Our current culture carries with it quite a stigma regarding mental health. Rarely do people expect rapid transformational change when they consider seeing a therapist, let alone trust that any significant change will occur. Cultures often perpetuate mindless inaccuracies about how humans work or should work. However, we also currently live in a time when neuroscience is flourishing, and more and more providers are seeing invalidations of the ways they have been performing psychotherapy. There are strong indications that neuroscience-founded therapies are leading clinicians to more thriving approaches and leading clients to more thriving states (Fernandez-Duque & Johnson, 2002).
My intention is to encourage clients and clinicians to consider some new and different ways of approaching psychotherapy that have been demonstrated to be highly effective. I intend to clarify inaccuracies about the brain and humans, to reduce stigma by offering a normalizing, de-pathologizing, and more positive way to provide client care, and to help clients learn proactive and brain-based techniques for managing future experiences. Lastly, in an effort to reduce therapeutic interventions that may interfere with transformational change, I offer some bold assertions that go against much of what most psychotherapists are taught.
Rapid resolution therapy (RRT) has been evolving over the last 30+ years under the direction of Dr. Jon Connelly (http://www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com/about/), and it has recently come into focus with a number of organizations, including the United States Army (Hames, 2010), the Brian Bill Foundation (https://www.brianbillfoundation.org/), the StreetShares Foundation (http://go.streetshares.com/streetshares-foundation-veteran-small-business-award); StreetShares, Inc., 2017), the Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island (http://veteranshealthalliance.org/), and Adelphi University (https://events.adelphi.edu/au_event/rapid-resolution-therapy-rrt-seminar/).
In addition to the above, the president of Operation Warrior Resolution (http://www.operationwarriorresolution.org/), Kendra Simpkins, was recently awarded funds to continue the foundation’s work rapidly treating military service members with PTSD (Simpkins, 2018). Kristin Rivas also offers a moving Ted Talk about her experience with RRT when she was successfully and rapidly treated for diagnosed conversion disorder (TEDx, 2014). Kristin later became an RRT clinician herself. Connelly summarizes some of his approaches to PTSD and addiction on YouTube (Palm Partners Recovery Center, 2009a,b). I often think of Connelly as an unknowing “neural plastitician”. He does not claim that RRT is a neuroscience-founded therapy, but I do, and I will provide my evidence here. I am confident that RRT is a remarkable process for helping people feel better painlessly and effortlessly in a way that is very pro-brain.
As a memory reconsolidation-informed therapist, I find that RRT is one of the most effective, compassionate, brain-based, treatment approaches to memory reconsolidation that I have ever experienced or witnessed. I have used RRT successfully in treating PTSD, anxiety, anger, panic, grief, minor and major stress, depression, addiction, guilt, shame, and so much more. I employ it with every client who has experienced actual or perceived trauma. I use it with both adult and child victims of abuse. I use it while working with couples to manage conflict, recovery from infidelity, and communication problems. When combined with neuropsychotherapy-based education, I have seen a dramatic increase in transformational change as a result of clients gaining an understanding of the brain and learning to undo ineffective and inaccurate individual and cultural understandings about the brain, the self, and other human beings. I also attribute the change to Connelly’s ability to address a client’s internal conflict, using what I call inarguable mismatch, which occurs when an individual can only disagree with his/her earlier belief(s). Connelly has a way of communicating with clients that presents immediate conditioning opportunities that invalidate prior traumatic meanings, or more accurately, emotional learnings.
My fidelity to this approach came as I experienced a single 90-minute treatment session for my fear of public speaking. I learned my fear was attached to a lengthy interrogation I experienced about a lie I told when I was about 10 years old. The treatment allowed me to remove the unnecessary emotion attached to that memory. Since that session I have successfully and without fear presented publicly on many occasions, both locally and internationally. Prior to treatment I would be sick in my stomach, shaking, and mentally clouded any time I had to speak in public. The fear bled into other areas of my life, including during tests, when my brain perceived my capabilities were on a stage for all to see.
Subsequent to treatment, I sought to become certified in RRT, complementing my role as a trauma-informed licensed marriage and family therapist, trained and experienced in interpersonal neurobiology and neuropsychotherapy. Through my neuroscience training and interest in memory reconsolidation I was able to understand how RRT can be explained by memory reconsolidation.
Rapid resolution therapy is completely different from any other model I have had the privilege to learn. The RRT therapist leads rather than follows. Yes, this is in opposition to the ways most therapists are taught! When I move toward a client’s neuropsychotherapeutic needs for safety, connection, control, motivation, and self, the end goal will always be an improvement on the prior state. I keep clear any question about where I am trying to get them, to keep them always in agreement with our mutual goal. Most therapists are taught to understand the client’s language, not give them one. In contrast, I begin every new session by providing a transparent, brain-based language to reduce the potential for miscommunication. RRT treatment is not retraumatizing; clients do not re-experience or expose themselves to their fears, and therapists do not experience vicarious trauma. Treatment is often successful in a single session: RRT gives meaning to “brief therapy”. Many aspects of RRT are so profoundly brain-based that one can consider this an alternative approach that could remove stigma which is an important step to improve mental health treatment outcomes.
Therapists are generally taught to be aware of resistance rather than to lead them through it by providing more effective tools. The average therapist learns to label a client’s dysfunctions, not to deconstruct inaccurate social constructs. RRT therapists will keep clients in a thriving state, where learning happens, and will not reactivate their survival states, expecting they could possibly thrive.
My approach uses transparency to reduce the stigma of mental health. I want my clients to manage their emotions without fear. I want to enrich their environments.[Content protected for subscribers only]