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If you’re searching for a Virtual EMDR review, you’ve come to the right place. Exploring the world of virtual EMDR as an online healing tool has had a significant impact on my journey of healing and self-discovery. As a trauma survivor who is passionate about self-healing, remote EMDR fits perfectly with the power of taking personal responsibility for the healing journey. Inherent in this act is the courageous reclaiming of your life, taking back what the trauma stole from you.

Because I’ve experienced both virtual and in-person EMDR, I have unique insights to share with you. Another cool benefit is that as travelers near and far in search of peace and mindfulness, we can take our EMDR with us!

In this post, I guide you through the steps of a session, from your first log on to your final screen. I’ll address many pros and cons about cost, privacy, inclusivity, trust, settings, effectiveness, and how to use online EMDR to maximize your self-healing journey. 

Whether you’re dealing with PTSD or mental health challenges, and especially for self-healing women in their 50s, this exploration into Virtual EMDR promises insights into a flexible, cost-effective, and powerful method of therapy that you can access from anywhere in the world. Let’s embark on this journey together, shedding light on a path to recovery that is both accessible and empowering.

Basic Science Of Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)

EMDR therapy is based on the idea that the deep emotional pain we feel from traumatic memories happens because our brains haven’t properly processed these experiences. A key part of EMDR therapy involves bilateral stimulation. This means doing things like moving your eyes back and forth, listening to sounds in one ear and then the other, or feeling taps on different sides of your body.

These activities help integrate the two sides of your brain, and therefore heal the trauma. When the left and right sides of the brain start working in harmony, it helps kickstart the brain’s own way of healing. This process makes it easier for the brain to sort through and understand the traumatic memories, reducing the hurt and stress they cause.

Effective For Mental Health 

Virtual EMDR places the power of healing directly in your hands, emphasizing personal responsibility. This approach allows you to actively engage and direct your own self-healing. You’re in charge of your own therapy process, and this fosters a deeper sense of self-reliance and empowerment. It also reinforces your goal of connecting with your body, being sovereign in your body (not delegating that power to others), and trusting yourself.

Because my main focus on this blog is empowering women to facilitate their own self-healing, Virtual EMDR is a must healing tool. There are countless reasons why, but most important is the emphasis on personal responsibility. If you don’t make up your mind and believe that you can heal, no one can do it for you.

Virtual EMDR Compared to In-Person EMDR

First Time

I will share my personal experiences with EMDR to help you compare and decide what’s best for you. The first time I was introduced to the method was 30 years ago, with a psychiatrist using a pencil as the tracking object for eye movement. I didn’t think it did anything until I went home that night and had vivid nightmares.

This scared me, I felt out of control, like something “happened to me” during the session. Almost like being hypnotized. Clearly the nightmares (which were reliving the memories of my trauma) reinforced this idea. I suppose to be fair, if I had gone back, maybe there would have been some resolution.

However, trusting a stranger and going against my internal instincts would be abandoning my self, which is too much like the initial trauma experience for me. Therefore, at that point I was not ready to continue my trauma work, and I didn’t go back.

Second Time

Three years ago I attended in-person EMDR with a certified therapist. We followed the protocol of several intake sessions before we started, which seemed unnecessary. She followed an approach that used a steady alternating tapping of my hands on my legs. Periodically she halted the procedure to check in with me.

The EMDR provided positive healing for me, because I dedicated an extraordinary amount of my own time journaling before and after the sessions. However, the experience of stopping, answering questions, and checking in felt somewhat intrusive to me. There were moments of interpretation of my experience on the therapists part, which I didn’t care for.

Healed From Emotional Pain

In addition to experiencing traditional EMDR in various settings, I also have overcome PTSD triggers, anxiety, depression, and severe codependency.  If you are there, or trying to get there, then you know recovering from trauma is painstaking, exhausting and sometimes terrifying. I am on the other side, so I speak with honest authority. Now my goal is to share my victory with my readers and inspire them to live their best lives through adding this treatment tool to their travel and self-healing. 

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

To get a feeling for what an actual session is like, including screen shots of each step in the process, continue reading. After there’s a detailed discussion of the pros and cons, my personal interactions with them, and an FAQ. I recommend using a dedicated journal to keep all your thought processes and emotions in one place.

Log On

First, navigate to the main website and click the EMDR program. Then access the program. From there click Self Guided Session to begin. 

