Can EMDR work for anxiety?

by Dec 19, 20220 comments

You thought you could handle it. You assumed if you gave it a little bit of time it would pass. But here you are, days, weeks, or months later, and you still feel the same way.

You’re not sure what to do about it. It’s starting to creep into your daily life and routine. You didn’t think it would affect you like this, but it has, and now you’re at your breaking point.

You’re not really sure what to do about it. You’ve done some research, but you want to make sure it’s the right fit. You want to make sure it’s going to work. Whether you’re completely new to therapy or your therapist recommended EMDR as a treatment option for you, let’s learn more about what it is and how it may be able to help with your anxiety.

So, let’s find out if EMDR can work for anxiety.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a type of therapy that works to help individuals reprocess any negative or traumatic events, establishing positive beliefs along the way. EMDR takes a person’s thoughts, memories, and emotions and combines them with bilateral stimulation in order for the brain to heal.

During an EMDR session, a client will typically be in a safe and secure place like their therapist’s office. In some cases, it can also be done remotely.

The Types of Anxiety that EMDR Can Help

EMDR therapy is a highly effective treatment option for individuals experiencing anxiety. Research has proven that EMDR can help with the following types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety

How EMDR Works for Anxiety

EMDR typically has eight phases for treatment.

  1. History taking
  2. Client preparation
  3. Assessment
  4. Desensitization
  5. Installation
  6. Body Scan
  7. Closure
  8. Reevaluation

During an initial assessment, you’ll start off by talking to your therapist about your past history and any memories or specific anxieties that you’d like to target. Your therapist will work with you to help prepare for your first EMDR session by talking you through the process and giving you examples of ways that you can cope during the session and in between sessions.

During the desensitization phase of treatment, your therapist will have you focus on the negative memory or feeling while asking you to tap or follow their and movements. It’s believed that this kind of eye movement triggers biological mechanisms similar to what happens in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. This is the phase of sleep where your brain processes the day’s events, a.k.a. memories. As such, EMDR allows the brain to tap into its natural memory processing functions.

This process will continue until the memory is no longer distressing to you.

Next Steps

Anxiety is not something you should or have to deal with on a daily basis. In fact, if you’re noticing that your anxiety is starting to have an impact on your daily life, then it’s usually a good sign that it’s becoming a larger issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Working with a licensed and trained therapist can be exactly what you need to help you learn more about your anxiety. A therapist will work with you to help you determine the root cause of your anxiety and help you come up with ways to cope and better manage any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.

Whether you’re interested in general therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, reach out to us today to set up an appointment.

Click here for more information on anxiety therapy 

Click here for more information on EMDR therapy