PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting

Using Accelerated Resolution Therapy, with Crystal Clancy and Katy Strub.

September 06, 2021 Samantha Season 1 Episode 9
PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting
Using Accelerated Resolution Therapy, with Crystal Clancy and Katy Strub.
Show Notes Transcript

ART is a trauma therapy used to treat a number of mental health conditions. Trauma in the perinatal population  is often under recognized and under treated.  ART offers an effective and faster recovery than other treatment options. 

Crystal:
Crystal Clancy is the owner of Iris Mental Health, a group practice of specialists in Perinatal Mental Health, located in Burnsville. She is a Founding Member of Pregnancy & Postpartum Support MN (PPSM), and former Executive Director. She helped facilitate PPSM become the 5th State Chapter in the country for Postpartum Support International (PSI), and is also Co-Coordinator and Faculty member for PSI. In addition to working with PMADs, Crystal also specializes in fertility challenges, and those parents who were raised by a "difficult parent". She is married, and the proud mama of two!

Katy:
Katy (She/Her/Hers) has experience in both outpatient and hospital settings working with service members, using evidence-based trauma therapy.

She has completed Basic and Advanced trainings in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), an eye movement therapy that can be very helpful for those struggling with distressing images, nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts.

Katy offers appointments in office, via teletherapy, and Walk & Talk Therapy.

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Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Welcome listeners to baby brain. I'm Samantha, Huga your host. And this is PPO sums podcast with me. This evening is crystal Clancy. She's an LMF tea owner and provider at Iris mental health and Katie stroke. She's an licensed independent clinical social worker and also a provider at Iris. Welcome ladies. What'd you guys like to say anything about your connection to PSM? I know that crystal you've been involved kind of to the deepest level for a long period of time. Any remarks you want to make about your guys's connection with PPCM

Speaker 3:

Sure. Aside from being a founding member and director, I've also been involved with developing the helpline and creating the DZ dash, our annual fundraiser. And, uh, right now, right now, I am more doing behind the scenes things with the website and still involved with the planning of the DC dash.

Speaker 2:

Katie, do you want to share with us a little bit about your connection with, so I became connected

Speaker 3:

With pregnancy and postpartum support, Minnesota. Um, probably five or six years ago. I was starting to look at going into private practice and it was suggested that I get some professional training if I wanted to work with the perinatal population. So I did seek that out and I did complete the two day training and that sort of led to my development in private practice. And I'm also maintaining a professional membership.

Speaker 2:

So this evening we're going to spend talking about art art therapy, and it doesn't include painting and drawing. So tell us a little bit about what art is. Art is,

Speaker 3:

Uh, is short for accelerated resolution therapy and it is an evidence-based therapy. It is 60 minutes or less sessions, and it involves minimal talking and sharing of detail. So those are some of the good things about it and that what makes it so attractive for so many of our clients accelerated resolution therapy was created by a clinician who was originally trained in EMDR, and it uses eye movements, um, in a left right movement, which is bilateral stimulation of the brain. And that helps to engage a different part of our brain to reprocess a distressing memory or a distressing feeling or traumatic memory. When you have a physiological sensation that happens in your body as a result of a traumatic memory or a distressing memory, it sets off the alarm bells part of your brain, which is that fight flight or freeze response, many people, when that happens, you want to avoid that. Nobody likes that feeling. We want to basically try to get rid of that or sooth that sensation, what accelerated resolution therapy is so great doing that basically when we're doing accelerated resolution therapy, we are working to move that traumatic memory to a different part of our brain to file it away. So it doesn't set off those alarm bells and create such a distressing physiological reaction when we're actually doing accelerated resolution therapy in session, we are starting with processing the sensations in our body and learning to calm that body down. And then we're alternating that with reprocessing, the distressing image or distressing event, like it's a scene in a movie and you're watching it in your mind while following a hand back and forth. It's not hypnosis. You're completely aware of what you're doing. You're just working on reducing the problem sensations and filing away that memory differently. At the end, after you finish reprocessing that event, we do what's called voluntary image replacement, which basically we're creating a new image to sort of replace the one that was there before you keep the memory of what actually happened. You keep the facts, but you start to feel differently about it based on what you have chosen for your replacement image. So that's kind of a nutshell of what accelerated resolution therapy is.

