EMDR: Can You Do It on Yourself? Self-Guided Exploration

Team Health Cages

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how to do emdr on yourself

It’s good to have a trained therapist for EMDR, but some people try it themselves. First, think about a hard memory. Find a quiet, comfy place with few distractions. Focus on that memory while moving your eyes or tapping on both sides. Let your feelings come up and watch them without being tough on yourself. Remember to be nice to yourself and get help from a professional if you need it for a safe EMDR experience.

Here, we’ll discuss the following topics:

What is EMDR?

(Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) EMDR is a kind of therapy that has eight parts to help people deal with tough memories and feelings. A therapist guides you through these parts.

In the beginning, the therapist helps you figure out which memories bother you the most. Some memories are easy to see, but not all. Some are hidden in your mind, and you might not even know about them. These hidden memories can make you react strongly to things happening now, like having a sudden panic attack or getting angry for no clear reason.

These strong reactions are like your body remembering something from the past, even if you don’t realize it. It can also make you do things over and over that seem like they’re hurting you, but you don’t know why. These behaviors are how your body learned to handle tough situations before. EMDR helps you work through these memories and feelings so they don’t bother you as much.

EMDR doesn’t make the bad things from the past go away, but it helps your brain and body handle them better. After successful EMDR, those tough memories should feel more manageable. You won’t feel stuck or controlled by strong emotions or repeat the same behaviors over and over.

How to do EMDR on Yourself

Get Ready

Find a quiet and safe place where you can focus on making yourself feel better. Make sure there are no distractions, and set aside some time just for you.

Pick the Memory

Think about a tough memory or event that bothers you. It could be something that happened once or something that keeps happening and makes you feel upset.

Imagine a Safe Place

In your mind, picture a safe and calm place. This is like a mental hideout where you can go if things get too intense during your self-help session.

Move Your Eyes

Sit comfortably and start, especially, by moving your eyes. You can do this by looking at something and moving your eyes back and forth, or you can use apps or websites that show things to help your eyes move.

Let It Out

While moving your eyes, let your thoughts, feelings, and sensations come up. Don’t judge them, just let them be. After you’re done, take some time to think about how you feel and if anything changed or became clearer.

The Benefits of Self EMDR

Easy Access Doing EMDR on your own means you get the good parts of therapy without going to an office or spending a lot of money.

Flexible You can do self-help EMDR whenever you want, without having to make appointments with a therapist. It’s all up to you.

Private Some people feel better dealing with tough memories and feelings at home, where they have more privacy.

Taking Control When you do self-help EMDR, you’re the one in charge. You get to be a big part of making yourself feel better emotionally.

Can You Use EMDR Devices at Home?

For doing self-help EMDR, you might need a special device. Without one, you’d have to get someone else to do the eye movements for you.

But if you’re doing it on your own, you’ll need a device for the eye movement part. For example, you can use a light bar in front of you. You control the light’s color, brightness, and speed, and you start the session. You can even change the settings while you’re doing it. So, it’s all in your hands.

There are other devices you can use for the same thing, making it safe and effective to do this important part of EMDR at home. Using these devices is pretty easy, but you might need some time to figure out exactly how they work.

While there are virtual tools for eye movement, having a physical device might be better. You can control it easily with a handheld device while sitting comfortably. You don’t have to keep looking at a computer screen.

But, it’s important to pick the right virtual tool. Our tool, for example, comes with everything you need, and it’s much cheaper than buying a device separately. It makes the whole process easier for someone who’s already dealing with a lot.

Types of EMDR Devices

When using a virtual tool for EMDR, you might need devices for the process. The type of device depends on how you want to stimulate both sides of your body or senses.

There are three ways to stimulate both sides in EMDR: visually, through sound, and touch.

  1. Visual Stimulation This involves moving your eyes from side to side or up and down, following something that’s moving. It could be a finger or a light. Devices for this include light bars.
  1. Auditory Stimulation This means hearing different sounds in each ear, one after the other. You can use headphones with special software for this.
  1. Tactile Stimulation This is about feeling something on your body, like tapping on your shoulders or knees. Tappers or handheld devices are used for this, and they vibrate in a specific way.

For each type, there are specific devices

  • Light Bars These are bars with lights that move from side to side. You can control them with a device or through an app. You can change the settings, like how fast the light moves.
  • Headphones These are for hearing different sounds in each ear. Special software controls how fast or slow the sounds play.
  • Tappers These are small handheld devices that vibrate in a specific way to mimic tapping. You can adjust their settings too.

So, depending on what kind of stimulation you want, you’d choose the right device. Each device can be adjusted to suit your needs during EMDR.


Using EMDR with virtual tools and gadgets can help handle tough memories and feelings. Whether it’s seeing something move, hearing sounds, or feeling gentle taps, there are choices for people trying to help themselves at home in a cozy and private way.

Different devices, like light bars, headphones, or tappers, suit different tastes and feelings. Picking the right one depends on what type of back-and-forth movement works best for you.

By doing EMDR on your own, you get to decide when and where, keeping things flexible and private. