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    How can EMDR Help with my Anxiety???

    “Anxiety” is one of the most common reasons clients decide to go to therapy. In fact, approximately 30% of adults are affected by anxiety disorders at some point in their lifetime. If you struggle with anxiety, you know how awful it can feel! Anxiety has the potential to severely diminish a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

    A woman sits in a windowsill while looking outside with a stressed expression. Learn how an anxiety therapist in Palm Beach County, FL can offer support by searching for EMDR in Palm Beach County, FL today. Search for anxiety treatment in Palm Beach County, FL for more info today. Anxiety is a natural human emotion that serves an important purpose. In the face of threat, it plays the role of alerting a person to danger while helping them to pay attention and prepare for the potential threat. However, anxiety disorders differ from these reactions. They often involve excessive and often irrational worry or fear about everyday situations and non-threatening situations. The experience of anxiety that is felt in a person’s body can be overwhelming and extremely debilitating.

    Common Treatments

    Common treatments for anxiety have historically included therapies such as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) as well as psychotropic medication. CBT involves changing the thoughts, beliefs, and actions that support the anxiety disorder and replacing them with more helpful ones. For example, if a person has a fear of public speaking but needs to make a speech for a class, a therapist can help them restructure their automatic thought of “this is going to be terrible” to “I know I’ve done this before and it will feel really great after I’m done”, which presumablely will help reduce the anticipatory fear that is experienced.

    Regarding medication, psychiatric prescribers often choose from a variety of drug classes including antidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, antihistamines, as well as a specific anti-anxiety medication called “buspirone”. Medications can be taken as a daily dose that is just in a person’s system, or taken PRN (as needed) depending on the anxiety-provoking situation.

    What is EMDR?

    EMDR is a psychotherapy approach that enables people to heal and recover from disturbing life experiences. It has been practiced around the world for the past 30 years or so and is an accepted treatment for trauma and PTSD by the American Psychiatric Association, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, World Health Organization, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, among others.

    EMDR is based on the idea that current dysfunction stems from insufficiently-processed, maladaptively stored disturbing memories from the past. Essentially, when a person experiences a traumatic event or something that is beyond the capacity of their brain to process at the time, parts of the experience get stuck causing them to encounter problems down the road.

    The therapist leads a client in a series of eye movements or other types of bilateral stimulation (such as tapping or bilateral sounds). At the same time, the client focuses on various aspects of a disturbing memory.  During this procedure, clients process the memory often in a positive and rapid way that leads to a peaceful resolution.

    See our page on EMDR Therapy for more, in-depth information.

    A close up of blocks with letters that spell EMDR. Learn how an anxiety therapist in Palm Beach County, FL can offer support via EMDR in Palm Beach County, FL. Search for how EMDR therapy in Delray Beach, FL can help today.

    How Can EMDR Help with my Anxiety???

    At Mangrove Therapy Group, we utilize all of the traditional approaches but also lean heavily on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) as a potent treatment for anxiety. If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, you know that just trying to tell yourself a more rational and helpful thought often feels insufficient and unable to lower the stress level more than just a little bit. This is especially true when one’s anxiety is based on unresolved traumatic experiences (which is VERY common, and much more than you might think). Feeling your stomach in knots and your heart beating out of your chest, trying to tell yourself “It’s going to be okay” is like trying to put out a forest fire with a water gun! And for many people, they already know that what they are feeling is irrational, so trying to change their thoughts feels just ineffective. EMDR becomes a powerful option.

    Let’s run through a variety of common anxiety experiences to see how EMDR could be the best option for treatment:

    Social Anxiety. 

    Mike comes to treatment with severe social anxiety. He has always struggled with self-esteem issues and is always afraid of what others think of him when he is in public settings. This nervousness is so intense that, when getting ready to interact with others (especially strangers), his brain gets foggy and he struggles with articulating himself well or coming up with exactly what to say. As this is happening, he is looking at the other person’s reactions and is extremely self-conscious, which makes the problem even worse.

    With the help of a skilled therapist, Mike realizes that there have been numerous experiences throughout his life starting as a young kid when he felt really awkward and embarrassed in social situations. He also grew up in a critical household where nothing he did was ever good enough. Mike and his therapist put together an EMDR treatment plan to reprocess these negative experiences while desensitizing triggers which subsequently help him feel less anxious and triggered in social situations.


    Nicole can’t stop feeling like something bad is going to happen, as if she will be blindsided by calamity at any moment. She feels keyed up all the time and startles easily. Her guard is always up, and her anxiety symptoms are really powerful in her body. Breathing exercises help but not always. It’s like her nervous system is on overdrive! With the help of a trusted therapist, Nicole explored the conditions in her home growing up where her parents were alcoholics and conflict would erupt unpredictably. She remembers being a kid and always walking on eggshells, never really knowing what to expect and on numerous occasions being dragged into an extremely intense situation.

