How is EMDR Done Virtually?
Yes EMDR is now done routinely through virtual means through a computer (desktop or laptop) or even on a smart phone (iPhone or Android) or tablet!
There are three primary methods of facilitating EMDR whether in an office or virtually and each method is designed to get the two hemispheres of the brain (the rational side and the emotional side) communicating back and forth in a very similar way that the hemispheres communicate during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep - except that in EMDR you are fully awake and fully aware of what your mind is doing. And no EMDR is not hypnosis!
In an office, eye movements are facilitated with a light bar or with a therapist moving a finger back and forth in front of the client's eyes. EMDR can also be done with alternating sounds which can be done with headphones or speakers on or near the ears or with a therapist making a small hand clicking sound beside each ear. Haptic or "touch" signals can be facilitated through hand tapping, pulse paddles, or other devices. Regardless of the method used, each is designed to stimulate bilateral brain communication and each method has been research proven to be equally effective.
The amazing thing is that each of these methods can be facilitated virtually through your computer, phone, or tablet except this is then accessible and effective anywhere you are on the globe with a reliable Internet or wifi connection.
After working internationally with clients in offices in different countries where I worked and lived across five continents, I later learned how to EMDR virtually from the US for clients across the globe, primarily out of necessity for clients in remote locations with no other access to a certified EMDR therapist. During the 2020 COVID pandemic, I closed my traditional office-based EMDR practice and moved all of my EMDR practice online. The practice has thrived since converting to a fully virtual practice and I am glad to be able to provide the much needed and highly effective therapy to clients regardless of location, whether national or international.
The interesting thing is that the clients who were seeing me for office-based EMDR later followed me online to do virtual EMDR and they unanimously reported preferring virtual for many reasons I would not have initially thought of. These reasons include: not having to travel to appointments; time and expense saved for travel; easier to schedule when it's instant and you don't lose travel time; no awkward waiting rooms; no worries meeting people you know in parking area or waiting room; continuity during travel or relocation; and feeling more comfortable in home surroundings versus the traditional counseling office.