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Online EMDR?

answered 11:39 AM EST, Thu July 28, 2011
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I suffer from PTSD from a really bad accident I was a few months ago. I was reading that EMDR can help people to get over traumatic memories and I think that need some help. However, there is no one offering EMDR within reasonable driving distance of my home. I have been looking at internet therapy as a possibility that might work for me, but is EMDR something that can be done over the internet?

Jody Hansen Says...

Jody Hansen J. Hansen
MA, LPC, NCC, FAPA

Greetings,

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)  is a specialized form of psychotherapy that is often used for treating PTSD and associated conditions, including depression. With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the brain fails to process the trauma- it gets "stuck" in the central nervous system. The body fails to recognize that the person is now "safe" and instead reacts as though danger is current.  It's important to know that EMDR typically is integrated into a conventional psychotherapy regimen and is not usually used alone to treat PTSD, which brings me to the specific answer to your question.

EMDR requires the use of "dual attention stimulus", requiring direct interaction with the therapist.  While it may be possible to incorporate some EMDR techniques into online therapy, their overall effectiveness would be greatly diminished.  However, there are many other clinically proven therapeutic interventions that could be highly successful with online therapy. Two important things to keep in mind are:

  1. Make sure the therapist you choose is licensed and experienced with, or even specializing in, PTSD (both online and in person); and
  2. Seek help as soon as possible, even if it is a form of therapy other than EMDR- the sooner you get started, the sooner you will find relief. 

Best wishes to you....

Jody

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