EMDR therapy online? What would that be like? Consider this; so much of our lives have now moved to online spaces. For many of us, this includes work, but also entertainment and even exercise (anyone up for a Zoom workout class?).
Naturally, it makes sense that therapists have transitioned to virtual treatment methods for their clients as well. Standard “talk therapy” sessions are common.
But what if you were receiving treatment using eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR? It turns out that EMDR therapy online is still effective for helping people resolve issues such as past trauma.
Here’s how EMDR therapy online can work for you.
A Typical EMDR Session
Typically, an EMDR session is held in the therapists’ office. After taking an extensive history and working with you to identify key areas of focus, you and your therapist begin a series of EMDR sessions. In these sessions, you focus your attention on an object being passed back and forth in front of you. Areas of your brain become activated when stimulated in this way. While this is happening, you think about the trauma or experience that you both agreed to focus on. The combination of the stimulation along with the memory recall allows your brain to fully process what happened.
Using EMDR Therapy Online
It’s possible to create a similar experience by utilizing EMDR online. Here’s how:
- As per protocol, your therapist first works with you to understand your goals and which areas of your life to focus on for the EMDR treatments.
- Your therapist teaches you skills that help you to cope with stress and anxiety. This is important because these memories can be distressing and difficult to recall.
- When conducting EMDR online, your therapist can still pass an object in front of you (such as a finger or pen). You track that object with your eyes.
- You might also be asked to tap your hands on your knees repeatedly. This creates a similar effect for the EMDR process.
- During the session, you experience the memory as much as you can. Afterwards, you process with your therapist about the experience.
As you can see, with a little creativity and flexibility, it’s still possible to have a meaningful and impactful EMDR session virtually.
One Extra Bonus: The Comfort of Home
One additional bonus of conducting EMDR therapy online is that you can do so in the comfort of your own home. This is more important than you might realize. Because EMDR sessions often involve processing past traumatic experiences, there is a built-in need for safety. You may feel more safe and relaxed at home or in another environment of your choosing. For example:
- Instead of sitting in your home office, choose a room that allows for privacy but is more comfortable. A helpful setting is on a couch with comfortable pillows.
- If possible, go outside. A backyard session can be refreshing and help you feel more relaxed.
When you feel that you have ownership over your environment, you feel more in control. That feeling will translate when it comes to EMDR online sessions. This is primarily because you will be processing experiences in which you didn’t feel in control at all.
Finding a Skilled Therapist for EMDR Therapy Online
It makes sense that if you will be participating in EMDR therapy online you want to be working with a skilled therapist. Therapists in general now have a lot of experience working with clients using an online format. However, you also need someone who is skilled in EMDR and is capable of guiding you through the process remotely.
Practicing EMDR therapy online is effective at helping you to process and resolve past trauma. And EMDR therapy can help with a wide range of issues besides trauma too. All that’s needed is a little adaption and a good internet connection! Find out today how online therapy and EMDR treatment can work for you.