Monday, December 31, 2012

Forgetting Self-Esteem

By Mark Chidley, LMHC, CAP
            Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy    

Some people pursue feeling good about themselves like a hobby. It reminds me of the little boy prodded by his mom to kiss his aunt at the family reunion. As far as it's contrived, forced, and not genuine, neither the aunt nor the little boy get anything out of it. It seems self-esteem comes through other means than by grasping for it or trying to manipulate it into being. I'd like to share this excerpt from Ron Siegel's contribution to NICABM which was recently posted online. Siegel, a Ph.D, and one of the leading lights on mindfulness studies said,
"There has been a lot of work done recently - Kristin Neff has probably done the most research on this, and Chris Germer has done a lot of work with this - basically showing that self-esteem doesn't contribute to happiness. So, I work with folks a lot to try to help them see how the whole quest for self-worth is actually a doomed enterprise, and that seeing the way the mind creates these feelings that either I am worthy, or I am unworthy, or I am good, or I am bad, or I'm capable or I'm incapable - that these are just an endless, narrative report card that keeps passing through the mind."

In Rapid Resolution Therapy, we zero in on this disturbance as we consider with participants how a wolf thinks while chasing a rabbit. The wolf, whose mind can't consider itself, like a human mind can, would never think, "Oh, I wonder if my coat is glistening today?" Her mind is totally tuned-up, present-focused on what she's doing. If the wolf catches the rabbit she doesn't pause to feel good about herself either. She actually doesn't feel anything about herself at all.

If you ask a concert pianist how he feels right after a magnificent performance, he might say that he feels exhilarated. But when you ask him why, he'd explain it was because he was totally into the music. He got absorbed in it; he gave himself to it. But it wouldn't be because he was appreciating his own qualities, like his finger dexterity, as he played. The whole question of how he was feeling about himself during the act of performing would strike him as absurd.
Likewise, if you were to interview an Olympic sprinter right after running a career-high time or an NFL pass receiver making catch after catch as his team marched downfield, the answer you'd get about how they felt would be something like, "I dunno, I was just in the zone. It felt great." There is an exquisite, joyful awareness of time, movement, the act of creation, and intense involvement as the play or the symphony develops, but it is not about one's self. At the height of this kind of experience, the self actually disappears. The headlights are out, not in.

Some get stuck on the notion that they don't feel good because of how someone else once treated them. It's a done deal, they think. I was mistreated; therefore I missed out. Or they think it's a mysterious puzzle that they and their therapist must solve in order to feel good again. I like Jon Connolly's story about the psychiatrist who showed one guy an inkblot. The patient said, "The family is all in the garden. How nice." He showed it to the next patient who reacted, "My God, get that man away from that little girl. How horrible!" Now what did the psychiatrist learn about the inkblot? Nothing. He already knew about ink and forming inkblots. He sure might have learned something about the two patients, however. We need to help people get it that when they bump up against certain people in life, they are the inkblot. We can't learn anything about them through the actions or reactions of others.

I listen closely to the language of troubled people. Somewhere along the line they bought into the mistaken idea that there is a hole within them that must be filled, some experience, talent or trait that other people have in an unknown quantity. That if they just had enough of it, they'd be happy. Now they have to go out and get it, as if it's outside somewhere. What they're after they often call confidence or self-esteem. It's a bunch of hogwash. It's not how it works.

Keeping the headlights out is a truth we ought to be transmitting more and more to clients who come in our doors. There is a mountain of pure baloney out there, promulgated through popular literature, self-appointed "coaches" and traditional counseling theory that would send people in the wrong direction. They read or listen to all the pap and become experts in analyzing themselves, measuring themselves against some ideal, going further and further in manipulating and thus objectifying themselves. There is an implicit unfriendliness in this, a rejection going on here that deeper mind does not miss. They are getting further away from the joy of participation, of giving oneselfunselfconsciously to the task at hand, the creation of beauty in the moment. That, it seems to me, is what paves the way to mastery and confidence, happiness and deep contentment. Just ask any wolf.

Mark A. Chidley, LMHC, CAP, a fully licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, offers counseling services at his office Kelly San Carlos Executive Center in Fort Myers, Florida.He has been in private practice since 1997. He holds certifications in Rapid Trauma Resolution (2010), Imago Relationship therapy (2001), and now specializes in the treatment of couples as well as individual trauma recovery and anxiety issues. He brings rich experience from a combined 26 years of hospital work and mental health counseling.    

