Example cases

The following examples provide practical examples of the use of BART and qualitative accounts or patient reported outcome measures (PROMs)

Patricia and her son Sean

A patient had experienced numerous physical health problems culminating with diverticulitis and was at risk of developing peritonitis. My new intensive model of BART psychotherapy involved her attending for 15 hours of BART psychotherapy spaced out over 3 days. The feedback was so positive that she stated the detailed and in depth work had brought her more insight than the ten years of psychotherapy she had received previously. Her written feedback was as follows:

"In my session I was working on my recent traumatic experiences involving repeated infection, misdiagnosis and eventual development of septicemia on two occasions. The infections left damage to the bowel resulting in ongoing symptoms and in addition a recent diagnosis of diverticulitis. I was focusing on my experience of these events particularly the sense of not having a voice and not been heard throughout numerous assessments; I had felt very unsafe, helpless and uncared for throughout that time. I then focused specifically on the bowel symptoms, using the bilateral activation and was being guided through the "light stream” exercise by Art and had reached a stage in which I was imaging harnessing a source energy that provided a violet healing light; during this visualisation work I became aware of my father joining me to offer support and love - he died more than 30 years ago from peritonitis arising from a bowel rupture related to diverticulitis from which he had suffered for about 10 years. My eyes were closed but I "saw" him sitting to my left, slightly behind me with his right arm encompassing me. He emanated a powerful golden light from his upper and lower body and I could "see" a small section of his jacket around the righthand side pocket - a jacket I recall him sometimes wearing in the last couple of years of his life. The light was infinitely more powerful that the one I was visualising. . I "heard" him say, "that I did not need to suffer as he had done". My sense of his presence and communication from him was, as real as if I was seeing, feeling and hearing his presence but it did not involve any of the senses that relate to the outside world. It never occurred to me to open my eyes or to turn to my left to see him more clearly but the experience was absolutely as real. I could not answer the question as to how I knew it was he but I knew with the same certainty and recognition I would experience if my son or daughter suddenly joined me in a room in real life.

I experienced this and continue to experience it as a most ordinary event; my Dad just dropped by to help and yet my conscious mind sees it as an extraordinary event for which I have no rational explanation. I experienced a profound sense of safety in his presence; this is a novel feeling for me having grown up in a very insecure, unpredictable environment related to my father's alcoholism, which manifested in extreme binges every few months and my mother's untreated complex PTSD. The sense of safety has remained with me, not in the sense of a profound new experience as occurred when my father was with me but in an ordinary sense of it now being possible for me to live in the present in a way that was never previously possible. This has resulted in a new sense of vitality and pleasure in life."

This shows how BART psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that taps into a powerful source of healing at the deepest level of connection the patient can achieve with their loved ones. I also treated her 21-year-old son who has dyslexia and severe social anxiety. He had failed to socialise during his first year of university abroad and mum was concerned for his future. He also tended to have difficulty with organization and completing assignments partly due to his dyslexia.

Recent feedback is as follows:

"He seems to be really making strides. He has been out a couple of times each week with various friends and it seems to be an 'ordinary' event for him rather than a major anxiety provoking possibility. His work seems to be going very well and he sounds much more organized than ever in the past. Also, he is trying new
things and has just been rock climbing, not easy with size 13 feet! But he was very pleased that he did well at it, which is interesting as his balance and coordination were extremely poor as a child but that seems to have shifted. He sounds very happy with life at present."

