AR Therapy and Depression Recovery

Sadness. Fatigue. Loss of interest. Individually, they can be part of a normal range of emotions. However, they can also be symptoms of a larger issue: depression. It’s easy for others to say, “just snap out of it,” or encourage an outing or exercise. But when you’re battling depression, those simple things can be some of the most difficult steps to take on the road towards depression recovery.

Millions of Americans live with depression. And because mental illness is not as obvious as a broken leg, many suffer in silence and unnecessary shame. Reasons for depression are as varied as each individual and substantial depression recovery involves getting back to the root cause and doing the emotional work to create a clearer view. Depression recovery requires personal work, however it’s worth every minute of your dedication.

How Do I Know It’s Depression?

Times are trying, that’s for sure. So, it can be hard to know if this is just a little bit of the “blues” or something more serious. If you aren’t sure whether or not you are depressed, check this list for common symptoms of depression:

  • Concentration issues including trouble remembering details, and making decisions
  • General Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Overwhelming pessimism and hopelessness; anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Sleep issues including Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Prolonged loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Change in appetite; overeating, or appetite loss
  • Lingering aches, pains, headaches, or cramps
  • Ongoing digestive problems that won’t respond to treatment
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Obviously, sometimes life hands us unforeseen events and circumstances and there are legitimate reasons for some of these symptoms to appear. However, when we start to see multiple symptoms over an extended period of time, it’s time to consider that this may be depression.

Finding a Way Out

The good news is that depression recovery is within reach; the most important step is to seek help. A first step should be to visit your primary care physician to rule out any underlying health conditions that may be causing your depression. Various forms of treatment exist, and relief may be found more clearly with one over the other. Self-help tips include reaching out to others to stay connected, maintaining a healthy diet, walk or exercise, and getting out to enjoy the sunshine.  If you continue to feel overwhelmed, professional help is available.  Therapy has long been an element in depression recovery and is available in various formats. While medications may offer an immediate source of relief, drugs may ultimately just mask the greater root causes.

Using AR Therapy (A.R.T.) in Depression Recovery

The Denning Center is excited to offer Accelerated Resolution Therapy, a trauma and depression recovery therapy developed for adults and children looking for a drug-free, non-hypnosis treatment for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and many other mental health conditions that fall under the category of Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms. This evidence-based, highly effective technique can be a first step in helping you reclaim life.

Using rhythmic stimuli like a light, audio tone or visual object, a qualified counselor leads the entire process. Patients enter into a non-hypnotic, yet highly responsive state of being with patients being keenly aware of their breath control. By deliberately mimicking the ways the eyes move during REM sleep, AR Therapists help their patient process traumatic memories. Sessions are patient-controlled and need not be verbalized. The AR Therapy process guides the patient to access a negative memory and reassign a different response to that event. In other words, a patient keeps the knowledge, but loses the pain associated with it. Many patients notice results within only a few sessions, usually between 1 and 5 visits. Clinicians might also find that AR Therapy offers some relief from “compassion fatigue” because patients are not required to recount their traumatic story aloud. The lack of a need to verbalize the trauma might help make the therapy easier on the patient and the therapist and lead to a more sustainable depression recovery.

By reassigning the feelings associated with traumatic memories, patients may recall the details of the trauma but no longer feel the same physical, emotional or visceral response.

Referred to in AR Therapy as “voluntary image replacement,” this happens through rapid eye movement, use of metaphors, and other interventions that can promote positive sensation. The image replacement process is an element of the AR Therapy session crucial to the treatment’s effectiveness, paving the way towards depression recovery. Research indicates that when trauma-related memories are integrated with positive experiences, distressing memories become less intrusive. 

A.R.T. is not for everyone, and certain patients with brain injuries may not experience desired results. However, as this Accelerated Resolution Therapy methodology continues to grow, the results are promising to those who will benefit.

Depression recovery relies on finding positive reasons to move forward. Lingering trauma prevents that forward motion. By reassignment of the negative feelings of guilt or worthlessness, patients can find a more stable base from which to build a way out of depression. And just as the chains of depression can drag you down further, the release of those chains is equally positive and empowering.

The Road Ahead

Depression doesn’t have to rule your life. There are ways out. A.R.T. is showing itself to be a significant part of depression recovery for many people. The Denning Center, located in San Antonio, Texas, assists patients with depression recovery therapy and those living with trauma and struggling emotionally. For more information, contact The Denning Center at 210.369.8368.