How To Do EMDR Virtually

Updated: Mar 14

Things have changed drastically for mental health professionals across the country, especially in our area of Westchester County, NY. The rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused many mental health therapists and other wellness professionals to move their practices to online platforms.

Telehealth for mental health is vastly helpful, but can make specific therapies, such an EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) a bit trickier.

As with any client, you should always do a full history taking and get a vast layout of the clinical landscape before deciding if EMDR is right for them. For some clients with a history of complex trauma, having a caring, nurturing therapist physically in the room with them makes a world of difference. Therefore, virtual EMDR may not be the way to go for them.

If you and your client have decided that online counseling and EMDR is a good fit, then you can perform the therapy virtually. Note that these tips are for Phase 4 of EMDR (Reprocessing). Before jumping into Phase 4, you should always make sure you've done ample history taking, resourcing and create a a clear target sequence plan and assessment.

1. Make sure you have a HIPAA compliant telehealth system.

I can't stress this enough. For anyone performing online counseling, privacy should always be the top priority for clinicians and their clients. My preferred platform is Simple Practice. (click the link for a 30 day free trial) Simple Practice has an integrated Telehealth feature into their already HIPAA compliant system. The feature I love most about this system is that it involves a screen share option, which brings me to point #2.