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