As you will remember from the previous articles we were using EMDR and exposure therapy to help a fictitious client named Tom overcome his performance anxiety for job interviews .

Prior to psychological treatment his anxiety about job interviews had generalised to a range of other situations which were linked to seeking a new job or role. These included writing up his resume and meeting up with an ex boss who could be a mentor to him.

The problem had been that his anxiety had prevented him from trying new work positions within his work place or new jobs with a new employer. He’d remained in the same position for eight years because of his fear of job interviews. The only way he’d move forward in that case was if someone came to him with a job offer. That didn’t happen. His current employer was small and didn’t have many opportunities for advancement, and generally employers don’t come looking to you unless applicants are scarce.

He told himself that he didn’t mind staying in the same position, but really it was his anxiety that was limiting him and causing him to avoid (the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety) taking steps to apply for new jobs.

Many people make decisions based on how they are emotionally feeling at the time. Using your feelings to make a decision is not always a helpful strategy, especially when your feelings are saying “just stay where it is safe”.

To recap on the treatment so far …. (you can refer back to our previous articles if you’d like to) …. There were two sessions of EMDR and one session introducing exposure therapy during session, which involved asking Tom to start doing specific activities that would improve his confidence and solidify his self belief. Beginning with what is easiest to try.

His “homework” from last session was to meet up with his ex boss, and complete his resume.

Tom was feeling quite good about himself when he returned for session four. He’d met with his ex boss and received:

– some helpful feedback about what his ex-boss liked about his working abilities, and attitude to work
– ideas about who to look for work with
– some ideas of interview questions
– some ideas of possible answers to interview questions

This gave him a structure to start working with.

When we reviewed his anxiety ratings from last session – his “now ratings” were slightly less than last week’s ratings:

1. Completing his resume (Before EMDR 6/10, After EMDR 2/10)
2. Meeting with a manager who was previously his boss and could be a mentor (Before 8/10, After 4/10) Now 2/10
3. Searching online job advertisements (Before 6/10, After 4/10). Now 2/10
4. Meetups with other colleagues (Before 7/10, After 4/10). Now 3/10
5. Meetups through Linked In with people he doesn’t know (Before 8/10, After 5/10). Now 4/10
6. Practicing job interviews with his partner (Before 8/10, After 3/10). Still 3/10
7 Attending actual job interviews (Before 8-9/10, After 5/10). Now 4/10

Tom now believes that he is ready to apply for jobs and meet up with other colleagues over the next few weeks.

He also decides to chat to his current boss about any higher duties that he may be able to take on, which will look good on his job application.

It is also recommended that he think of as many interview questions as he can and mock up possible answers to discuss with his colleagues and explore what they/ he would say. He decides to discuss this with his partner also, who he knows would be happy to practise interviewing with him.

A visualisation of him meeting with people, knowing what to ask and how he’d like to speak is included during the session as imaginal exposure therapy.

He reports that he is believing in his ability more than he ever has. He actually sounds excited about the job application process!

It’s agreed that he’s close to ready to sit actual interviews and that in the next session we can use imaginal exposure therapy to practise actual job interviews – meeting the goal of his psychological counselling!

Many people limit themselves (because of negative beliefs about themselves) from doing what they may grow to enjoy. Tom’s process of undergoing EMDR, visualisation and exposure therapy is a good combination of psychological strategies designed to help change limiting beliefs into expansive beliefs – that you can do anything you would like to!

I encourage you to choose something you may have been limiting yourself from progressing with.

Our EMDR Psychologists:

  • Tara Yewers
  • Carla Bormolini
  • Linda Johnson
  • Lisa Irving

Bookings can be made:

Phone: 6381 0297



Via our website for online bookings