The Challenge and Stress of COVID-19
Intro to Online EMDR Group or Individual Therapy as a Solution
“The online group EMDR protocol experience is a really efficient way to bring calm to sticky or desperate situations to several people at a time, in a short time!”
Bay Area, CA
Fortunately, EMDR therapy can be done effectively online individually or in a group. Which of these approaches will be optimal for you is a collaborative decision between yourself and Dana Elken Terrell? Take your time with the important points here. They will give you initial guidance and orientation. You may also want to access more info about Dana Elken Terrell and her professional experience, here.
WOULD INDIVIDUAL EMDR or GROUP EMDR BE BEST FOR ME?
Individual therapy is safest for people who have had significant early trauma. People with scary experiences at early and vulnerable ages frequently avoid difficulty by zoning out or dissociating to a greater or lesser extent. If you know that is true for you, you know that group EMDR would not be able to meet your needs. You need therapy tailored to your moment-to-moment feelings and experience. Sometimes people in the habit of being unaware, may not be aware of their own zoning out. Dana provides an assessment form called the DES to help each potential client and Dana to understand that in added detail.
Group therapy is a good option for you if you:
Have a support system of people willing to listen to your open sharing about how you are doing. And you are mutually supportive to these people.
Did not have significant early trauma, or have already done healing work on earlier trauma*
*An exception to this is cases where the COVID-19 situation is strongly triggering reminders of the early trauma. A very competent and healthy professional whom I have worked with is now experiencing this. She needed individual therapy, and in the future may be able to access group therapy.
Have not had a traumatic experience with a therapist, in a group setting, or with drawing or art. The group protocol uses a very simple drawing process, with simple stick figure drawing. No one will see your drawings. Their purpose is to help focus your mind and observe what you are most concerned about at this moment.
If you have had one of the above traumatic experiences, it would be recommended to first do individual therapy on the trauma to clear it, and then decide if you want to join the group. I have done this successfully in the past with others. After my clients decided they cleared enough, they joined the next scheduled group when they felt ready to do so.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR ONLINE INDIVIDUAL THERAPY
PREPARATION FOR YOUR ONLINE EMDR THERAPY EXPERIENCE
Checklist (click here to print out this checklist for your convenience)
Please set aside 30-60 minutes three days ahead of your session to prepare for your optimal therapy experience: Complete the Assessment paperwork and submit to Dana for review to enable her to best provide for your safety and well-being as you do this emotional work. After she receives your paperwork, she will advise you about individual vs. group therapy, and give you a link to enable you to schedule your first session. Create a folder or binder notebook in which to collect the following:
Print Assessment Forms called Impact of Events, DES, and Client Record. Submit these promptly to Dana by email:
Print handouts called Processing Page, Spectrum, NC/PC
Bonus Video “Could You Have an Overfocused Brain?”
(not applicable for all, but a great help if you identify that it is relevant for you):
After Dana has determined that group therapy should be a safe choice for you
you will be given an email link to reserve your space in the group and make your payment online through the secure platform of Square. Dana will not have any access to your confidential financial information.
the email will instruct you how to access Dana Elken Terrell’s therapy room online.
If individual therapy is recommended, Dana will determine if she would be able to accommodate you or if she will make recommendations to contact three therapists. She can make more knowledgeable recommendations in San Diego. Otherwise, she generally recommends Certified EMDR therapists, which can be located through ComprehensiveTherapyApproach.com, a directory that exclusively lists Certified EMDR therapists. Or, you can contact emdria.org and search there for a Certified EMDR therapist. They have a high level of training. If you have issues with dissociation, search for a therapist with that specialty (Dana does not specialize in that treatment, though she can assist with mild to moderate dissociation).
TWO DAYS BEFORE YOUR ONLINE SESSION:
Be sure to download or update your app for Doxy.me (individual therapy) or GotoMeeting.com (group therapy).
