It is difficult to express at what point of the story that led me to sitting in room with Kendra Simpkins, and committing to RRT. I am sure that every veteran has sought means of reconciling their present lives with the lives we lived before and the disconnect that those experiences sometimes drive us towards. For me, RRT was not the beginning of the story, but it is certainly the best part. I attempted all kinds of traditional therapies, and some not so traditional, but all required the same thing: reliving these experiences and "tearing the scab off". This never worked for me, and it never worked because traditional therapies require someone to calculate time in a linear fashion where points of departure can be traced and put in order. For my personal experience, this just isn't feasible, so I had settled in and accepted the fact that I would have to learn to live with these inconsistencies. The problem with this strategy is you do not learn to live with these things, but rather these inconsistencies in the programming becoming more deep seeded, and the brain's reactions to them become more intense.
And then my wife mentioned something called RRT. I did some research, watched some videos, and saw the amazing impact it had on my wife. I had already made up my mind that I had tried everything, and I would not have anything to lose by giving RRT a chance.
Kendra and I spoke briefly on the phone, and then I flew down to Sarasota to give this a chance. When I met Kendra I instantly realized that Kendra does not know a stranger. She has an easy smile, and put me instantly at ease knowing that I had no idea what was about to happen. I would love to be able to tell someone play-by-play what happened during the session, but it is difficult to describe to someone how a color made you feel and why.
What I can tell you is what the transformation was like: My symptoms walking into the office, in a general sense, were things like insomnia, intense anxiety, metabolic issues, pelvic pain, headaches, short temper, an apparent "fight or flight" response that would not turn off, a general malaise, a logic/decision process that I did not trust in my own brain, and the list goes on (and I am sure this list is not unique to me).
When I left the office that day, it was the last time I experienced any of those things. That is not a joke. After I left Kendra's office it was the last time I had a list of any kind. The stress response, the fight or flight response, the brick in my stomach.....all gone. The physical issues I was having were gone. Seriously. They were apparently psychosomatic and the results from the session with Kendra freed all of those things.
The result is that I think my brain has been able to take a deep breath for the first time in decades as far as I can tell. Kendra found a way for my subconscious and my conscious to be on the same page to evaluate the "now" as it is, and not anchored by emotional responses from "then". All that and I barely even realized it was happening!
RRT is not another treatment, it is a revolution. Everybody should do this regardless of experiences, or how we rate them. If you are a veteran, this is essential to living a "normal" life again. RRT does not require anyone to rip scabs off, just the ability to trust for just a few hours that this is going to work because it does."
My name is Jenna Marie and Rapid Resolution therapy changed my life.... and my perspective on so many things.... In just a few hours I was released from pounds of previous trauma and I owe it all to Kendra Simpkins..... Years of counseling was nothing compared to this.... I was using drugs to self medicate and I was taking all my anger out on people who were closest to me.... I realize now that I can't change any part of my past.... it has to happen that way.... but now? It simply does not exist.... Healing was something I never thought would happen.... but it did and I'm finally smiling... a real, genuine smile.... Thank you Kendra... You saved me.... You gave me back my wings and I am forever grateful."
I am so grateful to you for the counseling and RRT that was so effective for me in a relatively short time. It literally changed my life. As someone new to counseling, I had no idea what to expect, but you immediately made me feel comfortable and feel that you cared about me. With your help I was able to discover the underlying cause of my despair and then how best to deal with it. The nature of this anguish was one that will never "just go away", because you can't change history, but you helped me learn how to live with it with a new outlook. That allows me to enjoy life again in a way that I didn't think was possible, and for that I cannot thank you enough!”
I have to say, I feel so much better!!I feel more comfortable in crowds and a really interesting thing is that I am not craving eating in the same way. Last night I didn’t finish my plate at a restaurant because I knew that I was full and just didn’t want to eat anymore. I always clean my plate at a restaurant!! Being a skeptic in the past, I’m a little bit in shock and cautiously optimistic… thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
I feel so much better. I’m sort of amazed at the work because it seems so not traumatic and dramatic. I’m noticing every day things are changing. I noticed today that I was emotional over something but it didn’t completely take me over. I don’t get super taken by my emotions. There was a moment in our session that really shook be because this is now, who cares what was before or what to come. I feel so much bette, so much calmer, so thank you Miss Kendra. I look forward to seeing you again. There’s no need to search for other types of therapies, this is awesome! I feel really way more calm.”
As a veteran with severe PTSD and TBI I have been since 2005 dealing with a lot of mental illness, i have pretty much tried everything , self medication, alcohol , all conventional therapy and the drugs prescribed for PTSD and of course nothing has worked . Today I was very anxious to meet Kendra, I was very nervous! Scared to have a failure again ....it was just simply amazing , so relaxing, ...I left Kendra office with a smile , with confidence with no pain ....now I m looking forward to enjoy life again , to be happy like I used to be !!! You are a life changer Kendra !!!! Thank you so very much !"
I'm so confused as to what you've done but I can't even force emotions. Thinking about my events feels the same as reading a phone book. Haha I'm fully impressed! Thank you so much Kendra. I'm still doing great and somewhat confused hahaha. Well I just had my first ptsd appt and was honest with her because this was too obvious a change to hide. Her question is if what we did is different from accelerated resolution therapy? I hope you're doing well- and Vince WILL be in contact with you because what you did is incredible and you should feel like you make massive differences in people. Every day I thought about killing myself and I wanted to go back to killing bad people- I'm just so calm now lol so thank you more than anything Kendra! If there is anything I can do to help or to become more proof this works, I'd love to help those dealing with the same thing. This is incredible, I was so close to giving up when we met, you're gonna save a lot of lives with what you're doing. Thank you thank you thank you! …. You have changed my life.”