This 25-year-old patient presented with social phobia and anxious attachment. This was related to a severe bout of gastroenteritis, which developed while on holiday with her parents in India age 21 months. She required resuscitation and rapid intravenous hydration and antibiotic therapy. She then was rapidly discharged and flown to Europe to prevent acquiring further infections to which her depleted immune system would have succumbed. This was probably involved in her Aetiology of clinical hypothyroidism for which she was on daily thyroxine. Some of her feedback was as follows: I was asked to describe two experiences from my time with this therapy. The therapy was intensive, spanning over the course of three days and I was very resistant to the whole process at the start. I do not like therapy in any form. I’m very sceptical of new forms of it. I had a bad experience with it once and closed the door on the whole affair. But my mother was insistent so I went along to appease her. It was slow going at first and it wasn’t until the second day when I had a session alone – as opposed to with my mother – that I actually saw why my mother and brother were so positive about it. Well, I felt more than saw. I don’t remember what we were actually discussing at the time but it was as if something changed. Picture this. A lightweight fabric, like a cross between a chiffon and silk, settling just above the elbows and it unravels at great speed all the way up to the temples, not quite touching the skin but there. If there’s warmth to it, it’s very mild but it has lightness to it. Almost like lightheadedness but far more pleasant. I described it as something like a freeway from the body to the head. Emotions, feelings, anything like that struggled to pass between my head and body –I can understand that, I have defensive walls about twelve inches thick – but I guess the emotional progression was being forced to move along with the vibrational buzzers and, eventually, if they couldn’t find a way internally, they found a way externally, through the ‘aura’ or mental mapping or whatever it might be. This reaction – because it was so vivid and undeniable (I really did feel something after all) – is the only reason I opened up to this process at all. Because I felt – physically felt – it was actually doing something. And I honestly believe it really did do something because each time I look back to have a hunt around for those negative feelings we had worked to dispel, I can’t find them. It’s like I have a memory of them, I know they were there once, but that’s it. The same way I know I broke a toe once, I remember it hurt but the pain isn’t actually there anymore. As it turned out – and this was the other thing I was asked to describe – that sudden lack of negativity is actually quite frightening. It sounds bizarre, I know. Who could be frightened of being rid of painful, ugly emotions? But it is scary because I had been carrying around those emotions for years, I had built defences against them and they had been there for such a long time, like a wet blanket I dragged around with me. And then suddenly they weren’t there anymore. It was just a matter of adjusting. This is certainly the only therapy, outside of traditional, that I would recommend to friends, simply because I can guarantee that, at least for me, that it worked. And it’s the only therapy I would go back to if I needed to deal with things. More than that, it’s a therapy that a person can take home with them, as in the techniques. I can take what I learnt from the sessions – like noting where feelings sit in the body – and work within myself to move them along, process them and remove them. Some implications for treatment of patients with symptoms of traumatic stress during sessions of BART psychotherapy. The patient may show ‘stuckness’ in trauma processing via a movement impulse as in the first example, a physical sensation, a gut feeling, reaction or instinct, a core belief or intense affect or destructive thought process. Individual therapies that focus on one or two of these may miss the vital factor causing the blockage to information processing. In the later stages of BART psychotherapy, wider chains of association to the original trauma are made with the patient. This allows any residual pockets of trauma to be located so that they can be actively reprocessed towards resolution and recovery. The patients usually respond by saying they feel lighter and, "It is as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders". I encourage the patient to notice further reprocessing that may occur after the session. This often comes in the form of a new insight or dream moving on from the original traumatic experience. I encourage patients to write this down and or email me so we can discuss the meaning for them at the start of the next session. Thus Rapid Eye Movement or REM processing continues for days and weeks after face-to-face therapy has ended. The cerebral cortex has space freed up to learn from and attribute meaning to their therapeutic experience. In a sense they gain a deeper level of insight.

