Updated: Apr 7
Phobias can cause significant distress and interfere with daily life, affecting approximately 10% of men and 20% of women in their lifetime (Gustavsson et al., 2011; Kessler et al., 2012). Fortunately, effective treatments, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, are available for individuals struggling with phobias.
EMDR therapy is a relatively new form of psychotherapy that has been proven effective in treating a range of mental health issues, including phobias (Lee et al., 2018; van den Berg et al., 2020). By targeting and processing traumatic memories or experiences that may be at the root of the phobia, EMDR therapy allows the individual to reprocess the information in a less distressing way, leading to a significant reduction in phobia-related symptoms (Shapiro, 2014).
EMDR therapy can treat a wide range of phobias, such as fear of flying, spiders, heights, enclosed spaces, driving, and medical procedures (Ricciardi et al., 2020). It can also address underlying issues that may contribute to phobias, such as past traumatic experiences, low self-esteem, and anxiety (Morrison et al., 2020).
One of the major advantages of EMDR therapy is its relatively short-term nature. Many individuals report feeling relief after just a few sessions, with the exact number of sessions varying depending on the individual and the severity of their phobia (Malliaris et al., 2015). Moreover, EMDR therapy is a non-invasive form of therapy that does not require medication or prolonged exposure therapy, which some individuals may find uncomfortable or distressing (Shapiro, 2014).
Another benefit of EMDR therapy is its individualized approach. EMDR therapists work with their clients to identify specific targets or memories related to their phobia and use a combination of eye movements, sounds, and/or tactile stimulation to help process the memories in a less distressing way (Bisson et al., 2013). This customized approach ensures that the therapy fits the unique needs of each individual.
In conclusion, if you are struggling with a phobia, EMDR therapy may be a viable treatment option to consider. With its proven effectiveness, short-term nature, and individualized approach, EMDR therapy has helped many individuals overcome their phobias and improve their quality of life (Zohar et al., 2020). Do not let your phobia hold you back any longer - consider trying EMDR therapy and take the first step towards a more fulfilling life.
Bisson, J. I., Roberts, N. P., Andrew, M., Cooper, R., & Lewis, C. (2013). Psychological therapies for chronic post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (12).
Felmingham, K. L., Kemp, A. H., Williams, L., Falconer, E., Olivieri, G., Peduto, A., ... & Bryant, R. A. (2008). Dissociative responses to conscious and non-conscious fear impact underlying brain function in post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychological Medicine, 38(12), 1771-1780.
Lee, C. W., & Cuijpers, P. (2013). A meta-analysis of the contribution of eye movements in processing emotional memories. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 44(2), 231-239.
McGhee, L., & McEvoy, P. (2017). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: An overview of its effectiveness in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care, 13(1), 43-50.
Shapiro, F. (2018). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy: Basic Principles, Protocols, and Procedures (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Rodgers, S., & Davidson, K. (2019). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): A review of efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of change. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2756.