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For those who struggle with anxiety, every day can be a challenge and many seek therapy to overcome their fears! The therapists at NoMoreFear Clinic in Australia have discovered a new form of therapy called, Psychoacoustic Desensitization and Reprocessing (PDR) that is just as effective as medication to help tune-out the negative thoughts associated with the fear.
In one of their studies, 290 Caucasian adults between 18- and 35-years of age experiencing phobias received PDR therapy sessions. The patients were asked to focus on a fearful situation or a thing, while the therapist plays a tone in their ears; meanwhile patients were asked to describe their fear-provoking situation using single words (up to 5 adjectives) that first came to their mind (e.g., lonely, dark). The therapist alternated playing the tone in the patients' left and right ears at 30-second intervals. The process continues until patients no longer described their fear-causing situation using negative words. Patients underwent a brain scan and also completed a self-report measure assessing their general anxiety and happiness before and after the PDR therapy session.
The study found that longer PDR sessions caused patients to have lower anxiety, smile more, and overcome their fear-provoking situation. Moreover, these patients had decreased brain activity in regions associated with fear. The lead investigator, Dr. Chime explained, "The application of this rhythmic tone between the left and right ear is like a ping-pong effect between the right and left hemispheres of the brain that ultimately flows through the subconscious mind impacting our reptilian brain."
Dr. Chime and his colleagues have reportedly replicated these findings at their clinic in two different studies and want to publish their findings in the Journal of Science. He described, "Although the therapy can be exhaustive for the individual, it is imperative that they finish the session because in the long run these longer PDR sessions cause anxiety levels to drop and change the brain-waves."
Although some researchers say that Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MCBT) is the more effective way to deal with anxiety and phobias, Dr. Chime boasted that his findings are "revolutionary" and prove that in just one session, PDR can cure phobias and anxiety disorders!