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Laurel Parnell – EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking

EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking

Laurel Parnell – EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking

In this video the client, a therapist, has a fear of public speaking. She would like to present publically, but she is very anxious and avoids situations where speaking would be required. She said that when she speaks, she can’t think, and has significant anticipatory anxiety that could be so severe it affected her sleep before scheduled events. Her goals for treatment were to be confident enough that “I can handle whatever happens so I can think.” She wanted to be able to speak publically and do presentations and also to see more couples without sleepless nights.

In the session the client using tactile stimulation pulsers for bilateral stimulation, installed resources. We then used the bridging technique to bridge from a recent example of her speaking anxiety to find a target from the past. After processing that target to completion and installing a positive cognition we returned to the incident we bridged from to check our work. She felt much better, but found another area that still had charge. We then bridged a second time to find another target from her childhood and processed that.

When that was complete, we again returned to the recent anxiety-producing situation to check our work. She felt much better in that situation, no distress. She then imagined future scenarios of speaking. These felt better, but new concerns came up that she hadn’t been aware of before. After exploring these, we decided to close the session with the understanding that these could be targeted in future sessions. At the end of the video I summarize the session and explain what I did and why.

Objectives Of EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking

  1. Recognize the installation of resources
  2. Apply the bridging technique to find targets linked to the presenting problem
  3. Outline use of the three-part protocol (past, present, future)
  4. Recognize when and how there can be multiple contributors and multiple targets linked to an issue or problem

Outline of EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking

  • Explore the presenting problem, symptoms and triggers
  • Create and install resources and metaphors for nurturing, wisdom and peace
  • Establish a signal for stop and keep going
  • Set up a bridge from a recent example of anxiety to find a target
  • Develop the target using the modified protocol
  • Refine the picture or scene
  • Check the target
  • Check the Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS)
  • Install a positive cognition (PC)
  • Check the trigger scene that we bridged from
  • Explore to see if there is another target to process
  • Target the anticipatory anxiety directly (without a bridge)
  • Check the trigger scene again and the SUDS
  • Bridge back from new feelings and beliefs
  • Recognize the negative cognition
  • Begin bilateral stimulation
  • Focus on the body
  • Check the SUDS
  • Process the trigger scene with positive cognition
  • Check the original scene
  • Check the imagined future scenarios for change
  • Closing and debriefing

Who is EMDR for Fear of Public Speaking for

Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Case Managers, Therapists, Addiction Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Other Mental Health Professionals

About Laurel Parnell

Clinical Psychologist, EMDR Trainer
Private Practice

Laurel Parnell, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and director of the Parnell Institute for Attachment-Focused EMDR. One of the world’s leading experts on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), she is the originator of the EMDR-related therapies Attachment-Focused EMDR and Resource Tapping. Dr. Parnell has served on the faculty of the California Institute for Integral Studies and John F. Kennedy University. She is the author of several books and videos on EMDR, including, Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma, Rewiring the Addicted Brain with EMDR-Based Treatment, A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR and Tapping In.

Dr. Parnell keynotes conferences, trains clinicians in EMDR, and teaches workshops internationally on Attachment-Focused EMDR, Rewiring the Addicted Brain and Resource Tapping. Learn more about Dr. Parnell at

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