Trauma Relief and the Convergence of Two Careers
Jan 31, 2019 02:52PM
By Linda Sechrist
During a 30-year successful career as a psychotherapist, Robert M. Cicione accomplished what others in his field hadn’t. The trauma specialist, who practices in Bonita Springs, allowed his lifelong hobby and parallel career as a fine artist to provide the portal for developing his widely recognized Trauma Relief Unlimited (T.R.U.) method, which has been peer-reviewed and published in the scientific literature in 2002.
Cicione, an artist since childhood, didn’t take painting seriously until he was age 31. “In seventh grade, a teacher told me that I definitely had artistic talent. I continued painting into adulthood for the sheer joy of it, exploring various mediums such as oils and acrylics and styles such as representational, expressionism and abstract. It was many years until I decided to seek out mentors and look for shows where I could enter my work,” says the author of Trauma Relief Unlimited, whose paintings appeared frequently in New York’s major art shows and occasionally in international shows.
It took nearly 20 years and a self-posed question for Cicione’s T.R.U. method to reveal itself. “The first 15 years, I personally used a variety of art related exercises as a form of self-therapy, and observed that art was an incredibly powerful process for ridding myself of excess anxiety and raising my spirit. While I’d recognized and acknowledged the incredible renewal, rejuvenation and revitalization power of art, I had one question; ‘How I could marry psychotherapy and trauma relief?’”
In 2011, when the revitalization power of art and the need to find a more effective way than talk therapy to treat trauma survivors converged, the T.R.U. method was born. “It happened when I began using what I knew about art to treat patients. The right-brain, non-verbal protocol went through many changes and refinements to become the streamlined version of traditional art therapy that it is today,” advises the native of Providence, Rhode Island.
“While art therapy takes several months to achieve results, T.R.U. takes one to six weeks, and does not require a patient to paint. In the case of a one-episode trauma, consistent and reliable results occur in one 45-minute protocol of hand movement exercises. Unlike traditional art therapy that has been used almost exclusively with children under age 12, the T.R.U. method is for all ages. It represents a major breakthrough in treating trauma survivors, surpassing the effectiveness of art therapy and more commonly used left-brain, talk therapies,” advises Cicione, who believes that if he had not held two careers simultaneously and only immersed himself in psychology, T.R.U. would never have emerged.
“Psychology was the cauldron,” he advises. “Painting hijacked the chattering mind. Just as the mind of the dancer disappears into the dance, the mind of this artist disappeared into the art, and what needed to emerge did so onto the canvas of life.”
Cicione, a licensed clinical social worker, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Providence College in 1972 and a master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1977. He is a former visiting research associate at the Brown University Department of Psychology and Neurosciences. Much of his trauma research was completed in conjunction with Brown University and the Rhode Island Foundation.
Trauma Relief Unlimited is located in the Sunshine Professional Center, 9200A Bonita Beach Rd. in Bonita Springs. For more information, call 401-441-7028.