Can EMDR Be Done Virtually?

EMDR is a therapeutic approach that is readily used to support individuals struggling with past traumas and other mental health conditions. This evidence-based treatment option helps people overcome traumatic events and the mental health symptoms they may be causing. 

At Gibson & Associates, we provide EMDR therapy both in-person, in Toronto or London, ON, and virtually throughout Ontario. Virtual EMDR is just as effective as in-person sessions while allowing you more flexibility with how and where you access therapy. 

As interest in online EMDR treatment increases, we wanted to answer some common questions about how online EMDR treatment works, what you can expect, and how to get started on your journey to healing.

What is EMDR?

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a therapy technique used to support the processing and releasing of painful emotions that are often caused by past traumatic events or disturbing life experiences. 

This is done through a combination of talk therapy and external stimuli, such as listening to buzzers, following an object with your eyes, or tapping your finger against your knee. The combination of talking through traumatic events while experiencing physical stimuli activates multiple areas of your brain at once. This allows your brain to process trauma in new ways since your brain is being engaged in multiple ways.

How Does Virtual EMDR Work?

Virtual EMDR allows you to work through the same therapeutic process EMDR uses, but in the comfort of your own home. Online therapy has become more and more common in the last few years and performing EMDR therapy online has the same benefits and outcomes as in-person treatment. 

In a virtual EMDR session, your therapist will follow the same steps and processes as they would with an in-person session. Whether you’re meeting virtually or in the office, there must be a feeling of trust and safety both between you and your therapist and for you in the space you’re in. Once you feel safe in the physical space you’re using for your session and with your counsellor, treatment will follow the same path as it would in person. All aspects of EMDR therapy can be easily adjusted to work in a virtual setting with the same level of effectiveness.

What Can EMDR Help With?

EMDR therapy is an effective treatment for people suffering from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, or depression, especially when these conditions are caused by past traumas or distressing life events.

Some conditions EMDR is regularly used to support are: 

• Past traumas – including PTSD, complicated grief, disturbing memories, or abuse

Anxiety disorders – including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, or general anxiety disorder (GAD)

• Body dysmorphic disorders – including anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorders

• Personality disorders – including borderline personality disorder and dissociative disorder

• Obsessive-compulsive disorders

• Addiction

How Is Online EMDR Different From In-Person Sessions?

The main difference between virtual EMDR and in-person sessions is your location. You and your counsellor are no longer in the same space and that can make your sessions have a different feeling to them.

An important part of virtual EMDR sessions is ensuring you feel safe and secure in the space you’re in when you attend your sessions. All EMDR sessions use grounding techniques to help you feel safe throughout the process, however, in online sessions your counsellor may spend more time on grounding to ensure your need for safety is met. 

Like in-person sessions, virtual EMDR will utilize external stimuli to engage your brain, however, some of the techniques used to create these stimuli can look different when done virtually. Your counsellor may have you self-tap or may use an online EMDR software to provide the stimuli they would usually create manually. While the way the stimuli are delivered may be different than in-person, the process and types of stimuli remain the same and you and your counsellor will work together to find the best types of stimuli for your needs.

Benefits of Online EMDR in Ontario

Online EMDR therapy allows people suffering from past trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions to get the support and healing they need in a way that is the most convenient for them.

Virtual EMDR therapy is a perfect choice for: 

people who live in remote areas and have limited access to in-person sessions, 

• people struggling with anxiety or phobias that make it uncomfortable to visit new settings, 

• people with hectic schedules or those who travel regularly but want to see a counsellor consistently, regardless of their location, 

• people with limited access to transportation, 

• people who feel the safest and most comfortable in their own homes, or 

• people who find it more convenient to not have to travel to receive treatment. 

Virtual EMDR is as effective as in-person sessions and can give you the support you’re looking for in a manner that best fits your life.

Book A Virtual EMDR Session Now

No matter where you are in Ontario, we at Gibson & Associates want to ensure you receive the mental health support you need to be your best self. We meet every client where they are at and provide multiple ways for you to access the help you need. 

With EMDR sessions available virtually across Ontario, you can get support online for trauma, grief, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule. 

All our virtual therapy sessions are compliant with Ontario’s Privacy Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), so you can rest assured your online sessions are as safe and confidential as sessions in our office. 

If you’re ready to get started on your virtual treatment journey, contact us to learn more about the first steps of online therapy and get to know our counsellors. You can also book an EMDR session online. Whatever your needs are, we can help you meet them and get back to feeling like yourself in whatever way feels right for you. 

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