After security guard Brian Burns experienced a traumatic event, he was haunted by disturbing thoughts.
“It stirred up a lot of emotion,” said Burns. “When I closed my eyes to try to rest, I would envision the scene, the individual, how they appeared. It was hard to rest or even go to sleep at night.”
Like many first responders, Burns routinely encounters troubling situations in his work. Many states are currently considering legislation would enable first responders to receive worker’s compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that they develop as a result of trauma on the job.
As a first responder, “you can’t really talk to anyone about what you’re experiencing, because you’re afraid they’re going to say, you’re weak or what is your problem,” said Burns.
Burns received treatment from Estefana Johnson, LMSW at Right of Way: Accelerated Resolution Therapy in Phoenix. Johnson led Burns through a series of eye movements while talking him through the process of substituting positive images for painful memories. Unlike traditional talk therapies, ART does not require clients to rehash troubling events.
After just one ART session, Burns felt dramatically better. “Those overwhelming emotions went away. I was able to sleep normally again. Even months later, I still feel so much better,” he said. “After ART there was a real sense of closure.”