Thursday, December 27, 2012

RRT Clears A War Veteran's PTSD

A former Veteran shares how Rapid Resolution Therapy cleared his PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and anger issues from war trauma. Dr. Quintal & Associates are professional counselors based in Sarasota, FL,that successfully treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD and other mental health conditions with both traditional therapy and Rapid Resolution Therapy. For more information, please visit

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fear of Phobias

By Tara Dickherber, M.Ed, LPC
Senior Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy 

Prior to my training, and continued training, in Rapid Resolution Therapy, I was seriously afraid of phobias. Well actually as a therapist it frightened me to have a client come to see me who had any type of phobia. Why you may ask? Because I had no clue what to do with a phobia, how to lessen that fear for the individual, let alone clear that phobia out! 

Now however, I have a much deeper understanding of the complicated human mind, and when someone mentions they have a "phobia" I just dive right in and clear it out.  My first experience since learning how to clear phobias as an RRT therapist was with a client who had a deep fear of driving on large highways. (I tried to find an actual phobia name for fear of driving on a highway, but I couldn't find one.)  She could drive around her small town and go to work and the grocery store, etc. But to drive into the city or even come see me, it meant having to drive on a large highway system and thus she had to have someone bring her to her RRT appointments. So in her second session we tackled that with great success. She even drove home feeling completely calm and confident! 

Since then I have helped two more clients clear their fear of flying (Pteromerhanophobia). The first client had numerous flights scheduled throughout this year and had to take prescription medications just to get on the plane. When she completed her first flight after our session she immediately e-mailed me to say she had just had her first amazing, medication-free flight! The second client that approached me with this phobia noted she didn't take medications during the flight but had panic attacks at take-off and landing. Again, I cleared it up! She noted that the flight she had after that session was much better and felt that what we had done was successful. 

The most recent client I worked with had Ophidiophobia - fear of snakes. Unfortunately for this client she has had a den of snakes under her deck. Prior to coming in to see me she had a professional come out five times to remove five different snakes. She told me that even looking at pictures of snakes made her skin crawl, and she became panic stricken. She had actually been avoiding her backyard because of those snakes. When we were done she pulled out her smart phone, pulled up pictures of snakes and had no emotional or physiological reaction!

To sum it all up, my fear of phobias (Phobophobia) has cleared its self up! Another Rapid Resolution Therapy success!

Be well, Be happy - Tara

Tara S. Dickherber, M.Ed, LPC
1360 S 5th St., Suite 394, St. Charles, MO 63301

Friday, December 21, 2012

Clearing Substance Addiction: Allergy Plus One

 By Dr. Jon Connelly

People who have experienced active addiction and those who have relationships with these people struggle to understand what is going on. They wonder what causes this problem to take place and cause so much misery? Most people realize that addiction has nothing to do with intelligence. We know that there are brilliant people who have become addicted and that there are people of very low intelligence who have not. I find that in general people blame the problems associated with addictive behavior on issues involving mental health, family problems, a lack of will power, strength of character, values, integrity, ethics, or morality.

Imagine a shelf with beautiful hand carved figurines that have taken thousands of hours from skilled artists to create. There is a hand puppet that picks up one of the beautiful and fragile figurines and begins to smash it. One by one these priceless works of art are destroyed. A man confronts the puppet. He has tears in his eyes due to this senseless destruction. "Why?" He asks, "Why? Why? Why?" The puppets answers: "Ask the hand."

Addictive behavior has nothing to do with mental health. There are people who are emotionally disturbed and mentally ill who have never and will never become addicted. It has nothing to do with strength of character or will power. There are addicts who are best-selling authors, mountain climbers, body builders, and concert pianists. There are people with no morality or ethics who have never become addicted just as there are compassionate and highly ethical people who have.

The AA Big Book speaks about disease and about the concept of allergy. Most people in Twelve Step programs use the word disease much more than the word allergy but I believe that allergy is a more useful concept. An allergy simply means that a particular substance is bad for someone. With most allergies the individual has no interest in repeating what was bad for him. Someone who has an allergic reaction to a bee sting is not looking to get stung again.

Think of addiction as allergy plus one. It is an allergy with one extra quality. It causes an obsessive desire to do what one is allergic to again and again. When the addiction is strong it takes over the individual's mind in the same way as the hand controls the puppet.

