Approaches to using EMDR for the treatment of phobias


This workshop focuses on the clinical application of EMDR with specific phobias. There are a number of advantages in using EMDR for the treatment of specific phobias compared to other approaches, such as exposure in vivo. One of the most important advantages seems to be the possibility to utilize EMDR under circumstances where the critical elicitors cannot be reproduced or simulated in real life (e.g., certain sexual, illness or death situations) or, more generally, for which phobic stimuli are hard to obtain. However, unlike patients suffering with PTSD, after deconditioning of an anxiety associated with a traumatic incident, phobic individuals till have to anticipated future anxiety evoking situations. This has important implications for treatment. For example, contrary to its application with PTSD, the treatment of specific phobias with EMDR should not be concluded until clients are prepared for future interactions with (former) anxiety-eliciting stimuli or situations. This may involve acquisition of adaptive coping skills, such as mental strategies to relax or to distract oneself, and the use of exposure (in vivo) techniques. Participants of this workshop will learn when and how to apply EMDR with specific phobias and integrate this into general (cognitive-behavioral) treatment approach. This approach is illustrated by several videotaped treatments.






Ad de Jongh

Original Work Citation

de Jongh, A. (2000, May). Approaches to using EMDR for the treatment of phobias. Presentation at the 1st EMDR Europe Association Conference, Utrecht, Netherlands




“Approaches to using EMDR for the treatment of phobias,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 16, 2021,

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