Of course there are many advantages of seeing clients in real life instead of online. But we all have to adapt during this time when the Corona virus situation forces many of us to work from home. For many therapists this requires to make some practical adjustments in the way we give therapy. Doing EMDR online requires some adaptation but it is certainly possible!
Our colleague Ytje uses her laptop and the EMDR Kit to do EMDR sessions from home. In the picture below you can see her doing a session.
To accomplish this, Ytje uses online video call software. This software allows for a connection between therapist and client and makes it possible to do sessions of EMDR online. There are of course many options to video call clients such as Zoom and Skype.
It is important that the client is logged in from a laptop or PC. The screens of these devices are big enough for the eyes to completely go from left to right. This is hard to accomplish on a tablet or smartphone since their screens are much smaller. When it comes to using EMDR online, she instructs the client to follow the light on the Light Tube and makes sure that the eyes of the client go from left to right enough. Otherwise, she can position the Light Tube closer or farther away form the webcam. She also positioned herself so that she is not visible during the EMDR stimulation. Furthermore, she just uses the standard EMDR protocol that she would also use when the client would visit in person.
Ytje has also asked the clients to tap their own knees in a set rhythm. And for extra stimulation she asked some clients to name the color on the Light Tube as it changes the color in random color mode. Ytje says she has had great experiences so far!
Some things to consider:
– Make sure the PC / Laptop screen of the client is on eye level. If the height is not sufficient, some books could be used for example to elevate the screen.
– Make sure there is not too much backlight.
– Make sure, the eyes of the client can completely sweep from left to right.
– Make sure you have a stable WIFI connection.
– Make sure you consider the effect of online EMDR with clients with severe dissociation, psychotic complaints, suicidality, automutilation and aggression.
It might be a good idea to send an instruction email to the client before the session. This ensures that the client knows what will be needed ( such as a laptop / PC / Webcam).