For someone to examine himself or become introspective in order to understand his addictive behavior makes no sense. The answer does not lie within the puppet -- it lies within the hand. When addiction is strong it can withstand the forces of reason, logic, morality, or intelligence. If you have acquired clean time you have weakened addiction. When addiction has been weakened it can be controlled and contained. The key is to continue to weaken addiction and the way to do that is to starve it. Create an embargo - a no-fly zone. Make sure it never gets fed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Share RTR With Fellow Colleagues In This 1-Hour Online Training Presentation

Give your colleagues and new mental health professionals an inside look at how Rapid Trauma Resolution can quickly clear and resolve their client's trauma in this free 1-hour RTR online training video.

Throughout this presentation that Certified Practitioner Courtney Armstrong and Dr. Connelly put together, you will learn:

  • The key to resolving traumatic memories that other therapy approaches are overlooking
  • Neuroscience findings that support RRT's philosophy
  • Multi-level communication techniques that reach both conscious and subconscious
  • How to pinpoint the exact event to target and resolve
  • Cost: Free to mental health professionals!
  • Requirements: You must be a mental health professional. Due to the confidential nature of the material that the client in the video presents, we must restrict this course to mental health professionals.
Visit to access this free online training video!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mind Body Healing Hypnosis: Techniques For Adults and Children

Master Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy 

On September 13, 2012, I was privileged to spend the day with an amazing group of therapists, who attended my Children with Hypnosis training, at the Bethany Center here in Tampa. During that training I felt many kindred spirits and was able to witness their deep commitment to go the extra mile for the most vulnerable in our society.  I am constantly amazed by the resilience of children and others that have been traumatized, and their desire to strengthen themselves and progress in life.

The RRT community has always impressed me with their caring attitude and the deep desire for knowledge, and I was not disappointed. I was excited to share techniques that I have been utilizing successfully with both children and adults and received wonderful feedback.  Throughout the training each person was able to share stories of success, ask questions, and develop skills. I was amazed by each person and their willingness to put themselves out on the line for the group's benefit and their own personal healing. It is this atmosphere of collaboration and healing that has inspired me to move toward teaching. 

I am now looking forward to presenting a new trainingMind Body Healing Hypnosis: Techniques for Adults and Children to be held at the Bethany Center on January 25-27, 2013.  I developed this training with Laura Delle Donne, LMHC, and it is devoted to skill building and personal growth.  During this training you will learn how to: use age regression to dissolve disturbing thoughts, ideomotor signaling to address trauma and physical symptoms, individualizetrance for your clients and so much more. 

The Bethany Center itself is a place of peace and beauty. It is the perfect location to offer a training dedicated to survival and renewal.  Laura and I look forward to seeing you at the Bethany Center on January 25, 2013.  If you have any questions you may contact Lynn or Michele at:

Your Promote Healing Team
Phone: 813-991-5593
Toll Free: 866-615-(HEAL)4325

Molly Sanford, LCSW, CHT is a National Board Certified Hypnosis Instructor, Developer of Hypnosis with Children and Heal The Healer Seminars, Trauma Specialist, Experienced Crisis Therapist, Certified EMDR, and a Master Practitioner RRT, RTR.

Monday, December 10, 2012

RRT Study 2 Alert!

Greetings and Thank You to Each of our RRT Study 2 Therapists!

In the past month, Melinda or I have reached out to each of you by phone to see how you are doing with completing the study packets for your five clients. Many of you have been unavailable, so we left a voice message asking that you contact us via email (note that Melinda has a new email address) or a phone message (352-476-5599) to let us know how you are doing and alert us if you are having any problems. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to reach out to so we can help if you are having difficulties or answer your questions.

We hope that each of you received the replacement address labels (with our new study administrator Shanley Lawler's address which replace the old ones addressed to Denise Smith) sent by Lynne. If you have not received these labels please contact Lynne at the RRT office at 1-800-587-2623.

A few folks have not yet had enough clients with a trauma who are willing to participate. Please be creative and perhaps volunteer a few hours at a rape crisis center or a homeless shelter. Others have been overwhelmed by personal challenges (family crisis, illness or moving) and haven't been able to start yet. Know that there is still time to participate in the study! We hope that by the end of this year each of you will have provided the building blocks for this foundational study. 

This study is our golden opportunity to provide the evidenced based research to take our unique, effective care to the next level of acceptance within the healing community. Our study is already generating interest at the individual therapist level (potential new RRT therapists) on up to health care corporations always looking for effective treatments. This small study is being done by ALL VOLUNTEERS and we thank each of you for your time and effort!

