The Effects of EMDR on Social Phobia

Last Updated on November 26, 2020 by Maya Hall

You may be afraid of interacting others, being judged or loved. Or maybe you wanted to be more social but thinking about meeting new people freaks you out. You are not alone. Because almost 10% of people struggle with this problem. Social anxiety or social phobia is a psychological problem that has a major impact on the functioning of life.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s definition; Social Phobia is a person’s fear, anxiety of being judged in society. It results in avoiding social interactions.

Social Phobia

As with many psychological disorders, you do not have to live in a social environment with anxiety or avoidance. Because social phobia is a disease with a treatment. Medication and psychotherapy are the main treatment of social anxiety. Although cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in general, people recently question whether it’s effective in long term. (Gauvreau & Bouchard, 2008).

In addition, many other studies revealed that EMDR treatment has significantly reduced social phobia complaints in the past years. Because EMDR is based on the idea that traumatic events and disturbing memories, which are critical to the development and maintenance of post-traumatic stress disorder, have the ability to re-solve and anxiety disorders occur after a troublesome event.

Today there are over 20,000 trained mental health professionals who implement EMDR therapy. It is a treatment in a wide range of mental health disorders including depression, anxiety disorders.

How Does EMDR Acutally Work?

EMDR helps you shift your attention to more positive thoughts by using eye movements. In this process, the therapist allows the client to recognize the feelings, images and emotions they have experienced. And slowly begins to shift their attention from negative thoughts to more positive ones.

Dozens of randomized controlled trials by Shapiro himself and many other researchers have found that EMDR is an effective treatment that creates rapid decreases in the viability of negative emotions and disturbing images. It also documents that EMDR treatment provides relief for various somatic complaints associated with anxiety disorders. One of the best features of EMDR is that you don’t have to mention painful memories. Using EMDR in the treatment of anxiety is a process of referring to safety and peace of mind rather than anxiety. This process allows you to access areas that other therapies cannot reach.

Negative assumptions are a key factor in many social anxiety situations. For example, social phobia often lies in believing that people will not like you, will be ashamed of you or will judge you harshly. Mental images and disturbing thoughts about what will happen increase social anxiety. Although these mental images do not actually exist, they create a strong mental motivation to stay away from the social environment. At this point, EMDR helps to replace negative feedback loops with more positive ones.

Cindy Brown
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