EMDR Therapy for Phobias and Anxiety

Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, we can develop phobias of virtually anything. Most phobias develop in childhood brought on by a traumatic event, but they can also develop in adults. A simple or specific phobias is characterized by a excessive fear of an object or a situation, exposure which causes an anxious response, such as a panic attack. Adults with phobias recognize that their fear is excessive and extreme, but they are unable to control it. The feared object or situation is usually avoided or anticipated with dread. Phobias can limit a person’s life experiences creating great distress. Phobias and anxieties are the result of unprocessed events from the past. EMDR therapy has been proven to be effective at treating phobias and anxieties.

I use a modified EMDR therapy protocol for treating phobias.  The steps we take for treating phobias with EMDR therapy is listed below.

The steps that I take in treating phobias with EMDR therapy:


1

Process past event/s that laid the foundation of present problem.

EMDR Therapy for Phobias and Anxiety

  • First I start by gathering our clients history about fears and phobias.
  • Then I identify what object or situation the client is fearful of and what the consequences or catastrophic thoughts they are having.
  • We then identify the origin of the current fear such as, “when did this fear begin” and “when did you first become aware of the consequences of it”?
  • I will then check to see if there might be a earlier memory that comes up for the client related to this fear. We will process the earliest memory of the fear response.

2

Process worst event, most recent event and current triggers.

  • We review the most fearful experience (the most extreme or most frightening) and start by processing that with EMDR therapy.
  • We then identify the most recent time that you experienced this fear (which is still disturbing when you think about it now)? We  process this memory with EMDR therapy.
  • Next, I process with EMDR therapy any recent triggers of the phobia and any physical body sensations.
  • With certain phobias I will have clients run a detailed mental video of the whole sequence, using bilateral stimulation to process any distress or anticipatory anxiety.

3

Develop future template of coping with feared stimuli/ situation.

  • I then work with clients to identify future scenarios and with bilateral stimulation install new thoughts and feelings that are more helpful about the phobia and fears.

Anxiety

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In order to help clients reduce or eliminate their anxiety I use a modified EMDR therapy protocol. First, I assist my clients in identifying and processing with EMDR therapy the earliest memory associated with the anxiety including the emotions, body sensations and negative belief’s about themselves. Next, we identify and then process the most recent or present day situation that causes anxiety. Finally, with bilateral stimulation I help clients to develop a future template or images of a desired emotional and behavioral response.

You don’t have to feel fearful and anxious. Make an appointment today.