Article courtesy of Dr. Sharon Richie-Melvan, MSN., Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Colonel, US Army Retired. Dr. Sharon also co-authored the book, "Angel Walk: Nurses at War in Iraq and Afghanistan," with Dr. Diane Vines, Ph.D, Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist. Within the book, Dr. Sharon recommends Rapid Resolution Therapy as a PTSD treatment approach.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Success with RRT!

I work in a community mental health agency in Pasco County, FL. Today I was booked from 8 am to 6 pm....including an Anger Management group! At noon, my schedule was blocked for 120 morning was running behind as I tried frantically to be fully present and get the paperwork done. My noon client hadn't checked in so I reviewed the file. This client was a woman I had met one time in her home through our Veteran's initiative grant at the request of the therapist working through this grant. My schedule was blocked, but I was supposed to be at her home, not in the office and it was pouring rain. It seemed like a good way to get out of the office at the time!
I rushed to the appointment and met the primary therapist there. The client is a 40-plus year old woman who had been sexually abused by her father and uncle from the age of 6 until she escaped the house at 16-years old. She is married and has an adult son, however the impact of the trauma was getting increasingly worse for her. 
My client was able to identify a specific incident from when she was 6-years old. She remembered being forced to perform oral sex on both her father and her uncle in the presence of her 3-year old sister. The threat was do it or she and her sister would be killed. Using Rapid Resolution Therapy I stepped her through the events that occurred and her symbol was the wind. The wind was able to blow the meaning her mind had placed on the event away. Her mind of course showed her the perfect symbol! At the end of the session she reported, "I don't feel anything about it nightmare is over."
I am so grateful for the RRT skills I have learned and the opportunity to use them with people who many times have given up hope that the trauma will ever go away.  
~ Elizabeth Dillon, M.Ed

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trauma Resolution and The Brain

By Melinda Paige, Ed.S, LMHC, LPC, NCC, Master Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy 

Trauma clinicians are increasingly being asked by clients and fellow clinicians alike, "Is Rapid Resolution Therapy evidence-based?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!"

In fact, Dr. Connelly's approach and clinical hypnosis are supported in the trauma literature. A list of references is provided below for your professional development and to strengthen your ability to advocate for RRT and trauma-informed treatment. In summary, the literature suggests the following:

Painful exposure techniques are not required to clear traumatic memory. All that is required is keeping the client "emotionally present" as she describes the details of the event. This concept was introduced by trauma clinician and founder of Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Jon Connelly, Ph.D, LCSW. Current neuroscience and trauma research by Bessel van der Kolk, MD and Dan Siegel, MD have also reached similar conclusions.

When we keep the client emotionally present, we are preventing the amygdala from activating the fight/flight response; amygdala activation inhibits the functioning of the hippocampus and parts of the pre-frontal cortex. The hippocampus and certain aspects of the pre-frontal cortex are responsible for integrating memory and tempering emotional responses. If these parts of the brain are inhibited, then the memory remains in the more primitive part of the brain as a non-verbal, implicit or felt memory. When a memory stays in this implicit form, associated sensory details like smells, times of year, sounds, and visual images can trigger the same feelings of terror as the original event; however, these triggers are often unconscious.

One goal of any trauma therapy is to integrate the traumatic memory into conscious, explicit memory. To accomplish this in session, trauma clinicians utilizing Rapid Resolution Therapy keep the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex functioning rather than encouraging the client to emotionally relive the event which activates the fight/flight response and causes abreaction thereby inhibiting reprocessing and reintegration of the traumatic memory. According to Connelly (2011), in order to facilitate client recall of a traumatic event without abreaction, effective trauma therapists ground clients in the present by providing experiences in session that require clients to respond emotionally to the present situation or "what is happening." 

Connelly also suggests providing opportunities for clients to be in a "power position" while retelling the trauma narrative so that the client has a resolution experience which is the antithesis of the often disempowering traumatic event. This process allows the client's central nervous system to remain within the window of tolerance for optimal reintegration of the previously traumatic memory within normal memory.