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR Review log on

Step 1

Choose Protocol

You can choose from seven unique treatment programs called protocols. There’s a Standard, PTSD and Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Addictions, Grief and Loss, and Phobias and Fears.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR  protocol

Because my trauma triggers are linked back to childhood trauma, I primarily focus on PTSD and Trauma Protocol.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR  PTSD

In the PTSD and Trauma Protocol, there are two areas to navigate to next.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR PTSD

Feelings Check In

Your first prompt will ask you to check in with your feelings.

Set Time

Then you toggle a setting to determine how long you would like to work on your session. The options are from 15 minutes to 50 minutes

Define Session

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR  focus of session

Then you work through a checklist to determine what issues are prompting you to do a session at that time. There are about 10 choices. Some examples are intrusive and negative thoughts, fear, flashbacks, depression, shame, difficulty sleeping.

Resources are offered after you’ve chosen an item from the checklist. There will be a description and examples of what and where those symptoms come from.

Step 2:

Select Target 

This helps you identify in detail the problem or issue you want to work through.

Questions to answer:

  • What do you recall of the Traumatic Event that led you to do today’s session?
  • What is the most disturbing moment or aspect of the Traumatic Event?

Combine Your Answers

Type or voice-record your responses to a single description of your Target that incorporates key elements of what you described.

When adding details, you will be prompted to include Sights, Sounds and Smells as well as Feelings, Emotions, and Physical sensations. This is a powerful, comprehensive tool to help integrate and align mental to the emotional and physical body.

Examples are helpful. They are action-oriented, and focus on what you would like to change one detail from your Mental and Physical reaction.

Rate Level Of Your Emotional Distress

Using a scale of 1 -10 to describe your level of distress when you think of the Target. You do this again after so that you can compare if there is a change.

Identify Negative Beliefs 

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR negative beliefs

The first section provides examples and case studies to help you understand Negative Beliefs. Then it’s your turn to type or use text-to-speech to record your negative beliefs associated with the Target.

Examples include: 

  • I should have done more. 
  • I’m not safe anymore. 
  • I’m not as strong as I thought I was. 

These negative beliefs are very helpful in pinpointing where the trauma has embedded itself into thinking and to illustrate negative beliefs.

Step 3 

Desensitization

Before Launching Your Eye Movement Tool, a screen will review your responses identifying your Target and Negative Beliefs.

The screen explains: “Using EMDR stimulation to reduce the unwanted emotional impact of your Target and associated Negative Beliefs to reset the mental connections in your brain.”

Now you will use your computer screen to track a moving object (a circle) with repeated eye movement. In addition, you’ll use earbuds to listen to binaural beats. You can set your colors, sounds, length of movement, backgrounds and speeds before the tracking begins. The circle will move across the screen in the pattern you chose, and you process the Target by just sitting with your responses.

You will have an opportunity to reread your Target and Negative Beliefs many times throughout the process. I find this helpful to keep me focused on what it is I think, feel and want to accomplish.

You have the option to relaunch the Eye Movement Tool for a total of 20 minutes. You also can click “End” at any time during the eye movement session.

Before moving to Step 4, the prompt asks, “Welcome back, how are you feeling?”

Step 4

Installation of Positive Beliefs

There are a list of examples, but basically they are affirmations. Doing daily affirmations to counteract the effects of trauma, specifically creating ones that are focused and meaningful, are very effective. Vague affirmations are less effective. The best affirmations address trauma wounds directly.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR positive beliefs

You then type or use the microphone to create your affirmations.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR

Next relaunch the Eye Movement Tool. A screen will review your responses identifying your Positive Beliefs.

Screen shot of program of Virtual EMDR

After you complete this round of Eye Movement, you are asked again to score how you are feeling on a scale of 1 to 10.

You’re given the option to reload the Eye Movement Tool to further work on your positive beliefs.

Then you asked how believable your positive beliefs are to you. You are also encouraged to understand that, even if your positive beliefs aren’t fully believable yet, it may take several sessions of virtual EMDR for them to get there. 

Step 5

Close The Session

The final exercise is closing the session by bringing yourself back to a calm state of mind. To do this, you will use deep breathing. You’re also invited to engage with the breath work software that’s offered. 

For this portion, I supplement the breathing by visualizing the initial Target incident. I recall and affirm the Positive Beliefs for future interactions regarding the incident.

The deep breathing is very grounding to recenter yourself into your body.

Finally I do some inner child work and remind myself that, although I was not able to initiate protection for myself when I was small, I can and will do that for myself now as an adult. 

You’ll wrap up with a final closing reflection and a rating of your emotional distress now that the exercises complete.

Pros and Cons At A Glance

It’s essential for individuals considering Virtual EMDR to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits, and consider their personal circumstances, needs, and preferences when deciding if this mode of therapy is right for them.

