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Communicating with Trauma in a Different Way

By Alison Voisin, MA, LPC, E-RYT

“I just feel like I’m stuck, like I can’t move forward.” “Why can’t I just get over this?” “Why am I always so scared?” These are phrases that you might have said to yourself, or as a therapist, have heard from some of your clients. When an individual experiences trauma they are continuously thrown into states of fight or flight by the most innocuous of triggers. It could be a song, a certain smell, a movie they see, and just like that, they are right back into the emotions and sensations that they experienced with their trauma. This in turn disconnects them from their current reality, making it feel impossible sometimes to navigate everyday life. Therapists will often try to listen and talk people through their traumas, but unfortunately, the part of the brain that stores trauma is not particularly receptive to traditional talk therapy. The amygdala, our reptile brain, works best with images and sensations, and when we can connect with the trauma center in a way it understands, that is where change occurs. Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is a trauma-based modality that uses the power of eye movements to help individuals navigate their traumas in a different way. Eye movements are used to create a calming sensation while individuals move through their trauma, seeing images play out in their mind during a counseling session. Through this direct communication with the trauma center of the brain, we can create lasting changes with a particular memory, in just one session. ART not only works quickly to create a resolution to trauma for a client, but also helps to reduce what is called compassion fatigue in therapists. This ability to navigate trauma in a different way is critical for this world and it continues to grow day by day. Currently, ART is being provided in multiple countries and inaugural trainings have been held at both Perspectives of Troy and at Heron Ridge Associates in Ann Arbor, helping members of the Refresh team to spread healing through their local communities and to create statements such as… “I finally feel human again.” “For the first time in my life I can sleep and not be haunted by those awful images.” “I’m excited to see what’s next in life.”

Alison Voisin received her master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling through the University of South Florida. She has more than 15 years of professional experience working in mental health, such as within residential settings; with combat Veterans and their families; and now in private
practice at Heron Ridge Associates. Alison is certified as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT) and believes in the power of connecting mind and body when working with her clients. She is also master certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and is a certified ART trainer. Alison specializes in working with trauma, encouraging resilience and post traumatic growth within her clients.

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