A heavy goods vehicle driver was referred to me following involvement in a fatal road traffic accident several years earlier. Since then he had attended more than 90 individual sessions of CBT. He spoke of how he dreaded these sessions as he was often asked to repeat the history. This became increasingly difficult because of his dysregulated affect. He was in a state of speechless terror and experienced continuous fear and hopelessness. This had led to severe depression with suicidal intent. During BART psychotherapy I used bilateral cerebellar stimulation to regulate his affect. I asked him to imagine the chair as the driving seat in his heavy goods vehicle. I asked him to hold the bilaterally activated buzzers in each hand as if holding onto the steering wheel. I used the freeze frame technique to slow the reprocessing into manageable images. His peripheral nervous system became reactivated as if he was reliving the event in vivo. His grip tightened on the tactile buzzers and as re revisualized the point of impact his right leg shot forward as he sat in the chair. My patient had his eyes closed and was unaware of this instinctive motor impulse. When I drew his attention to the sudden movement, he realised this was when he applied maximum pressure to the brakes of his heavy goods vehicle. Metaphorically it was as if his life had been put on hold since the accident as at a somatomotor level he was still applying the brakes to his life in an unconscious way. During the BART psychotherapy session he was encouraged to mindfully let go of these ‘brakes’ in order to let his life ‘get back on the road’. This stoic patient was able to relive the experience and grieve appropriately realising that the driver who swerved into his path was the guilty party and that the accident was not his fault. The physical injuries he suffered from the accident and the associated traumatic images of the driver of the other vehicle were readily dealt with during several further sessions of BART psychotherapy. His latest feedback was that he had recovered his previous zest for life and was well on the road to recovery. The key learning point from this case is that the stuckness in processing was due to an unconscious movement impulse that had literally put the brakes on this patient’s life preventing him from moving forward. Identification of this and then mindfully allowing the patient to become conscious of this movement helped to lift his foot of the
brakes and start to gently press on the accelerator pedal again.