    In therapy, she learned that her body is constantly flooded with stress hormones in continuous sympathetic nervous system activation (otherwise known as “fight or flight”). Nicole and her therapist put together an EMDR treatment plan focused on aggressively reprocessing these anxiety-filled memories which would eventually help her body feel calm.

    A man holds his head while sitting on a couch. This could represent the pain of anxiety that EMDR therapy in Delray Beach, FL can address. Learn more about online anxiety treatment in Delray Beach, FL and the help EMDR in Palm Beach County, FL can offer.


    Mark is afraid of flying (on airplanes). He has never really loved flying and would prefer to drive if traveling locally, but for most of his life flying was at least manageable if need be. One year he started developing major anxiety symptoms related to flying and he then decided to come into therapy. His trusted clinician helped him uncover a variety of situations in his life in which he felt helpless and powerless (very common with flying), some related to his family of origin dynamics growing up, some related to bullying at school, and others related specifically to bad flights with major turbulence that he had recently. They put together an EMDR treatment plan to target and reprocess these memories in which the anxiety for some reason was stuck.

    Panic Attacks.

    Susan suffers from debilitating panic attacks. Sometimes she has them in the mornings when she wakes up, sometimes when she is feeling overwhelmed, and sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. They’ve gotten so bad that now the anticipation and anxiety of having another panic attack actually causes her to be more vulnerable to having one.

    With the help of her skilled therapist, she was able to put together an EMDR treatment plan focused on targeting some specific traumatic events she experienced in the past, as well as some of the major panic attacks themselves (which were so bad they were also traumatizing). With the help of an SSRI antidepressant medication, as well as learning skills to manage stress and regulate her emotions, reprocessing her past panic-related trauma was effective at getting rid of her panic symptoms. See the blog post on treating panic attacks and panic disorder with EMDR.


    Norm has a hard time feeling secure and settled in his relationships, though he also doesn’t like being single because of how lonely that feels. When he is with someone he is constantly worried he will be cheated on, that they will lose interest, or that they will leave at any moment. When his current girlfriend doesn’t text him back right away, he gets flooded with immense anxiety even though he knows she is likely just busy or preoccupied. When she finally texts him back (as if nothing was wrong of course), he feels an incredible sense of relief. In therapy, Norm realized he needed to work on memories of feeling “undesirable” and “unimportant” growing up, and also being cheated on by multiple past partners. With the help of his skilled EMDR therapist, he was able to feel more secure and grounded in his relationship.

    Illness Anxiety. 

    Once called “hypochondriasis”, illness anxiety disorder is a serious condition in which a person fears getting sick or dying despite having no real medical reasons for the fear. Michelle has struggled with this since she was a kid, growing up watching her family members get treatment for some major, chronic illnesses that would later take their lives. After the pandemic along with some serious health scares of her own, she was constantly plagued with fears that something was wrong with her. Routine doctor appointments felt extremely threatening, and she was stuck between wanting to avoid them and feeling like she had to go (otherwise risk not detecting an issue). Every time she would feel a strange sensation in her body, she would feel panicky thinking that she was going to have a health episode. And the anticipatory anxiety ironically contributed to her feeling these body sensations, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle. With the help of her EMDR therapist, Michelle put together a plan to target and reprocess the memories of her family being sick, memories from the pandemic, and memories of having her own health-related scares.


    Anxiety is one of the chief complaints that bring clients into therapy. Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows how awful it can feel, desperate to find ways to not feel so bad anymore. EMDR is a potent and effective treatment for anxiety!

    Begin Working With An Anxiety Therapist in Palm Beach County, FL

    Treat your anxiety effectively by contacting one of our caring therapists. Our entire team is trained in EMDR and uses it extensively to treat a wide variety of issues. We would be happy to offer support in Palm Beach County and across the state. Start your therapy journey with Mangrove Therapy by following these simple steps:

    • Contact Mangrove Therapy Group
    • Meet with a caring therapist to collaboratively put together an EMDR treatment plan for your anxiety symptoms
    • Start finally feeling anxiety relief!

    Check out some blog articles we wrote on treating a variety of other issues with EMDR:

    Other Services Offered with Mangrove Therapy Group

    EMDR therapy isn’t the only service our team offers. Mangrove Therapy Group is happy to offer support with a variety of mental health services including  trauma and PTSD/C-PTSDsubstance use disorderseating disordersbody image issuesanger managementanxietylow self-esteempersonality disorders, and much more. Please feel free to learn more about how we can support you. We also offer support with addictions such as process addictionsgrief and loss“Failure to Launch” syndromeCBT, and DBT. Feel free to learn more by visiting our blog or FAQ page to learn more today!