Local News

Therapy gives PTSD patients relief without reliving trauma

Posted November 30, 2018 7:08 p.m. EST

— There are at least 200 treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. But a relatively new one is starting to get a lot of attention.

Those who treat soldiers for PTSD were in Spring Lake Friday to learn about accelerated resolution therapy.

Joe Lobban, a former Fort Bragg soldier, has been deployed into combat six times and is being treated for PTSD.

“I started showing signs and symptoms of PTSD in 2009 after my deployment to Iraq,” he said. “It went untreated until I returned from Afghanistan from my 2013 deployment.”

Lobban has received accelerated resolution therapy, or ART. It's designed to resolve a traumatic memory through a combination of relaxation and memory visualization.

“The current statistic is that 21 veterans commit suicide every day,” said Jennifer Street, an instructor at ART International, which put on the training. “We have a number of veterans who will say ART saved them.”

About half a dozen clinicians learned ART techniques in Spring Lake during a three-day training session this week.

“Accelerated resolution therapy is excellent in its protocols because then the client, the person who comes in, does not have to retell the story and relive the trauma,” said Barry Bowden, a therapist.

Amber Kennedy, owner of Spring Lake Counseling Center, participated in the training. She sees about 450 clients a month.

“I do about three ART sessions a day in my office because the word is getting out, and my clients are coming back the following week, crying in tears,” she said. “Men and women, saying ‘Thank you so much, I’ve never had this relief.’”

The treatment is helping Lobban.

“It helps me get over some of the triggers and some of the memories that I had, and I was able to look at them in a different perspective,” he said.

While ART International was training six clinicians this weekend, the organization plans to return because so many soldiers from Fort Bragg are in need.