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Unveiling the Path to Anxiety Healing: EMDR Therapy at AGLOW Counseling

Updated: Apr 21

Anxiety, a common and often overwhelming companion in our lives, can be an intricate puzzle deeply rooted in past traumas or fueled by present anxieties. At AGLOW Counseling, we believe in a transformative approach to anxiety healing, championed by Stacy Ruse, LPC, a seasoned trauma expert, therapist trainer, and consultant in EMDR and IFS therapies with a transpersonal twist. Let's delve into the journey of healing anxiety, exploring the comprehensive Three-Pronged Approach advocated by Dr. Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR therapy.

The Three-Pronged Approach: Past, Present, and Future

Dr. Shapiro's visionary Three-Pronged Approach serves as a compass for EMDR therapy, guiding individuals through a holistic healing process. Beginning with the past, the therapy targets the touchstone events associated with anxiety, unraveling the threads of traumatic memories. Moving to the present, the focus shifts to the most recent events and current stimuli triggering anxiety, acknowledging the complexity of these emotions. Finally, the therapy paves the way to the future, crafting a template for each trigger, empowering individuals to face challenges with resilience.

Identifying the Screws that Bind: The EMDR Therapy Basic Protocol for Anxiety Disorders

Dr. Shapiro's metaphorical framework likens anxiety pathology to boards (burdens) weighing down on individuals. The task for EMDR therapy is to identify the screws holding these boards in place, allowing for rapid and effective change. The therapy follows a structured protocol:

  1. Past Events (first time, touchstone): Addressing the root cause of anxiety by targeting the worst event associated with the anxiety or phobia.

  2. The Most Recent Event (or Events): Exploring recent experiences contributing to anxiety, providing a comprehensive understanding.

  3. Current Stimuli That Trigger the Anxiety: Unveiling the present triggers and addressing their impact on anxiety.

  4. A Future Template for Each Trigger: Preparing individuals to face future challenges with a resilient mindset.

  5. An In-vivo Experience: Incorporating real-life scenarios to ensure complete treatment and generalization.

  6. The Client Keeps a Log: Encouraging clients to track their progress and experiences throughout the therapeutic journey.

  7. Re-evaluation: Continuously assessing and adjusting the therapeutic approach for optimal results.

Navigating Anxiety Disorders: Tailored Protocols for Different Presentations

For primary PTSD, the therapist generally utilizes the three-pronged approach to target the touchstone event, although for complex PTSD adaptations may also be needed. For phobias, panic disorders, and other anxiety disorders, the therapy adapts to the phobia/anxiety disorder protocol, emphasizing the importance of reprocessing ancillary events.

Incorporating In-vivo Component for Complete Treatment

Research underscores the importance of an in-vivo component in EMDR therapy for anxiety disorders. This involves practicing behaviors that were once anxiety-provoking, leading to comprehensive treatment and generalization. Clients are prepared for the anxiety that may arise during this process, emphasizing the significance of rapport and a strong client-therapist relationship.

Resources for Treating Anxiety Disorders

  • Distress tolerance tools: Gentle practices such as deep breathing, somatic polyvagal techniques, guided mindfulness exercises, or grounding techniques like focusing on the five senses can provide immediate relief. Developing a toolbox of distress tolerance tools allows individuals to navigate anxious moments more effectively, fostering a sense of control and calmness amidst distress

  • Self-Regulation Procedures: Engaging in practices that foster internal regulation involves a diverse range of techniques, such as skillfully mapping and unblending different aspects of oneself, embracing progressive muscle relaxation, cultivating self-compassion through targeted exercises, integrating mindfulness meditation, and more. These practices serve as a comprehensive toolkit, empowering clients with effective tools to not only manage anxiety during therapy sessions but also foster continuous emotional well-being in the spaces between.

  • Expectation of Anxiety: Preparing clients for the anticipated anxiety during treatment, fostering a proactive mindset. Prior to exposure to anxiety-inducing situations, it is crucial to set realistic expectations with clients, acknowledging and discussing the anticipated anxiety, and empowering them with a proactive mindset to navigate and cope with the emotional challenges that may arise during treatment.

At AGLOW Counseling, Stacy Ruse, LPC, stands as a beacon of expertise, offering therapist trainings, clinical consultation, and counseling. Join our AGLOW Therapist News and community on the path to world healing, where the past is understood, the present is navigated, and the future is embraced with resilience.

For inquiries or to embark on your healing journey, contact AGLOW Counseling today.

With love, ALGOW

Stacy Ruse, LPC

Stacy Ruse, LPC, is an esteemed Evergreen EMDR consultant, IFS-Institute consultant, and founder of Aglow Counseling. Stacy teaches a therapeutic style that is characterized by the art of EMDR & IFS therapies with a transpersonal twist, transcending the conventional boundaries of traditional therapy. Her holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit allowing individuals to tap into their innate resilience and ignite their personal transformation journey. As a trauma expert, national and international trainer, and clinical consultant, Stacy's approach is deeply rooted in trauma-informed methodologies.

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