Online EMDR Therapy
By George Maxwell – CBT and EMDR therapist
Online EMDR Therapy is a great solution to a difficult problem – How do I access EMDR Therapy when there are no therapists nearby?
The use of Online EMDR Therapy as a way of addressing problems related to PTSD, OCD and other Anxiety disorders is becoming more widespread as it presents an easy way to access quality, evidence-based treatment from wherever you are, using modern technology.
This is how we deliver online EMDR Therapy at Access CBT.
Step 1: The therapy platform.
As the Online EMDR will be delivered “face to face” over the internet, we need to first agree on a platform for doing this. There are lots of options including Skype and Whatsapp, however I tend to prefer to use “Zoom”, simply for it’s ease of use, security and reliability.
Although we are very happy to provide online EMDR over Skype or Whatsapp or any other secure video conferencing tool that you are used to, I recommend heading over to Zoom, and taking a little time to explore the features available on the free version.
Given the nature of the type of work we do in online EMDR (i.e., focusing upon significant traumatic life events), it is really important that the medium that we agree on is secure and that there is no potential for accidentally sharing any personal information over social media. Your confidentiality and security is paramount.
Step 2: The environment.
As the session will be conducted remotely, the environment that you choose to access the online EMDR therapy is up to you. However, here are a few suggestions.
Firstly, try to choose somewhere where you won’t be interrupted for the duration of the session. This is your time and to get the best from treatment you deserve to be able to give it your full attention. Whilst a quiet room at home might be suitable for some people, for some it might not. If the latter is the case, then you may wish to use a room at a friend’s or family member’s house.
Secondly, as is the case with many types of therapeutic process, there will often be high levels of emotion involved in treatment. Try to choose an environment in which you can have the privacy and safety to express these emotions. If we feel tearful or anxious during treatment, then it’s helpful that we have the space and privacy to process this.
Third, EMDR involves Bilateral Stimulation and there are many different approaches that we can take to doing this (please see below). However, some of these approaches go beyond the initial side to side eye movements and instead may use more tactile approaches such as “the butterfly technique” or leg tapping. It is important that you are in a place where you are able to freely use techniques such as these. I imagine someone using the butterfly technique whilst sitting in their car may draw some attention.
Lastly – As this EMDR is online, we need to make sure that we can stay online. Of course, this may sometimes be down to technical problems beyond our control but we really want to aim for a steady online signal whilst we access the EMDR online session.
Step 3: Choosing our method of Bilateral Stimulation
A key feature of EMDR therapy is Bilateral Stimulation (BLS). Bilateral stimulation is applied during a number of phases of EMDR treatment to help with desensitisation and reprocessing of traumatic memories.
EMDR takes its name from one of these methods, “Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.” Eye movements are typically administered from side to side however other directions can be used also. Other methods can involve tapping or listening to sounds on alternate sides of the ear. So, for us to emulate this online, we need to consider what is most suitable for you to do at home. Here are some options:
- The butterfly technique – The butterfly technique is a way of us doing self-administered BLS and has gotten its name from the fact that we create a sort of “butterfly” with our hands. We cross one of our hands over the other and then place this “butterfly” on our chest, so that the fingers can “flutter” whilst we focus upon whatever material we are processing in EMDR at the time.
- Using a youtube video showing visual cues to create bilateral stimulation.
- Using a downloadable app such as BSDR player or EMDR for clinicians – both of which are available for Android and IOS.
Once the method has been agreed then we are ready to go.
Book your Online EMDR session
Once you are happy with the above then it is time to book your session. To do this contact George Maxwell on +44 (0)7887 701 176 or send an email through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sessions cost £60 for one session, with each session lasting between 50 mins to 1 hour.
Please feel free to contact with any queries that you may have about online EMDR or read through our article about how EMDR treats trauma for more information.