Therapy for anxiety disorders

Psychoanalysis, cognitive behaviour therapy, EMDR, hypnosis ericksonienne and NLP, therapy, strategic, complementary and alternative medicine.


If it is necessary to first mention psychoanalysis, it is because Freud was the first to propose an explanation and a therapeutic model for the treatment of phobias. In the case of Little Hans (1905) he described how a 5 year old boy develops a phobia of horses, turning his castration complex in fear of being bitten. A brief therapy allowed her to heal. However, it turns out that psychoanalysis is the technique of first choice for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

This is especially in regard to phobias, and the consequences of trauma. Currently, there are other methods that allow you to work more quickly and more easily while achieving a sustainable outcome. The argument that “only a therapy in depth (as in analytical) can permanently cure anxiety disorder” has not been confirmed statistically.

Here are four other techniques with which I work, very often in combination

  • CBT: cognitive-behavioral therapies
  • EMDR
  • Hypnosis and NLP
  • Therapy strategic according to Nardone and Watzlawick
  • CBT: cognitive-behavioral therapies

The CC have gradually won the respect of the scientific world. They are nowadays recommended by WHO as first-line for treatment of the phobic (WHO – Treatment of Mental Disorders – 1993). The therapeutic work is focused on the current problem and the healing of the visible symptom. 'îl no bias or interpretation, or the research of a cause in the past. The patient learns to observe what thoughts or beliefs (cognitions) it maintains today his fear.

Session after session, under the active direction of a therapist, he discovered how to relax (relaxation) and, by years of confrontation, imaginary or real (in vivo), it déprogramme his anxious behavior. It is, therefore, by the experience that the patient will move to restore confidence in its environment. The CC are also applicable to generalized anxiety disorders, especially when a conflict intrapsychic may not be highlighted or that the patient is not accessible to an analytic treatment.

A special technique developed by Albert Ellis, american psychologist, REBT.

EMDR (Eyes movements desensitization and reprocessing). Last offspring of the new brief therapy, this technique developed from 1987 by the psychologist american Francine Shapiro, combines a simple technique of bilateral stimulation (e.g. eye movements) to a set of techniques already tried and tested (cognitive therapy, exercise, imagination, hypnosis,...). This cocktail properly dosed allows an acceleration sometimes dramatic therapeutic work.

The interest of EMDR is to allow for a confrontation (exposure) is relatively short. Because of this speed it is often necessary to prepare the work by a stabilization phase. Various exercises of imagination, even of the breathing exercises will be very welcome. In the treatment phase, as well the quantification of the stress (scale) that the formulation of the cognitions, the emotions and the lived body related to the scene referred to, we recall the CC.

And then, even if the practitioners of EMDR are holding “hands and feet” against any amalgam, the effects of trance (hypnosis), and dissociation therapeutic (NLP) are undeniable.

Hypnosis without hypnosis of Milton Erickson and NLP

In the 1920s Milton Erickson, a young american psychiatrist learns hypnosis classic, where he excelled soon. Forced by his new boss to give it up, he develops a technique of induction informal without stock phrases or pendulum. Thus, through a “hypnosis conversational”, it is possible to bypass elegantly the resistance of patients. Thanks to the metaphors and reframing, it stimulates their resources and their natural potential for healing.

Research by Milton Erickson will lead up to his death in 1980 will attract from the sixties of the leading researchers all across America, especially George Bateson and the team of Palo Alto. Two psychologists, Grinder and Bandler, in search of the best therapists in the country, will study his method with acribie to identify the essential. They then create NLP, a technique that is both complex and remarkably well-structured manner that incorporates the substance of most of the findings of Erickson and Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Frank Farelly). The advantage of NLP is that it can be learned relatively quickly, while the style of Erickson, an improviser and a storyteller like no other, is not easy to imitate.

Hypnosis Ericksonienne and NLP provide instruments that work to be valuable for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The one and the other have a fun approach (game) that will be especially appreciated by patients who are already sufficiently stressed by the treatment. From the flexibility of a register of perception to another (e.g. visualize the fear instead of the felt), with techniques of distancing (see the outside, see a scene from very far away, etc) and stimulating heavily on the natural resources (sport, pleasant memories, pleasures of the senses, etc.), they allow the patient to quickly learn how to deconditioning cunning with its own patterns of anxiety.

Therapy strategic according to Nardone and Watzlawick

In the 80s, many therapists have put into practice what they had learned about the concept of systems and cybernetics. Watzlawick in Palo Alto (California), and Giorgio Nardone in Arezzo (Italy) publish entire books on the communication paradox. They even use explicitly the expression of Hahnemann, “similia similibus curantur”, treating evil with evil, to indicate their response. This is the story – true – of the policeman who shouts at the poor man who tries to drown: “stop or I'll shoot!” and saves the lives.

For my part it is the fortuitous discovery of the book of Nardone “Fear, panic, phobias” that has given me a key for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It offers a schema of ten sessions with a protocol set in advance. Instead of helping the patient to avoid his fears and/or his obsessions, he will prescribe imperatively. In a second time, it will give tasks where the paradox and trickery are consistently used. The technical limitation of Nardone – that Milton Erickson was extensively used – and it is irreplaceable if we are dealing with fixed ideas (“I'm not worthy, it's all my fault, etc”). While they can block a treatment for years, the prescription of the symptom (e.g.”I'd like you to think badly of you, 10 minutes per day!”) goes very quickly and spontaneously (!) give birth to new thoughts (“you're good as you are!” etc). As the anxiety and obsessionels are very often combined, this simple maneuver is significant. It can save lives!

Other methods

If the methods provide effective tools, it would be good to quote again the three techniques, which have accompanied me for nearly 20 years and that may be useful in cases of anxiety disorders: Classical homeopathy provides many remedies to treat not only the manifestations of anxiety, but also the diseases “suites” fear. It is by learning in 1983 how Dr. Bullet of the Oerlikon had cured a patient of fear in the air, that I am interested in homeopathy. Since then, I've had the opportunity to help many people who are victims of stage fright, nervousness, or with suites of trauma.

The massage Furter: developed by French physician Michel Furter, this method allows to treat not only all kinds of muscle pain and visceral, but also resolve in a few minutes, “the knot of fear” which, at the level of the solar plexus, blocking the breathing. Other pain, chest, abdominal or neck maintain an unnecessary sense of anxiety, which gives way to the massage Furter. Often patients say to me, " enjoy this therapeutic contact: they have the impression that through this comprehensive treatment of best be taken seriously.

Kinesiology: using muscle testing it is possible to better identify the fears hidden. The psychologist Callahan, in his book “Five minutes to overcome anxiety” promises mountains and marvels. According to my own experience, if his method is in some cases interesting, it does often not. The EMT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), which took over and developed this technique, could according to some therapists provide good results.