My name is Angela and I am the founder and head director of studies of 'I love dyslexia' language school, the first and only school in the world, highly specialized for teaching English as a foreign language to students with dyslexia and special educational needs in a holistic way. Our innovative school was established in 2009, and since then we have received numerous awards and we organize events under the auspices of UNESCO, as the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO has nominated I love dyslexia for Hamdan Prize. Personally, duo to my pedagogical innovation and its results, I found myself in the top 50 educators in the world for the Global Teacher Prize 2016 and I am presenting I love dyslexia holistic methodology that stands for sustainable development, next month in United Nations Geneva, Peace week. I am the leader of the literacy group of the Varkey Foundation, collaborating with Dr Reimers in Harvard University and I am Reseacher and teacher trainer in many European projects with Folkuniversitetet, Uppsala. I love dyslexia holistic method, which shares common ground and principals with BART model in educational context, received support and verification on its neuroscientific verification from Dr Theoharidis from Tufts University, while I am now collaborating with Birmingham University, graduate school of Education, designing a module in a new Master degree with Dr Reraki, where teachers will be trained on I love dyslexia approach. I had the honour to meet in person Dr O Malley in London, where we both presented in a Conference. I was really impressed by his innovative model of intervention and I immediately associated it with the innovative intervention we implement in I love dyslexia school, and has very positive and transformative results to our students. Later on during our common days I London, I had a Psychotherapy session with Dr O Malley, and it was a wonderful experience for me. I felt relieved and empowered as well as a sense of enlightenment. It felt like something worked in my subconscious level, and day after day after our session, I feel more relaxed, less nervous, with a wonderful positive sense leading my daily life. I believe that Dr O Malley's holistic, innovative approach of intervention has opened a new door to the field of psychotherapy as well as to holistic educational intervention, that has a lot to offer to humanity and the sustainability in the world. As a person, Dr O' Malley is one of the most virtuous, cultivated, luminous and charismatic people I have ever met, who in a very discreet and gentle way, communicates his personal and professional unique insight. I am so impressed by the results of his work on me, his deep knowledge on his field and the common ground we have in our innovative holistic approaches, and I know that is just the beginning of our collaboration, as we have already discussed the next steps of our professional common actions. Dr O Malley's model is based on the still quite unexplored power of the right hemisphere of the brain and that is why it is so unique in its nature and results. I am very grateful to have met such a charismatic and innovative professional in his field. I firmly believe the world will benefit a lot from his special talents and distinctive work. The main reason for discussing this case is that it provides an opportunity to extend BART psychotherapy into the education sector.
This 62-year-old male patient works as an integrative psychotherapist and is trained in EMDR. He agreed to the use of bilateral cerebellar stimulation using headphones placed over the mastoid processes and while also holding buzzers in each hand, which were activated continuously during our 2-hour sessions. In session 1 we started with the memory of a workshop which re-enacted birth memories. Although 30 years ago this therapeutic session was recalled as activating a sense of betrayal. The session ended with a clearer understanding of what his parents had to endure caring for an infant sibling who was chronically ill for years after my patient was born. He could appreciate how he had to fend for himself. In session 2 and 3 He continued to resolve deep seated emotional issues and connected to the powerful memory of a neighbour who had valued him as an individual in his own right age 10. We were able to transpose this figure as an alternative attachment figure and resource for present day issues. The key point about this work is that it has been completed entirely over the Internet although we are planning face-to-face sessions in the future I contacted Dr O'Malley to look for help with some very long standing difficulties in the area of attachment. Although now in my early 60s, I still carried some strong negative beliefs arising from my interpretation of events that I remembered in my family of origin. I also held some strong feelings around how I interpreted my own birth and around the subsequent 5 years of my life. Although this might appear to be fantasy, I had carried a strong belief that I was 'made' to be born without being included in the decision and that subsequently I resented my mother for this experience of being 'expelled' from the safety of the womb. However, through my work with Dr O'Malley I am now able to put these 'experiences' in context. When I was born, I was the third child. My older brother, who is two years older than me, was seriously ill and remained so for a number of years. It seems clear to me know that my mother was so concerned with his health that I was allowed and/or encouraged to develop a very early independence which I interpreted through a lens of resentment. I think that by nature I tend towards independence and exploration of the limits of work and play and can now make 'peace' with my internalised 'mother'. We now support each other and are also able to take time apart. A significant moment in my therapy with Dr O'Malley came when I was able to say to my mother: 'I've been away' (from her), to which she replied: 'so have I'. I look forward to continuing this work.
This 60-year-old patient had 1 3-hour session, which dealt with the following issues:
  1. When age 8 she had to leave the family home with her mother to escape domestic violence by her father against her mother.
  2. Memories age 5 when she had a cough and was told to be quiet by her mother so as not to upset her father. Aware of the abuse her mother was likely to be on the receiving end she almost suffocated herself with a pillow in an effort to keep quiet and sleep.
  3. Multiple episodes of child sexual abuse from age 8 to 11 from a neighbour who used to babysit. The buzzers where used to activate a sense of healing and I user the metaphor of using the buzzers as a taser to force him away from her.
"I visited Dr O'Malley two weeks ago to have a consultation with him and to take part in BART therapy. The session was professionally led and I felt fully supported both during and after the session. Whilst experiencing this therapy, I accessed memories and emotions, which were in a deeper level than I have previously experiencing. The session was quite challenging and I became very emotional on a couple of occasions, but I felt safe and in a supportive environment. I am a hypnotherapist and complementary therapist and have had psychological intervention in the past. Following the session of BART I had with Dr O'Malley I went through a number of experiences. For a number of nights after the session I had very vivid dreams, and although they were not disturbing, they were thought provoking. Two days after the session, I was so tired I felt that I could hardly move which lasted 12 hours. Four days after the session I had a very heavy cold, most unusual for me, with my nose just streaming and a headache. I am no stranger to healing crisis reactions from physical therapies I have had, but have never had this reaction from psychological therapy. My relationship with my husband of 37 years can be stormy at times and since the session I have been interacting with him on a different level. Previously I would of been afraid of confrontation and raised voices, my husband has a very loud voice and this has bothered me in the past. I have barely noticed it since, and have felt closer to him. There has been a communication issue for us as a couple for some time too and we have had some lengthy and intimate discussions over the last two weeks. I also feel able to better stand up for myself with people who I have previously perceived as difficult and demanding. I am feeling much more at peace with the world in general with myself."