and members of their families.

Using this funding, and a grant from the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation given to the university, Rosenzweig led the training at the military bases, and clinicians have reported back that ART has a "very high success rate" among military members, Kip said.

Though Rosenzweig is his mother's cousin, Kip said he had never met her until he asked her to give a visiting lecture after reading about her new therapy in the newspaper.

Using his federal funding, Kip decided to study and test ART formally and said he saw much greater drops of PTSD among military members and veterans who were treated with ART. His findings were published in Military Medicine.

Rosenzweig opened her ART practice in West Hartford in 2008. After graduating from Central Connecticut State University in 1995, Rosenzweig said she began working at the Wheeler Clinic in Plainville.

While there, she said she decided to take courses in another evidence-based therapy, called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. During training, she said her supervisor criticized her for not doing the therapy correctly.

"She said, 'You are not doing EMDR. I don't know what you are doing, but it's not EMDR, so either go back to our way or name it your own thing,' " Rosenzweig said.

From this, ART was born, she said.

In addition to PTSD, the therapy can be used to treat psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, phobias, obsessive–compulsive disorder and substance use, Rosenzweig said.

Rosenzweig said she currently trains therapists/clinicians at The Rosenzweig Center for Rapid Recovery in Orlando, Fla.

It's important to note that ART isn't hypnosis, Rosenzweig said. On average, a client's problems are resolved in three to four sessions.

"It's like a lucid dream," she said. "You are having an awake dream that you know is a dream."

The best part, Rosenzweig said, is that clients don't have to talk to her about their problems or horrific incidents — she just walks them through the steps to erasing them.

"It works," she said. "I think it is one of the best therapies ever been created because once you get rid of the negative images for a problem, the symptoms and sensations abate. It's revolutionary."

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©2016 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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