Pros and Cons Through My Lens

Personality

The mission of my blog is self-healing. I believe wholeheartedly people have the power to heal themselves. It may be a very long process, but the belief in your power to return to wholeness is my foundational purpose. That’s why I feel that you, my readers, are here. Because you fundamentally believe that too. Virtual EMDR is a great fit in regard to that mindset.

Technology

Let’s be honest, remote technology can be intimidating. Add to that the seriousness of administering your own mental health therapy and it can just about be a deal breaker. You may dismiss the tool of online EMDR because you’re afraid of computer glitches that you can’t solve by yourself. Or maybe you have fear of re-traumatizing yourself, feeling emotionally overwhelmed without immediate, in-person support.

Since you’re not physically with your therapist, handling intense emotions that arise during the session could be more challenging. Only you can decide what’s best for you. Two areas of encouragement are the 3 day cancellation period if you change your mind and this guide I’ve created to support you.

Privacy vs. Intimacy

Despite having extremely high levels of trust and healing in my one-to-one relationship with my therapist over the course of many years, there is no substitute for me being alone with me. Having dedicated much time to establishing an intimate and trusting relationship with myself, I now know what’s best for me at all times with my trauma recovery. That’s why I love the self-directed model.

I have no history of negative interactions with a therapist, and I have many over the years. Without my primary long term therapist, I wouldn’t be where I am today. However, my trauma patterns are so deeply ingrained that it is natural to slip into codependency and have internal dialogues about what the other person is thinking or feeling. Initiating my own therapy process removes the risk of that.

Another problematic pattern of my codependency is to feel overly-responsible for another human. For example, the entanglement of reporting a positive or negative state to. a therapist in the beginning of therapy due to my tendency to be a people pleaser. Checking in with me and only me is more intimate and authentic.

Inclusivity, Settings, Choice

At each section, there are resources to help you understand and communicate your thoughts and feelings to get the most out of the experience. The resources are in text and video.

There is a left side toolbar for settings. You can change the time, object, speed, audio tone, object, size, background, and object, color, and object path. I find it helpful to change some of these around to experiment with what works best for my brain. You can even choose to have no audio at all. 

For example, one setting that I found, particularly helpful, was the black circle on a gray textured background with a deep audio beat. It reminded me of other meditative work I’ve done, this greatly enhanced my experience.

When I did in-person EMDR, there was no choice, which didn’t necessarily present a problem because I was a willing participant and eager to heal. However, after having the comparison of choice, I feel that having the freedom to choose is extremely important. 

Levels Of Trust

Virtual EMDR connects me to me. Since I’m working with myself, there is no filter. There is no risk of slipping into codependency or being judged by another human being.

The healing process elicits vulnerability, necessary to let go of the old and integrate the new. There is an almost automatic response to feeling vulnerable that translates to feeling unsafe. Whether in-person or Virtual, the discomfort of learning to trust is part of it. 

Throughout the entire process of answering questions, writing my responses, identifying my negative beliefs, and creating positive beliefs, the focus is primarily on learning how to forgive myself. Getting to that point has been the most crucial part of my self-healing journey. And the most liberating.

Final Thoughts On This Virtual EMDR Review

I’ve experienced firsthand the impact that online Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can have on re-framing negative perceptions and overcoming the triggers of the past. It helped me move through old ptsd distortions and clear negative emotions, characteristic of lingering effects of trauma. I recommend this program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Virtual EMDR really work?

Virtual EMDR can be effective, offering a flexible and accessible form of therapy for treating trauma and PTSD from a distance. Research suggests its outcomes can be comparable to in-person sessions, but effectiveness may vary based on individual factors and the severity of symptoms.

Will I cry during Virtual EMDR?

It’s possible to cry during virtual EMDR sessions, as the therapy often involves processing deep emotions and traumatic memories. Emotional responses are a natural part of the healing process for many individuals as they work through difficult experiences.

Who is a good candidate for EMDR?

A good candidate is someone experiencing symptoms of trauma or PTSD who is comfortable with technology and able to establish a safe, private space for therapy sessions. They should be stable enough to handle emotional processing without immediate in-person support, have a reliable internet connection, and be willing to engage in the therapeutic process.


Can Virtual EMDR help with depression and anxiety?

Yes. While it is primarily known for treating trauma and PTSD, EMDR can also be effective for conditions of depression and anxiety. By processing distressing memories and changing the negative beliefs associated with them, individuals may experience relief from depressive and anxious symptoms.

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