Melinda Paige, Ed.S, LMHC, LPC, NCC is the Executive Director for the Institute for Rapid Resolution Therapy and is currently an RRT Master Certified Practitioner after training with Dr. Connelly for the last six years. She has been treating survivors of trauma for the last fifteen years as well as providing counseling training at universities and conferences throughout the nation.
Melinda holds a masters degree in mental health counseling and an educational specialist degree in professional counseling.  She is currently completing her doctoral degree in counselor education and practice at Georgia State University. Melinda's treatment outcome research involves establishing Rapid Resolution Therapy in the trauma literature as an evidence-based treatment for survivors of trauma.  She is a licensed mental health counselor (Florida), a licensed professional counselor (Georgia), and a national certified counselor (NCC) in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Connelly, J. (2011). Rapid Resolution Therapy. Jupiter: Institute for Rapid Resolution Therapy.
  • Cozolino, L. (2010). The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • Damasio, A. (1999). The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.
  • Foa, Keane, Friedman & Cohen (2009). Effective Treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. New York: Guilford Press.
  • LeDoux, J. (1996). The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. New York: Touchstone
  • Levine, P.A. (1997). Waking the Tiger. Berkley: North Atlantic Books.
  • Mockus, S., Mars, L. C., Ovard, D. G., Mazelis, R., Bjelac, P., Grady, J., et al. (2005). Developing consumer/survivor/recovering voice and its impact on services and research: Our experience with the SAMHSA women, co-occurring disorders and violence study. Journal of Community Counseling, 33(4), 513-525.
  • Ogden, P. (2006). Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Siegel, D. (2010). Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: Random House.
  • Spinazzola, J., Blaustein, M., van der Kolk, B.A. (2005). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Outcome Research: The Study of Unrepresented Samples? Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(5), 425-436.
  • van der Kolk, B. McFarlane, A., and Weisaeth, L. (Eds.) (2007) Traumatic Stress: The Effect ofOverwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society. New York: Guilford Press

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mind Body Healing Hypnosis: Techniques For Adults and Children

***Attention RRT Practitioners***
Read Below For Special Pricing!

About This Training
We are excited to announce a new training for therapists interested in dissolving trauma with hypnosis. Learn to use Hypnotherapeutic Techniques like Age Regression, Ideomotor Signaling, Mind/Body Awareness and Cognitive Flips to deal with disturbing thoughts and underlying issues that some of our clients experience.
* Self-Hypnosis and how to teach your clients
* Age regression to target and dissolve disturbing thoughts and events
* Ideomotor Signaling to address physical symptoms and trauma
* How to deepen trance, what to say when eyes are closed and Hand Inductions
* Experience guided, interactive meditation, understand mind/body connection and energy shifts
* Shifting traumatic memories and ending the loop that keeps clients stuck
* Rational Hypnotherapy and the Library Technique
* Anchoring within Hypnosis to shift negative self-concepts

National Board Certified Hypnosis Instructor, Developer of Hypnosis with Children and Heal The Healer Seminars, Trauma Specialist, Experienced Crisis Therapist, Certified EMDR, Master Practitioner RRT, RTR
Developer of Women's Wellness and Healing Retreats, Expert Mindfulness and Regression Therapist, Trauma Specialist, Certified NLP, Master Practitioner RTR, RRT, REBT 

What they are saying...
"Molly is amazing! I just attended my 2nd training. Not only did I take away a score of amazing techniques, but in about 10 mins with Molly she healed my trauma and accompanying long-term back pain! Molly has to be experienced to be believed."  
- L.F. Beverly Hills

"Laura has a true gift for healing. She has a direct, easy teaching style. I learned new trauma techniques beyond just desensitizing the client and how easy they transfer for our clients everyday issues!"
- J.M. North Carolina

Enroll Today! Only $485 per person
Early Bird: $395 Receive discount if you register by Jan. 4
RRT CP's: ***$285*** Early Registration

JANUARY 25 - 27, 2013
LOCATION: Bethany Retreat and Conference Center
18150 Bethany Center Dr., Lutz/Tampa FL 33558
Single Occupancy+6 meals $350
Double Occupancy+6 meals $300
Commuter: $125

***Bethany Center has a NO refund policy after Jan. 11

Registration:  Friday 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Program:       Friday 1 - 7 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday 9 .m. - 4 p.m.
You may cancel your registration by contacting us by Jan. 4, and you will receive a tuition refund less a cancel fee of 10% of the total tuition.
Please note: Occasionally changes are made due to speaker availability, participant demand or unforseen circumstances. While Molly Sanford, LCSW, and Laura DelleDonne-Schmidt, LMHC, will do everything possible to ensure participant satisfaction, Molly S. and Laura D.'s liability is limited to the tuition fee.
Please remit Registration and Payment to:
Your Promote Healing Team
Phone: 813-991-5593
Toll Free: 866-615-(HEAL)4325
We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How RRT Prevails Over Most Therapies

By Mark Chidley, LMHC, CAP
            Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy     
All therapists have the common experience of sitting in a first-session intake with a distraught client where you learn that they have tried therapy three, four, five, half a dozen or more times before for the same issue. Some might ask themselves, "What about them has made it so hard for others to help them?" That is the wrong way to look at them. The reason this client has not found relief is typically because the prior therapists didn't know how to fix what was wrong. You see, clients are in pain and their pain makes them very persistent in their search for relief. They will tolerate being viewed as a walking pathology but will not tell their therapists about the toxic effect that it is having or the fact that the therapy really isn't working for them. They are on our turf and they know it, and even the boldest of people will keep it to themselves. They will simply cancel their appointment one day and stop coming in.

