Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
When it comes to mental health challenges such as anxiety, finding something that works to control it can be somewhat frustrating. From medications to various types of therapies, many options may be beneficial to individuals who suffer from anxiety.
EMDR is a great therapy for anxiety because it works with individuals on reprocessing negative thoughts and emotions during certain situations. Throughout the eight steps during the EMDR process, therapists can help patients reduce the anxiety they may feel.
Determining whether or not EMDR is a therapy you should consider for your anxiety challenges, you first should understand what this type of therapy entails. Keep reading to learn about EMDR use for anxiety and it may be great therapy for you.
Can EMDR be Used for Anxiety?
EMDR, or Eye movement desensitization reprocessing, is an eight-step program that is used to combat many mental health challenges. While originally designed to help those suffering from PTSD, or Post-traumatic stress disorder, many therapists have discovered the benefits of using it for other ailments, including anxiety.
For those with various types of anxiety, EMDR can be used to reprocess painful memories that cause them stress. Through the eight steps of the process, individuals begin to react less to those same memories or thoughts.
Here are some of the types of anxiety that EMDR is said to help:
- Social anxiety
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Performance anxiety
While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of the various ailments that may be helped with EMDR therapy. Keep in mind that EMDR is not for everyone and should be discussed with your mental health professional before starting.
How Many EMDR Sessions are Needed for Anxiety?
The amount of EMDR sessions needed for those suffering from anxiety will depend on how they move through the various phases. This means that, since there are eight phases to the process, individuals and therapists could take fewer or more sessions.
In most cases, EMDR sessions tend to take anywhere from six to twelve times, depending on the individual and how they respond. Those who have mild anxiety challenges, they may be able to move through the program relatively quickly. However, those who have more severe cases, tend to need more sessions to work through the process.
It is also important to note that the amount of sessions also is dependent on your re-evaluation stage. For most people, this stage only requires check-ins to maintain the positive effects. For others, however, it may be necessary to repeat the entire EMDR process down the road.
Since the severity of anxiety can differ in individuals, it is completely up to the therapist and patient to decide what is working and what is not.
What Does an EMDR Session Entail?
Keep in mind that EMDR includes bi-lateral stimulation of the brain through various rapid-eye movements. During the movement of the eyes, the patient is instructed to first think of the situations that distress them, and then after a while they shift their thinking to something pleasant.
The eight phases one goes through during EMDR therapy are:
- Client History
- Body Scan
It is important to note that EMDR therapy only works when the patient follows through with their sessions as scheduled by the medical professional. This is because EMDR requires a consistent focus on reducing the reaction to stressful situations.
How Does EMDR Help with Anxiety?
When it comes to EMDR therapy, as with other types of options for those with anxiety challenges, the results will typically vary between patients. For many, EMDR can be quite effective in relieving many of the symptoms of anxiety during certain situations.
Using bilateral stimulation of the brain through eye movements while thinking of negative situations, therapists can retrain the brain to have fewer instances of negative reactions. This is done throughout eight sessions that are designed to be individualized.
Research shows that focusing consistently on rapid eye movement while recalling certain situations that can cause stress helps to desensitize individuals. Most therapists who use EMDR believe that it gives them the ability to distance themselves from the negative impact of situations that cause their anxiety.
A Great Online Resource for EMDR Therapy Online
While there are many choices out there for you to choose from when it comes to EMDR therapy, some resources may work better for you. With the flexibility that came with the recent pandemic, it has become easier and easier to get the help you need.
If you do not have the time to find a local therapist who does EMDR, there are available online options. Doing EMDR virtually can help those who are either limited on time or who may have anxiety about seeing someone new in person.
The Virtual EMDR website is a great online resource for many people since it is done completely online. This resource comes highly recommended by the World Health Organization, American Psychiatric Association, and many other organizations.
With more than 10,000 sessions that are done every month on this website, there is a 90% success rate of patients who have had positive results. Additionally, by doing your EMDR therapy through this virtual resource, you can schedule it at a time that works best for you.
For a small fee of about $69 per month, individuals can schedule an unlimited amount of sessions to help them combat their anxiety or other mental health challenges. Since the premise of EMDR is based on eight sessions in total which are done throughout six to twelve sessions, many find that they only have to pay for one month.
It is important to keep in mind that while going through EMDR typically only takes the eight phases, the final phase of re-evaluation means that you may need to have maintenance sessions from time to time.
Overall, EMDR, while created originally to combat the effects of PTSD, since anxiety has similar effects, the therapy has been effective here as well. If you are interested in trying EMDR therapy you should either search for local therapists or try out the Virtual EMDR website for more information.