Speaker 2:

Are there any risks to using art during pregnancy? The problem

Speaker 3:

Is there is not specific research done with art during pregnancy. However, there is quite a bit of research of EMDR being done during pregnancy and safely. And so I can say experientially and anecdotally that all of the clinicians in my group trained in art have done it during pregnancy. Um, the risks would be if there are particular complications with the pregnancy where it would be best practice to coordinate with the person's OB GYN or nurse midwife, the challenges, a lot of the medical providers aren't familiar with art, you could still ask if there are any concerning factors from the doctor's perspective that they would say, wait to do this kind of a therapy. Personally, I have never had anything negative happen by doing art. I've had all positive things. I personally don't do it during the first trimester last, because I believe that it is going to be a risk, but more because we know the inherent risk of pregnancy last during the first trimester is pretty high, about 25%. So I would never want someone to make that connection to believe that that is what caused it or for them to blame themselves more for agreeing to doing art. Do you want to say more about that with your experience? Yeah, I mean, I practiced the same way. I, I don't really want to do, um, any accelerated resolution therapy in the first trimester, but I I've done it quite a bit during the second and third trimesters and what I have found and what I have discussed with some OB GYN is that the, the benefits of doing accelerated resolution therapy for those clients much outweighs the potential risks because they're already so distressed. And especially those that might, you know, have had previous birth trauma and they're anticipating the second or third birth. And they're worried about that actually reprocessing their birth trauma and being able to basically feel better about it going into their, their next birth is much more beneficial that takes away some of the stress that they were at, the distress that they were having previously and the trauma that they're carrying in their bodies and the cortisol correct responses.

Speaker 2:

I think that's an important thing for not only providers to remember, but patients to understand is that there's an inherent risk of being pregnant and having complications and having the symptoms of both depression and anxiety, particularly something is activating as a trauma response can lead to some lasting impact all the way down to a genetic level for that person. Yes. Can you share with us how this is different, how art is different than EMDR.

Speaker 3:

I want to give a disclaimer that I'm not speaking to that eye, that any, that art at, let me start over with that. I want to give a disclaimer that my sharing more about this approach does not mean I'm saying that it's better than EMDR or brainspotting another similar eye movement technique. Um, so because really when it comes down to it, there are some similarities, they are both bilateral stimulation using eye movements. They're both used for things more than just trauma. They're both great modalities. Um, but based on client feedback of the people, the longer we've been doing art, we've had a fair number of clients who have also done EMDR prevus previously and given us feedback about their experience. And what they tend to say is that they like art better because the protocol for art is shorter. The average is one to three, uh, 50 to 60 minute sessions versus 10 to 90 minute sessions of EMDR. And so some people find that they don't continue with EMDR through the whole thing, or they find that it was helpful, but sometimes feel like it, it took longer than they would've liked it to. And I think therapy takes longer than we would like it to. But the main, the other feedback we hear from people often is that they feel more contained at the end of a session of art that they feel the event or, or the episode, whatever we're working on feels more resolved and less stop air T processes and entire event, instead of just assigning an image to an event. That's another key difference. It also actively in the moment addresses those strong emotions as they arise, clients are able to feel less distressed by their emotions. Air tea is a little less free associative than EMDR. There's definitely still some creative license with art, but it definitely has a simpler protocol. And it's less about cognition and focusing on thoughts. There's actually very little talking in art and sharing of what people are going through. We can give them an opportunity to talk, talk about it, but one of the beautiful things about art and this has been proven with the research, which largely has been done with veterans. It's a good approach for people who don't want to talk about their details, or even Tatie works with a lot of first responders and police who have classified details that they can't talk about. And it's just more retraumatizing. So especially for male clients who tend to not want to go to therapy anyways, it definitely gives them an avenue for not having to attend long-term or share a lot of detail about their trauma.

Speaker 2:

Is art therapy only for trauma?

Speaker 3:

No. Well, that is one of the things that it shares in common with EMDR is that it can be used for anxiety, depression, phobias. It can be used for a lot of different things.