So what is going wrong? I didn't really understand it until I studied and became certified in Rapid Resolution Therapy. RRT clinicians are taught to pay very close attention to the connection that is forming from the very first moments. We are taught to speak with our intended effect always in mind. If we can't help the client, then we make it clear to them that it's due to our lack of skill and not some defect in them. We don't put it on them or make it about them. But happily and thankfully most of the time we can help and usually within the first few sessions.

My purpose here is not to explain the technical side of how this is done but rather to show what's usually going on and contrast it to what I consider a qualitatively better experience. Not long ago, I watched a tape of a therapist of another stripe working with an Iraqi vet with severe PTSD. She had been with him for a whole year of sessions and yet he was still flooding, having nightmares, unable to work, drinking episodically to manage intense distress, mired in deep shame about his condition and the effect it was having on his marriage. She was trying her best in a conjoint session to improve the connection between the vet and his frustrated, scared spouse. The discussion that ensued among mental health professionals in the room assumed this man was unfixable and that he would have to live with his condition forever. That at best, a stronger relationship with his partner could possibly buffer the devastating effects of PTSD and counseling would aim at helping them manage it together. As beneficial as a good marriage might be, I saw right there, with the technologies on hand to address some of the more difficult conditions, many of us therapists have lost hope in our own craft. They continue to meet with clients, as this therapist had, under the cloud of knowing they have little to offer for the problem at hand and think they are doing well with at least offering "support." But that crucial shift would never be directly disclosed.

I stopped to consider what a curious thing this is that might only be happening in our field. If a dentist couldn't fix a tooth or a mechanic couldn't repair a car system, they would say so in the work-up phase and either refer to a more qualified colleague or break the bad news without delay. There is a basic dishonesty going on in mental health. I can't say for sure why it occurs. My guess is it occurs unintentionally because of a confluence of complex causes that exist in our field, among them shame at not having an answer, the need to be needed, and sharp ideological competition. I couldn't help but wonder what effect meeting under this cloud would have on both therapist and client through time.

I imagine it like this:
This vet would continue to come in for his weekly supportive meeting with his individual therapist. He would be looked upon as an especially problematic (read hopeless) case and everyone right out to the receptionist at the front desk would view him that way. He would be recommended to go on regular doses of prescribed medication and warned he must stay on his regime. He would pay his copays and assemble and submit the documentation necessary to stay on disability, which would now be incentivized and protected because itʼs his only means of income. He might be funneled into a support group with other vets who've come to see themselves as broken and be encouraged to sit with them once a week and talk about it--the misery of living with horrific symptoms and just struggling to stay alive. This is the current state of the art, with few exceptions. Iʼm thinking if Iʼm that vet Iʼd go anywhere, to the ends of the earth if necessary to escape this fate. I would avoid like the plague anyone who would see me that way or recommend that dance card as my primary treatment plan. I would want to start fresh with someone who believed I could get well.

Iʼve been trained in a way that is more effective than most and looks at clients as people who can get well. Iʼm aware as I write this we in the RRT community havenʼt done a good job of getting the word out. We have to do better. We have to let those with broadcast abilities know that weʼve left behind our traditional training and the dead ends it leads to, and that we do therapy in a much different way and from a much different orientation.

We don't just care, we actually repair.
Mark A. Chidley, LMHC, CAP, a fully licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, offers counseling services at his office Kelly San Carlos Executive Center in Fort Myers, Florida.He has been in private practice since 1997. He holds certifications in Rapid Trauma Resolution (2010), Imago Relationship therapy (2001), and now specializes in the treatment of couples as well as individual trauma recovery and anxiety issues. He brings rich experience from a combined 26 years of hospital work and mental health counseling.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Many Wonders of the Brain

Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy

Someone contacted me recently asking for help with a family member who had been suffering extreme depression during the past six months. She explained that this woman had seen a number of therapists, had been hospitalized after trying to commit suicide, and was presently living with round-the-clock supervision, since she was unable to adequately take care of daily tasks. The woman who contacted me lives in another state, and she heard my work from another person (a "six degrees of separation" type of thing!). She said she was willing to try anything, but she was skeptical that Rapid Resolution Therapy would help. This is common for most people, so I didn't think much of it. But what struck me most was how "in the dark" people are about mental health. 

