remotEMDR Blog

This is the blog of remotEMDR – the leading platform for online EMDR therapy

In the United States, anxiety disorders are some of the most prevalent forms of mental illnesses. About 18.1% of the adult population, or 40 million American adults over the age of 18, suffer from some form of anxiety, as reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Though anxiety is a treatable illness, only 36.9% of those afflicted seek treatment. Thus, it’s important for American adults suffering from anxiety to understand their options for intervention. One such option is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, also known as EMDR.

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a kind of therapy that involves redirecting the distressing emotions and beliefs that come with traumatic memories. The Conversation provides a brief outline of how EMDR works. First, the psychologist interviews the patient about their motives for therapy. They will assess the patient’s memories and mental health history, then walk them through what they can expect from EMDR. Usually, the psychologist will also train their patient on relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation, helping them navigate the sessions.

The core of EMDR lies in desensitization. Once the patient has identified a traumatic memory they want to navigate, their psychologist will ask them to recall the specific memory while directing their focus on another activity. Usually, the patient will be asked to discuss the memory while watching the psychologist move a finger or pencil back and forth. Having a new activity to focus on forces the patient to engage new parts of their brain. Then, during this process, the patient is also asked to replace the negative beliefs associated with the memory with more positive beliefs.

Why does EMDR work?

Anxiety is not a bad emotion. Health publication website SymptomFind covered the basics of anxiety in one of their articles. According to their breakdown, anxiety occurs when the brain perceives a threat and alerts the sympathetic nervous system. In humanity’s primal days, anxiety gave their bodies the tools they needed to survive. When they encounter a predator, their brain sends the signal to the heart to beat faster, improving circulation and allowing the individual to run from the threat faster.

However, when you have anxiety, the brain gets stuck on that fight-or-flight response, even when it isn’t necessary. The feeling of fear then gets in the way of day-to-day living. Under EMDR, patients are forced to come up with positive beliefs that can replace the negative beliefs. This way, EMDR can redirect the side of the brain that has become stuck.

Online and in-person EMDR

Previously, patients were limited to therapists that operated clinics near where they were located. Online, patients are no longer limited by location and have the freedom to choose the therapist they believe is best for their situation. Online EMDR usually involves live audio-visual video chats between patients and therapists. Though the treatment is performed remotely rather than in person, synchronous sessions allow EMDR principles to remain the same even online. The only thing EMDR needs to work is a stimulus or grounding technique that can redirect the patient’s thoughts as they hold on to traumatic memories. Online EMDR sessions can provide these stimuli. For instance, remotEMDR’s Online EMDR Therapy Platform uses visual, auditory, and tactile bilateral stimuli, all of which are controlled by a therapist that gets to monitor the patient live.

Anxiety can be a challenging mental illness to live with. Fortunately, innovations in technology and psychological treatments allow those suffering from anxiety to seek effective interventions from the safety of their home.

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