Is EMDR Effective for treating Anxiety and PTSD?

In short, yes!

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) was created for and best known as a therapy for treating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) by Francine Shapiro.

It is also recognised and recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) and WHO (World Health Organisation) for treating PTSD.

Due to EMDR’s success with treating the varied symptoms of PTSD, it’s use expanded to treat a range of issues, such as anxiety, fears and phobias, low self-belief, depression, addiction, unwanted behaviours, many associated problems are often rooted in some form of trauma.

The eight phases of EMDR enable effective emotional healing from either sustained or one-off traumatic experiences. Our mind’s primary focus is for our survival. At a time of emotional distress, the mind can supress details to ensure you can still function despite the circumstances. The long term problem is, supressing creates blocks in both cognition (thoughts) and emotions. The pattern of thought or behaviour that was once necessary and essential for survival; now blocks capability to create a life of meaning and joy.

Using EMDR for Generalised Anxiety is very common as its benefits are being understood more widely. During EMDR, the person will be asked to recall either a strong memory or a sensation relating to or provoking the anxiety. This tightly controlled and well managed exposure to trauma enables the person to reframe the event from the position of power they hold in the present day. Bilateral stimulation performed by the coach acts as a portal into the experience that creates the anxiety.

EMDR stimulates and brings forward the natural healing process through bilateral stimulation. During each cycle of stimulation, a person focuses on a problematic sensation to honour its existence. This forms part of the ‘desensitisation” of the issue; to explore awareness and to accept it’s existence. The benefit of gradual and deeper desensitisation from the issue proves empowering, similar to exposure therapy. It gives the person the strength to realise they have the capacity to move through the discomfort.

With each cycle of stimulation (there can be up to 25 per session) the person moves through a range of sensations, thoughts or feelings connected to the original problem. The moving through is known as ‘reprocessing’. It is usually intriguing to people to observe and learn the way their mind made meaning of an experience.

Can EMDR Help You With Generalised Anxiety?

If you fall into the small population of people with brain injury or a serious diagnosed mental illness then EMDR may not be an effective modality for you. For the rest of the population, EMDR will certainly reduce the intensity of negative cognition/emotions. The real benefit of the EMDR is the radical change in self-perception.

You will become an observer/witness to your discomfort which as you progress through EMDR helps you to come to a few key realisations.

Realising you are no longer the same vulnerable person you once were. Realising you played no part in the way your mind made meaning of an event, it could have gone any way. Realising you now have the capacity and capability to reframe or respond in any way you chose from the perspective of the adult you are now.

During the last phase of EMDR, you’ll be guided to install your preferred thoughts which plants a new seed and takes your life in the direction of your choice. I usually incorporate Hypnosis sessions into the programme to install the new positive beliefs deep into your subconscious mind.

If you’re struggling with severe anxiety, EMDR can be effectively incorporated as part of a wider care plan which may also include prescribed medications by your GP.

I hope you’ve found this article on EMDR helpful. Hi! I’m Roksana, a life coach for women in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I’m always happy to answer your questions around any of my methods or approaches. Long term changes begin with a guide who has walked a similar path, has a blueprint, will give you support and accountability every step of the way. If you’re interested to know more then please book a FREE call with me.

Let’s have a chat

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