Having recently finished Norman Doidges's The Brain that Changes Itself, I see that there is no longer any question of the brain's adaptation to experience, both rewarding and challenging. Study upon study, as demonstrated in the chapters of the book, show very clearly how the brain rewires and adapts to the experiences the individual encounters. From retraining the brain to acquiring movement after a stroke to reorganizing the brain so that blind people learn to see and autistic children can learn to speak and interact*, the book is, without a doubt, required reading for anyone interested in the mind. I particularly liked the part about how imagining lifting weights strengthens the muscles of the arms almost as much as actually lifting the weights!

RRT works precisely because of its ability to reorganize the mind. As repeated over and over again in neuroplasticity lingo, "neurons that fire together, wire together."  By looking at things in a different way, we automatically draw our minds toward that and, in doing so, automatically rewire our brains. An alcoholic thinks about the joys of alcohol all the time, so his/her brain is wired in that way. Reorganizing the mind to no longer focus on alcohol, for instance, we are rewiring the brain. A corollary to the above statement is that "neurons that fire apart wire apart." So when we get the client's brain to no longer find alcohol appealing, we are changing the map of the brain and changing how the neurons interact with each other. 

The book is readable, interesting and highly entertaining. Whatever opinions I may have of it don't nearly do justice to the actual studies that are cited or to the conclusions that are drawn. My only disappointment is that nowhere does the author refer to Jon Connelly or to Rapid Resolution Therapy. I'll have to email him about that...

*I worked with a young man with Aspergers, which is thought of as a high-functioning autism. He was brilliant (on his way to a prestigious law school) but lacked even the most basic of social skills. I saw him twice. His mother called two weeks later to thank me for the wonderful change she saw in her son. Whereas he rarely spoke to anyone, he was now flirting with a waitress at a restaurant; whereas he hated talking on the phone with his critical and impatient grandmother, he was recently chatting with her about his life and inquiring about his aunts and uncles and cousins. His mind and brain were now working in a useful way!

Susan Wolfson, LCSW, is a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Therapy who maintains a successful practice in Bradenton, Florida. You can reach her through her website at or follow her blog at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Art of Science - Guest Blogger CP Mark Chidley

By Mark Childley, LMHC, CAP
Certified Practitioner, Rapid Resolution Therapy
In the Middle Ages physicians used to deal with fevers, infections, and all manners of illness by bleeding the patient. Cuts were made in various strategic places on the body, and it was believed letting blood flow released pernicious elements such as too much heat, bile, phlegm, etc. Later on researchers got the idea of replacing blood. At first the blood of sheep and other farm animals were used because it was thinner, cooler and didn't clot so quickly. But given in any doses but small quantities, the patient usually died. Primitive goose quills were used long before silver pipettes and eventually needles. If a person had an open wound in the 19th century on the American frontier, it might get packed with bear grease or even dirt. Disease killed more soldiers in the Civil War than bullets because prior to germ theory, men routinely drew water for drinking and cooking from the same streams or lakesides they used as latrines. Only by degrees did medicine evolve new practices based on matching blood type, using sterilized instruments, creating a sterile field in wound care, and practicing basic sanitation.

Recently Melinda Paige, Ed.S., LMHC and Master Practitioner of Rapid Resolution Therapy wrote, "Traditional grief counseling is based on the belief that painful and sad feelings need to be experienced even more than they have been in order to finally be released." This, we could say, is representative of the old medicine in our field. It is in contrast to newer findings from brain research that if the amygdala and the HPA axis (responsible for the fight, flight, or freeze response) can be kept quiet while the prefrontal lobe reprocesses experience, frozen grief and other painful reaction patterns actually seem to heal more efficiently. Fear and traumatic hyper-arousal constricts awareness and inhibits learning. It seems the brain can resume normal exploration of reality, rewire itself and relearn almost anything, including trust, if provided a safe haven and dependable context.

John Bowlby, as early as 1969, started defining working models of the self as interpersonal and relational. Dan Siegel has expanded this into an interpersonal theory of mind thatshows how moment by moment responses in therapy can be used to reconstruct experience in a more positive way. Self-concept is always in relation to others and clients who have suffered painful blows to their identity through trauma can be made accessible to a wider cache of potentially available images used to construct a sense of self, providing the therapist can create a special atmosphere of attuned responsiveness, comfort, respect, and structure.