Speaker 2:

What are some common uses for art therapy, particularly in the perinatal population. So anybody that's pregnant or postpartum

Speaker 3:

Total population, I definitely use accelerated resolution therapy with

Speaker 2:

Birth trauma pregnancy

Speaker 3:

Or infant loss. I've used it quite a bit. Anxiety, use it a lot for intrusive thoughts. I do use it for sleep as well, basically anything but anything that's distressing to the clients around that perinatal period. I also use it to process things that are related to parental themes in their own life. Yeah, that's a good one. I also use it in addition to the things Katie mentioned for infertility procedures, either past trauma or anxiety about upcoming procedures, a lot of grief that can come from loss or pregnancy after last, and a lot of phobias with this population. Things like a metaphor BIA, which is the fear vomiting it's. I can imagine it would be difficult to be pregnant with that phobia, Toca phobia, just a fear of births and fear of childbirth. So helping process through that, and then even germ phobias, germ phobias, or obsessions about germs chemicals, uh, and you know, it's enough difficult enough to be pregnant, but then worried about every single thing you put in your body to an obsessive point. It can be really useful for that.

Speaker 2:

Would art therapy make you forget any of your memories is

Speaker 3:

Already resolution therapy does not make you forget the memories. It helps you keep the knowledge, but lose the pain. You can recall those memories in a way that's, that's not so painful. And people tend to also not just not forget memories, but not bring up things that they aren't wanting to bring up, which is a common fear. This process is completely voluntary. And so you have to have the person's buy-in even before starting in order for it to be successful.

Speaker 2:

So does that mean that our therapy will not bring up unwanted or repressed memories? It certainly

Speaker 3:

Can bring up unwanted or repressed memories. There have been times where somebody has been going through their scene. They have remembered a part that they didn't previously remember, but art helps them to feel like they can handle it. So they have a very distinct way, a very concrete way in front of them to help them reduce their, their distress around it right there in the moment when they remember it, they're right there to be able to reprocess that and to calm their body down in the moment. Yes, I would. My experience has been that it's not necessarily repressed memories, but rather forgotten details about the event that a lot of times helps people feel more empowered and have more compassion for themselves. Yes, absolutely. I was, that's a great point because I had this a similar situation several times where somebody remembered a detail that helped them remember, oh, I wasn't alone in a situation. Like I thought I was, oh, I forgot about this piece. And now that I remember that now I actually feel better about the situation.

Speaker 2:

Why is it important to get rid of the physical sensations? Most people experience that with anxiety and trauma as well

Speaker 3:

Is a lot of research about the impact of trauma in our bodies or increased cortisol levels for a long period of time. And over the years, people developing illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic pain, other physical or digestive ailments. And so being proactive by addressing these symptoms and address the trapped trauma can help prevent some medical conditions. And in cases where that's already happened, reduce the intensity of that in the perinatal period. It's also crucial back to the question about risks during pregnancy, doing this with people during pregnancy and postpartum can prevent attachment disruptions that can come from trauma, anxiety, depression, all of the things that can get in the way of healthy attachment with babies,

Speaker 2:

Words of wisdom would you guys have for somebody who's either considering doing our therapy for themselves or possibly even another provider adding it to their practice

Speaker 3:

Clients. A lot of times when people come in and they're just stressed about whatever traumatic memory or distressing event or distressing feeling that they're having, when they're in front of me and I see how much they are hurting or struggling to be able to give them an opportunity to address that right then and there. And I will often say to them, this is probably the last time that you're ever going to feel this strongly, because we're going to be able to help you today. It feels very rewarding as a provider to be able to see such profound relief and change so quickly and clients, it also works well in conjunction with other therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, feeling like you have this tool that you can use it with an accelerated resolution therapy. You can combine that with another tool and have such an effective treatment. As a provider. I tell other people who talk about boy, that's expensive, or that's an investment. And I say, it's the best investment in my career. It has been the most useful tool. It's definitely not the only tool that I use, but it is a very useful tool, especially with this population because this population already has a hard time investing time and money and treatment. And if you can offer them a way to make that shorter, less stressful, less expensive, they're going to feel better, faster, and be able to get back with their life.

Speaker 2:

Somebody out there is listening and wants to perhaps do art therapy. How would they get in touch with you or your clinic?

Speaker 3:

They can visit our website, www dot Iris, mental health, M n.com. And there are several of us in the group trained in art and EMDR, and we are a trauma informed practice.

Speaker 2:

Thank you guys so much for your time tonight, Katie and crystal, for more information regarding art accelerated resolution therapy and Iris mental health. See the description of the podcast.

Speaker 1:

[inaudible].