Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR has helped many people overcome their mental disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now, there are virtual tools as well that allow people to self-administer the therapy. VirtualEMDR.com is one of the most prominent of these and you can try it out for free here.
This VirtualEMDR.com review will take a microscopic look at the website and its tools to see whether it’s even reliable. It will also examine virtual EMDR therapy, in general, whether it can be effective like EMDR delivered by a therapist in person or online.
On paper, it sounds like a blessing, but is it worth your time? Let’s find out. Below is a brief testimonial of one of their users to start with.
What is VirtualEMDR.com?
VirtualEMDR.com is a website that provides a fully virtual EMDR therapy program. This program is supposed to provide self-administered EMDR therapy. What this means is that anyone can follow the program and use the tools it provides to complete the therapy sessions without needing to go to or talk to a therapist.
Virtual EMDR isn’t that different from EMDR delivered by a therapist, except that there’s no communication with a therapist. The guides, illustrations, and videos take a step-by-step approach to walk the client through the eight stages of EMDR.
As this kind of therapy has a set protocol, the program follows the same principle that EMDR therapists follow. In fact, it has been developed with the help of EMDR experts who have experience in the field.
It’s completely online and can be accessed from anywhere through the website.
How Does It Work?
If you’re confused as to how a therapy that a therapist conducts can be done virtually, your confusion is understandable.
EMDR is a therapy that specifically focuses on trauma. That narrows down the problem you’ll be working on and the part of your life or an event that you need to reprocess.
Furthermore, it uses bilateral stimulation to distract the person while they explore the traumatic memories. The goal is to reprocess those memories into the more adaptive part of the brain.
Without going into the fine print of the therapy protocols, the VirtualEMDR.com tool incorporates all the processes, steps, and protocols that are set in the EMDR guide that all therapists use.
Here are the salient features of the VirtualEMDR.com self-administered EMDR program:
- Step-by-Step Guide: The program follows a step-by-step approach to educating the client every step of the way. This is important because that’s usually the job of the therapist. So instead of hearing from a therapist directly, you read and watch videos to understand EMDR protocols and what it is that you need to do.
- Session Worksheet: Typically, your therapist keeps track of all the sessions. In a similar way, the VirtualEMDR.com program has a session worksheet that records sessions automatically. This helps the client follow the therapy in an orderly way without confusion.
- Specialized EMDR: While EMDR was developed mainly for PTSD, it has shown benefits for other mental issues as well, such as anxiety, depression, and even trauma related to addiction. The VirtualEMDR.com tool designs the therapy around your specific needs.
- Help Chat: It has a help chat feature that participants can use to ask questions.
- Virtual Eye Movement Tool: For the bilateral stimulation part, the VirtualEMDR.com program features a proprietary eye movement (visual stimulation) tool that can be customized as per your needs.
Pros and Cons of VirtualEMDR.com
There are pros and cons to everything. If you’re considering VirtualEMDR.com for your EMDR therapy, here’s what we think its advantages and disadvantages are:
- Affordability – the biggest benefit of going with a virtual EMDR tool like VirtualEMDR.com is that it makes EMDR therapy a lot more affordable. As EMDR can expand up to 12 sessions, the overall therapist fee can be quite high.
- Flexibility – using a tool to do therapy on your own allows the flexibility to choose the time and place to do it. This eliminates the need to find a therapist whose availability coincides with yours.
- Easy to Use – we found that the tool is not that difficult to use. Everything is well-explained, which allows even a novice who has never done EMDR before to at least complete the sessions successfully.
- Comfort – when we say comfort, we don’t exactly mean physical comfort, rather mental comfort. Many people have a hard time sharing normal things about their life, let alone a traumatic experience. For such individuals, virtual EMDR may be a viable solution, as they can comfortably share their trauma without someone actually hearing it or even being present in the room.
- Learning Curve – as a self-administered EMDR tool, it involves a lot of learning, which is time-consuming. And not everyone is good with directions, so that can be a problem sometimes.
- Paid Coaching – the tool may be developed with the help of therapists, there’s no therapist involved in the actual delivery of therapy. For those who feel like they need extra coaching, the option is not included with the tool. You have to pay extra to get one-on-one counseling.
VirtualEMDR.com follows a monthly subscription pricing model, with their program priced at $69 per month. It also offers a three-day free trial, which can be helpful for making a decision on using the tool.
The pricing is comparatively very affordable, especially when compared with the per session cost with a licensed therapist. Even if it takes a few months for you to complete your EMDR sessions, you would have saved a lot of money.
That said, the pricing model also has its pros and cons. The pros are that it’s cheaper and offers flexibility because of the monthly subscription. You can complete the therapy at your own pace.
The con would be that for someone who takes longer to complete the necessary sessions, the cost would end up being higher. A flat rate combined with a generous time limit of access to the website could have been an even better pricing model.
Is VirtualEMDR.com Effective?
There’s no doubt that EMDR can be very beneficial for trauma victims. Multiple studies have shown that it’s a safe therapy that can help people deal with trauma and get back to normal.
There’s not much research into alternate delivery of this therapy, whether through online therapy sessions or through a tool like VirtualEMDR.com. That said, the reviews online seem to be mostly positive.
Its effectiveness relies on a number of factors, including how closely you follow the instructions. Just like using any other computer tool, this program also has to be done a certain way. However, the good thing is that since you have unlimited access as long as you keep paying every month, you can try again even if you stumble the first time.
It’s safe to say, based on the research on just EMDR as a therapy, that the VirtualEMDR tool also has the potential to produce similar results.
VirtualEMDR.com is a legit EMDR tool that can make it easier for many people to try out this therapy. It’s designed to be just as similar as the therapy given in a therapist’s offer, with the difference being that you’re your own therapist at the moment. You’re in charge of ensuring that you’re following all the directions in the guidelines.
All in all, it’s a well-designed tool that is worth trying, considering it’s so affordable. It may work for you or may not, but you’ll certainly walk away understanding EMDR a lot better.