I sat for a session of Virtual EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, to be able to write this review from first-hand experience. Overall, this is a useful, convenient, and efficient online tool for a person to work through serious trauma experienced in the past, current addictions and personal loss. It feels like the online session has helped me rationalise my thoughts and feelings, see them from a different perspective and as a result the negative emotions started losing their power. Afterwards I could continue with my day in a more focussed and clear manner.

virtual emdr
Throughout the session, you are guided from one step to the next to ensure that you understand fully what questions you need to answer. Do not feel overwhelmed, there are not many questions to answer but they are enough to get you on the right track to know exactly what feelings and emotions you want to work on.

In preparation for the session, you start off by answering a couple of questions about how you are feeling today and how much time you wish to dedicate to this specific session; this varies from 15 to 50 minutes. You are then invited to tick from a list of issues you would like to work on during this time.

You will receive constant opportunities for clarifications to guide you on what to expect and how to benefit from your Virtual EMDR session. Virtual EMDR offers different protocols tailored to address different life situations that you may be facing. You can select from the Standard Protocol or Specific Protocols. All protocols follow the same Virtual EMDR process.

In the Standard Protocol, you are asked to select which issues you would like to focus on in your session. The Specific Protocols contain questions and content tailored to the specific situation, including Anxiety or Addictions.

Suffered from a past trauma?
Try virtual EMDR today to see results

How do you choose the issue you want to work in during the session?

Initially, you are invited to watch a short video that explains what you should expect from the session. It also helps you select the issues or target memory that you want to work on during your EMDR session. The Target memory is the disturbing memory or thought that causes your emotional distress. This may be a past event (abuse) , a present situation (recurring nightmare) or a future scenario (anxiety about the future). Having a clear target is important as during the session you will be focussing on it.
The session continues with questions and clarifications about the issue that you want to work through in this session, using Virtual EMDR.

You can write in a description of your problem. There are some suggestions listed at the bottom to which you can refer to, to choose your preferred statement. You are invited to incorporate images, sounds, smells, feeling and emotions that come to mind when you think of the problem or issue.

You are also invited to share whether you experience any physical sensations when you think about the specific issue. Your answers to the last 4 questions are then combined into a short description to use as the final EMDR Session Target.

At this stage you check in with your level of emotional distress when you think about the Target, something which you check in about again at the end of your session.

Suffered from a past trauma?
Try virtual EMDR today to see results

Moving from Negative to Positive Beliefs

In Virtual EMDR, each Target needs to be assigned to accompanying Negative Beliefs. These are disempowering messages or stories that you tell yourself. For example, “I will never be normal”, “I am powerless”, or “Things will never improve.”

You are presented with some case studies to help you assign the negative beliefs to your issue. Here you are invited to start using the Virtual EMDR Eye Movement Tool software to Desensitise your traumatic feelings, PTSD and memories and reset unwanted mental connections.

When the Eye Movement Tool is launched, you select the type of movement you would like to get, whether it is horizontally or diagonally.

Then a coloured ball with the background that you have selected, starts moving from side to side of your screen, with the aim of desensitisation.

You can use this Tool as many times and for as long as you like to work on reducing the intensity of your negative emotions. Afterwards you are given time and examples to install Positive Beliefs to replace the Negative Beliefs. Soon after you will take time to install these Positive Beliefs using EMDR processing.

Upon installing the positive beliefs and rating them on a Believability Scale, you are invited to take a few minutes to end your sessions with some focussed breathing.

You are also encouraged to take note of any observations you have made during this session for reference in future EMDR sessions.

For the best possible results in reducing the intensity of your negative thoughts and feelings, you are encouraged to use the Virtual EMDR platform several times. This will give you time and space to process your past memories relating to your Target issue or problem. In this way, the unwanted emotions and behaviours will become more manageable.

A supportive platform at all times

Using the Virtual EMDR tool, you can work at your own pace, fully guided through all the steps that you need to follow. You can go back to previous pages, in case you are not sure about something or you feel you need to amend some response.

You can also take up the offer of coaching sessions added to the virtual sessions. The convenience of having Virtual EMDR available anywhere and at all times adds to the comfort of this supportive tool for people going through challenging times.

Josiane Camilleri

Josiane Camilleri

Professor

Writer for Therapy Hunter as well as psychology
professor at Malta University.

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