Rapid Resolution Therapy incorporates all these lessons as therapists pinpoint and eliminate each factor that leads to debilitating traumatic responses. We dismantle destructive meanings and build, throughout the session, toward a new, emotionally neutral re-assignment of traumatic material as mere "data," shifting it away from a repetitive reliving of the experience itself. We offer a safe haven of attuned responsiveness in which clients can look through a different lens to see their own life and the actions of others in a way that sets them free from the disabling constructs of the past.

The business of science is to illuminate the existence of things through a dispassionate examination of causes. It is a slow, methodical way of widening our perception of the world  and stands in contrast to the many ways we get bogged down while making sense of things. We recognize this and teach our clients that moralisms, dogmas of the past, and other faulty explanations can take us off track and even cause further harm. Yet there is no place for arrogance in this, merely gratitude. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, as we open ourselves to what new insights science has to teach. We allow our own minds to be updated and look back on what we've done as the best we could do with what we knew at the time. We add new tools to a widening arsenal and apply them to the endlessly fascinating enterprise of helping others.

Mark A. Chidley, LMHC, CAP, a fully licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, offers counseling services at his office Kelly San Carlos Executive Center in Fort Myers, Florida. He received his education at The University of Iowa, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of South Florida. He has been in private practice since 1997. He holds certifications in Rapid Trauma Resolution(2010), Imago Relationship therapy (2001), and now specializes in the treatment of couples as well as individual trauma recovery and anxiety issues. He brings rich experience from a combined 26 years of hospital work and mental health counseling. He is married and has three children.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Success at Level I Training!

Dear Jon,

This is Carrie Springer writing. I had the pleasure of attending your Level I training this weekend (the grasshopper phobic). I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, both for the time you took to teach us, as well as for the amazing work you do for trauma survivors. I have been doing trauma work since I was in training and am truly passionate about helping trauma survivors find peace and happiness. I like to think I have done some very good work, but now I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am on the way to healing others in a way that is more powerful than anything I have ever done. I am more excited than I have been in a long time as a professional. More excited than ever, actually. I'm sure you hear this a lot!

I am looking forward to continuing my training. I now see my professional future in a way that brings me both peace and excitement! I know that you have many practitioners already doing pro-bono work. But still, I am sure a great need still exists. I know I have a lot of learning to do yet, but I would like to offer my willingness to provide pro-bono treatment if there is a need. I am in Valrico (the Brandon ,FL area). Please don't hesitate to call me, particularly if I can offer help to someone who might otherwise not get treatment.

I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks,
Carrie Springer, Ph.D., is a psychologist practicing in Valrico, Florida. Her areas of clinical practice include sexual trauma, women's issues, and lesbian/gay/bisexual affirming therapy. You can reach Carrie through email or phone at 941-704-6668.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rapid Trauma Resolution: An Advanced Model of Treatment

Certified Practitioner Wayne Brown shares his excitement in the genius that is the Connelly method of Rapid Trauma Resolution. This advanced model of treatment utilizes multi-level communication eliminating the negative effect from painful life events. This unique and respectful approach to healing facilitates transformation through powerful tools that effect emotions, beliefs, expectation and even perceived identity.
Learn advanced and innovative techniques while becoming effective facilitators of growth and healing. Rapid Trauma Resolution provides emotional freedom to survivors of sexual violence, incest, child abuse and other traumatic events.

Learning Objectives:

  • What are the elements of building a strong connection with clients?
  • How to speak in a way that is understandable to the subconscious?
  • What are activators and how can activators assist clients with trauma resolution?
  • What are 3 ways that trauma causes harm?
  • What is the neuroscience of trauma?
Date: November 21
Time: 1 P.M. EST
Duration: 1 hour

To register for this Webinar for 1.0 Continued Education Units, please click here
Certified Practitioner Wayne Brown, LCSW, CAP, CHt, maintains a successful consulting and psychotherapy practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In his role as adjunct professor for the faculty of general education at Everest University, he teaches courses in psychology, critical thinking and motivation. Wayne obtained his B.A. from the University of Toronto and his Master of Social Work degree from Florida International University in Miami. Wayne has completed intensive training in Clinical Hypnotherapy at the Institute For Survivors of Sexual Violence, Inc. In addition to his private practice Wayne regularly conducts lectures and workshops in the South Florida community, and was most recently recognized by the Florida Department of Health "for his enduring commitment to the profession".