EMDR for Anxiety
Around 20% of American adults experience anxiety disorders every year, and the symptoms and sensations associated with anxiety disorders can significantly affect a person's quality of life. Fortunately, EMDR therapy can help you achieve relief from your anxiety and learn the skills and positive strategies you need to live life to the fullest.
Unsure whether eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is right for you? Read on to learn more about how we can help you heal from distressing experiences and reduce the psychological and physical effects of an anxiety disorder.
What Is EMDR Therapy?
EMDR is a type of research-based therapy used to process and recontextualize traumatic experiences and reframe negative beliefs. The treatment mimics the natural event processing that occurs in the brain during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
EMDR therapy emerged in 1987, when psychologist and educator Francine Shapiro was taking a walk in the park. She observed that moving her eyes quickly from side to side reduced her feelings of distress when she thought about an upsetting event. This discovery led her to research the therapeutic potential of rapid eye movements, allowing her to develop EMDR as a clinical tool.
During an EMDR session, the person in treatment focuses on negative memories or thought patterns with the support of a therapist while moving their eyes rapidly from side to side. This eye movement is known as bilateral stimulation. This process aims to reduce the distress associated with the thought or experience. The focus of the therapy then shifts to reinforcing positive, constructive thought patterns.
How Is EMDR Therapy Used to Help Treat Anxiety?
Although EMDR is best known as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it's also an effective way to resolve the negative beliefs at the root of many anxiety disorders. For example, a person may have a longstanding belief that they must achieve perfection in everything they do, leading to intense feelings of anxiety around their work and family life.
EMDR can help treat anxiety by focusing on these beliefs until they no longer evoke intense negative emotions. Over several sessions, we can help you let go of the negative thoughts that fuel your anxiety and adopt healthier ways of thinking.
During the first stage, you will focus on your negative thoughts and feelings while practicing rapid eye movements until they lose their emotional power. Next, we will help you replace them with positive beliefs by concentrating on constructive thought patterns while continuing EMDR therapy.
Is EMDR an Effective Treatment for Anxiety?
A growing body of evidence shows that EMDR can effectively reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders when delivered by a trained therapist. These symptoms include feelings of fear or tension and the unpleasant body sensations associated with anxiety.
EMDR is also effective at treating anxiety following a distressing event. Research shows that focusing on a traumatic memory while engaging in bilateral stimulation can help reduce the amount of distress you experience when you recall it.
What Types of Anxiety Can EMDR Therapy Treat?
Anxiety can have multiple triggers, and these vary from person to person. For example, some people feel intense anxiety in social situations, especially when meeting new people. Others may find work situations triggering, such as making a public presentation or applying for a promotion.
Whatever your anxiety triggers are, engaging in EMDR sessions can help you overcome them. This therapy is suitable for treating a broad range of anxiety disorders and conditions that cause anxiety as a secondary symptom. These include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - PTSD
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Panic Disorder
- Phobias - Social Anxiety
You don't necessarily need an anxiety disorder diagnosis to benefit from EMDR therapy. Some people experience many symptoms of these conditions without meeting the full diagnostic criteria. If this sounds familiar, we can still help you work through your thoughts and feelings with EMDR therapy to gain relief.
Why Choose EMDR and Counseling Center for EMDR Therapy?
Choosing the right therapist is essential for getting the most out of EMDR therapy for anxiety. At the EMDR and Counseling Center, our expert therapists have a wealth of experience helping people like you get relief from their anxiety symptoms. We have an established track record for helping our clients achieve an improved quality of life after just a few sessions and ensure a safe space so that our clients feel comfortable and supported. Our specialty areas include:
- Trauma - Anxiety
- Depression - Self-esteem problems
- Grief - Attachment and childhood issues
- Interpersonal issues - Faith related healing and transitions