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  • Writer's pictureLauren Blackwood

What is EMDR, and how can it help with anxiety?


Are you constantly battling anxiety, feeling like you’re stuck in a whirlwind of worries and stress? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by anxiety attack symptoms, unable to break free from the grip of chronic stress? If so, know that you’re not alone. Anxiety is a common struggle for many, especially those who have experienced emotional wounds from dysfunctional family dynamics. But there is hope for relief and healing through a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).


What is EMDR, and how can it help with anxiety?


EMDR is a powerful psychotherapy approach that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders. Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR works by targeting and reprocessing disturbing memories and experiences that contribute to emotional distress.

Here’s how it works: during an EMDR session, the therapist guides the client through a series of bilateral stimulation, which can include eye movements, hand taps, or auditory tones. These bilateral stimulations help activate the brain’s natural healing processes, allowing the client to process and integrate past traumas in a safe and controlled environment.


But how does EMDR specifically address anxiety?


  1. Identifying Root Causes: One of the key aspects of EMDR therapy is uncovering the underlying causes of anxiety. Oftentimes, anxiety stems from past experiences that have left emotional wounds. These could be events from childhood, such as neglect, abuse, or dysfunctional family dynamics. Through EMDR, clients can explore these memories and understand how they contribute to their current anxiety symptoms.

  2. Reprocessing Traumatic Memories: Anxiety attack symptoms can be triggered by specific memories or experiences that are stored in the brain in a dysfunctional way. EMDR helps reprocess these memories, allowing the brain to make sense of them and integrate them into a healthier narrative. By doing so, the intensity of anxiety associated with these memories is significantly reduced.

  3. Building Coping Skills: EMDR not only focuses on processing past traumas but also equips clients with coping skills to manage anxiety in the present moment. Through techniques such as grounding exercises, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, clients learn to regulate their emotions and respond to stressors in a more adaptive way.

  4. Changing Negative Beliefs: Chronic stress and anxiety often stem from negative beliefs about oneself and the world. These beliefs are often formed in response to early life experiences and can perpetuate feelings of insecurity and fear. EMDR helps identify and challenge these negative beliefs, replacing them with more positive and empowering ones.

  5. Promoting Emotional Resilience: By addressing past traumas and building coping skills, EMDR helps strengthen emotional resilience. Clients become better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and setbacks without being overwhelmed by anxiety. They develop a greater sense of self-confidence and inner peace.


Now, let’s take a closer look at how EMDR can specifically help with anxiety attack symptoms and chronic stress:


Anxiety Attack Symptoms: Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are intense episodes of fear and anxiety that can be debilitating. They often come on suddenly and are accompanied by physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and chest pain. EMDR can help alleviate anxiety attack symptoms by addressing the underlying triggers and reducing the overall intensity of anxiety.


During EMDR sessions, clients are guided to recall specific memories or situations that trigger anxiety attacks. Through bilateral stimulation, the therapist helps the client reprocess these memories, allowing them to release the associated emotional distress. Over time, clients report a decrease in the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks, as well as an increased sense of control over their emotions.


Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is a prolonged state of heightened arousal that can have serious consequences for both physical and mental health. It can weaken the immune system, disrupt sleep patterns, and contribute to the development of various health conditions. EMDR offers relief from chronic stress by addressing its underlying causes and promoting relaxation and emotional regulation.


By targeting past traumas and negative beliefs that contribute to chronic stress, EMDR helps clients break free from the cycle of worry and tension. Clients learn to identify and challenge stress-inducing thoughts, allowing them to approach life’s challenges with a greater sense of calm and resilience. They also develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress more effectively, reducing its impact on their overall well-being.


In conclusion, if you’re struggling with anxiety stemming from emotional wounds related to dysfunctional family dynamics, EMDR therapy offers a path to healing and inner peace. By addressing the root causes of anxiety, reprocessing traumatic memories, and building coping skills, EMDR empowers you to reclaim control over your life and experience greater emotional freedom. Say goodbye to anxiety attack symptoms and chronic stress, and hello to a brighter, more fulfilling future.


If you’re ready to embark on your journey to healing, reach out to a qualified EMDR therapist today. You deserve to live a life free from the burden of anxiety, and EMDR can help you achieve just that. Take the first step towards a brighter tomorrow – you won’t regret it.

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