Adapting EMDR to Telehealth

Guidance from an EMDR-certified expert

Megan Howard, LCSW, CSUD, EMDR CIT

EMDR is a must-have trauma treatment tool and telehealth is here to stay…but how can you get the most out of your sessions with virtual clients?

Successful utilization of EMDR via telehealth requires clinicians to adapt, be flexible, and learn. It also requires clients to utilize skills in settings where they’re having to manage daily stresses and triggers. This can be a great way to get them to practice resourcing skills.

When entering telehealth sessions, it’s essential for the clinician to lay the groundwork for what’s going to happen, being especially mindful of how to collaborate with the client. For example, what will keep the session on track when the environment becomes distracting or triggering? It’s essential to focus on ways the clinician and client can collaborate, and this will in turn build rapport.

Telehealth allows the clinician to enter the client’s world. Consider building collaboration and rapport by having the client show some aspects of their environment: a picture of their family, something they ground with, or even the place they go to calm down and get re-centered.

But in order to keep the client in their window of tolerance, we have to establish how to safely navigate their environment. What will happen if there are distractions or the Internet connection drops? Before beginning virtual EMDR, it’s important to take the time to establish what’s going to be grounding.

These distractions can be seen as downfalls, but they also give clients the opportunity to create new strengths, as well as build their resiliency and confidence.

Learn more about the unique roles of the clinician and client in a virtual setting, as well as the necessary steps to creating a safe virtual space in this short video from Megan Howard, LCSW, CSUD, EMDR CIT:





Ready for your next telehealth session? Read our next blog next blog to get Megan Howard’s favorite virtual EMDR resources.

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Meet the Expert:
Megan Howard, LCSW, CSUD, EMDR CIT, was trained on the use of EMDR as a treatment protocol through EMDRIA and uses EMDR in her practice to achieve improved outcomes with a broad spectrum of clients in the areas of trauma, abuse, and substance abuse.

She is certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals and currently owns and operates one of the largest treatment centers for substance abuse and trauma in the state of Idaho. She has been invited to train internationally at the International Society of Addiction Medicine in India and at the International Conference on Addiction Research and Therapy in Amsterdam.

Ms. Howard earned her Masters in Clinical Social Work from Northwest Nazarene University and is a member of EMDRIA and the International Society of Addiction Medicine.

Learn more about their educational products, including upcoming live seminars, by clicking here.

Topic: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Tags: EMDR | How To | Telehealth | Therapy Tools | Trauma | Video

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