Ensure that your computer operating system and your email browser are updated to the most current version. Join the session only by computer with video instead of by phone. Do not begin with a phone. This helps everyone feel more comfortable as we meet online. If there is a technical glitch and you lose your connection, phone is fine at that point as a back-up. Thus, keep the phone number instructions handy in case you need them.
Please test your computer's WebCam and microphone, by going to the WebCamMictest.com It is important for Dana [and in the case of group therapy, all participants] to be able to see you and hear you clearly during the session. Make sure your volume is turned up on your speaker so you can hear us.
Prepare for drawing
Buy or collect crayons, colored pencils or colored markers so you are ready for the drawing experience.
NOTE: some people are more comfortable with writing the scenes, and maybe adding a little dialogue about what was distressing. If words help you paint a visual picture, feel free to use that method. Please keep the detail minimal as you will only have 2 minutes to draw or “paint” a simple image of what is distressing you.
ADDED NOTE: Many people find some “ah ha” moments through their drawings. It helps them access distress that may have been glossed over at the time, but still has a “hangover” effect. Thus, I encourage you to give drawings a try even if you prefer verbal description.
THE NIGHT BEFORE, OR MORNING OF, YOUR SESSION:
allow any updates, close your internet browser, and shut down your computer
please only join the online group by a computer video method that allows us to see you, at least to begin.
Confidentiality: I have chosen HIPPA-compliant venues for therapy: Doxy.me for individual therapy and GotoMeeting.com for group therapy. These platforms protect your privacy. In group, Your Consent to Treatment form includes signing a commitment to maintain confidentiality of the identity of all in the group and what they contribute. Also, I will sometimes ask for feedback about your subjective units of distress (SUDS) level from 0-10 or other feedback. You can share that with us verbally, or quickly giving me a hand signal with your fingers. If you want confidentiality during this share, it is good self-care to make this request. Just say, “May I have confidentiality?” I’ll say “Yes, please cover your eyes everyone for a moment, until I have time to record the SUDS level.” This may be a wise practice for anyone who could feel a group pressure to conform to the direction others numbers are changing. Honest feedback is important to your healing experience and to Dana’s accurate understanding of how you are doing. If you are not comfortable with giving your therapist this feedback in the group setting, then group treatment is not a good choice for you at this time.
Provide for your best self-care during the session. This repeats info in the “Self-care” video
Choose a setting to be in with consideration of your privacy. It is not advisable to sit on your bed. Please show a neutral view of your setting.
Provide for confidentiality in your own space. If you think children or others may listen in on your session, place a radio or white noise machine near the door and as far from yourself as possible so as not to interfere with the audio for your session. Or, some people find confidentiality in their car. Either way, please be prepared to let me know if you are at your home, or another location. If you are in your car, please let me know where your car is parked giving an address or cross streets. I will be in my home office at 3537 Boundary Street, San Diego.
Create a Comfort Zone around you. In the office, your therapist creates a comfortable space for you, including tissues, water, comfy pillows, and attractive visual art as well as aromatherapy. Please choose a number of these amenities to keep you comfortable during your session. This is good self-care. You may want to have photos of loved one(s) nearby as well.
SIGNING ON FOR YOUR SESSION:
Please sign on 5-10 minutes early. Dana will be available early, and we can use the time to connect a bit and try to help one another with any tech issues (Dana is not super high-tech herself, but problems often resolve if you close your browser, app, and/or computer and try again. This is the first step worth to try promptly if you have issues. And it helps you not miss session time if you check in early to work out any bugs.) The group session will begin at the designated time, or as soon as 75% of the people are ready.
AFTER YOUR SESSION:
EMDR therapy is concentrated work for body and mind, heart and soul. This generally feels positive, but you may feel like yawning and taking a nap. If you can plan for this, it is a kindness to yourself. If it’s not possible, please try to schedule time soon for extra rest. This will help to calm your body and relax your mind as you integrate the benefits of EMDR.