It was a blast. Very otherwordly combining old healing arts it seemed and modern day psychological expertise. Very trippy. Totally enjoyed my experience and look forward to another session!!!”
Anyone familiar with my writing knows I am NEVER brief. Sorry. However long this piece may be I hope that the insight I share about Kendra Simpkins will be worth the read.
November 2, 2017, I had a scheduled appointment with Kendra Simpkins at her office in Sarasota, Florida. Kendra is an Army veteran with her MSW from Columbia University in New York City, my hometown. Kendra focuses her practice serving veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is a practitioner of Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) a therapy pioneered by Dr. Jon Connelly of Delray Beach, Florida, who is Kendra’s mentor.
I am a Vietnam era Army veteran, and worked as a Military Policeman at Fort Ord, California. When I completed my active duty, I began working for the California Department of Corrections as a Correctional Officer. I had a very diverse career in corrections retiring after 28 years as the acting Warden of a maximum-security prison. During my time both in the Army and in corrections I was involved in plenty of violent confrontations, some involving the use of deadly force. I have processed more bloody crime scenes, murders, suicides and stabbings than I care to remember. In all these years I have been involved in incidents in the community, both before retirement and after retirement, that called on my training and experience as a peace officer to take action which involved significant risk to myself. I thought that I was able to handle all of stress and incidents through the years and was completely fine. I grew up in a military and paramilitary climate that encourages soldiers and peace officers to “suck it up.” We don’t show emotion. We don’t let any of what we see or do effect our lives. Anything less is a sign of weakness.
On May 30, 2015, my life changed forever. My partner of many years died of breast cancer, her third time inflicted with this deadly disease. I was her caregiver 24/7 for most of 18 months and stayed side-by-side with her, my Battle Buddy, through radiation treatments, chemotherapy and all the side effects, the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dehydration, pain, difficulty breathing, installation of a port in her chest because her veins were inaccessible, and a filter implanted to keep blood clots from killing her. I watched a vibrant, energetic, and damn good-looking woman waste away in front of me and there was nothing I could do to stop her inevitable death.
The resiliency that had carried me through three decades plus of a risky profession, a profession where I had control of outcomes, had failed me. At least that’s what I perceived. In response to her death, I drank too much, kicked myself thinking I should have done more or something different to change the outcome and keep Colleen alive. I lashed out at people for trivial things, was quick to anger and damaged relationships. I did some really foolish and potentially dangerous things. What I was experiencing was acute grief. What I learned from the bereavement group I attended through the hospice that cared for Colleen in her last two days of life, was that while experiencing acute grief my judgment and decision-making was seriously impaired. I also sought out treatment from an LCSW who counseled grieving survivors. All this ‘treatment’ lasted a little over 2 ½ years, and despite it all I was not feeling or functioning any better.
I am no genius, but I am self-aware enough to know I needed something different. A psychologist friend and colleague from my Department of Corrections days who knows me well and knew the relationship between Colleen and I, and knew what I was suffering told me many of the symptoms I was experiencing were consistent with delayed onset PTSD mixed with grief. That was now my focus. And that’s where Kendra Simpkins comes in. I needed a therapist that focused on what I now was able to identify as the enemy plaguing me – PTSD and grief.
My appointment with Kendra was set for November 2nd. We started the session at 11:00 a.m. and ended about 6:35 p.m. with only a 20-minute break in the seven-hour day. After dumping all the baggage, I had been carrying around for decades and the unending pain from losing Colleen, Kendra guided me through basically rewiring my brain to change the way I was thinking about painful events. I needed to stop reacting to threats that no longer existed, painful events that are in the past. Reacting to past events as if they are present is unrealistic. Thinking now that I can do something in the past, doing something different in the past is impossible – it couldn’t happen. If I were confronted with the same issue I would react exactly the same way I did. No regrets! No guilt!
Worrying about tomorrow? It hasn’t happened yet. How can I fear something that hasn’t happened? When tomorrow comes I will face the challenge whatever it is. Anxiety? Whatever it is hasn’t happened yet so anxiety is unfounded.
The constant feeling of hypervigilance, anxiety, guilt about something I cannot now nor could have controlled in the past is gone. The best seven hours I have spent in my 65 years.
From the seven hours of RRT, I formed an opinion of Kendra Simpkins. Kendra is fearless and pursues what sets her soul on fire. Helping veterans and first responders is her passion and it shows in her interaction. Some people come into your life just to teach you how to let go. That’s a real gift. I am very grateful to have received this gift.
I am forever in her debt. For the first time as far back as I can remember I have not felt this free and relaxed because I have been now able to let go of events in my life that have so occupied my thinking that days were a struggle.
If you think this is a rousing endorsement for Ms. Simpkins, you read it correctly. I hope more practitioners learn the RRT process so the unmet needs of those who have given so much for our country and communities, and now live with the trauma that comes with that service can be helped. I hope that more practitioners have the fire in their soul for this therapy that Kendra so amply shows."
Having tried several different modalities, I wasn't sure if Kendra could help me, but felt compelled to reach out to her. After sharing some traumatic experiences of my past, I asked if she thought RRT would help me in which she said, "Yes!" I was hopeful, but didn't want to get my hopes up to high to be disappointed once again. Fast forward to after the session, when we were done, I felt like a whole lifetime had been lifted. But again, I didn't want to get to excited because nothing in the past had really stuck. It's now been a couple of months since our session and all I can say is Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I'd have to write a book to tell you all of the inner changes that have occurred, but I'll just say that RRT is the modality that worked for me!!! Thank you Kendra! So grateful that you are doing this work. It's a blessing to all!"
I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday. I woke up this morning with a feeling of lightness and comfort and enthusiasm. Really appreciate your help!"