Every eight minutes, someone in America experiences a panic attack, reports the National Institute of Mental Health. More than 2.4 million are presently plagued by a phobia or panic disorder and another half-million are likely to experience it at some point. One recent survey suggested that about five percent of men and 10 percent of women will have PTSD during their lifetime.
Fortunately, there are treatments available and one of those, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), is proving exceptionally effective, especially for problems and symptoms emanating from traumatic experiences or other adverse life events. EMDR will subject of a free presentation offered by Richard Gibson, LCSW-C, at Shore Regional Health’s Center for Integrative Medicine, on Thursday, August 8, at 6 pm.
A psychotherapist specializing in trauma, Gibson treats Mid-Shore residents through Shore Regional Health’s Center for Integrative Medicine and also has a practice in Philadelphia. Over the past 13 years, he provided EMDR as a therapeutic treatment for nearly 400 clients suffering from PTSD, situational depression and a host of other disorders, including phobias and associated panic disorders.“Although there are other treatments for such problems, I have found EMDR particularly effective, especially when the cause of the problem is not apparent,” he explains.
Two cases Gibson points to involved bridge phobia — a man and a woman who came to see him separately, but on the same day, complaining that they were unable to drive across the Bay Bridge, though each had been able to do so without difficulty before experiencing a panic attack that “came out of nowhere” while doing so. Gibson treated them both using EMDR and within a few months, they were able to drive over the Bay Bridge without difficulty.
This kind of success with a variety of presenting issuesis documented by hundreds of research studies that attest to the benefits of EMDR, including 20 controlled studies specifically showing its effectiveness in treating PTSD. As a result, he says, there are now more than 70,000 clinicians worldwide who have been trained in EMDR.
Gibson’s talk is designed to share information about EMDR with the local community. “I want to give Mid-Shore residents who experience panic attacks or phobias, or have family members suffering from these issues, a chance to learn about EMDR and how it works,” he explains.
The presentation is free, but advance registration is required due to limited seating. To RSVP, call the Center for Integrative Medicine, 410-770-9400.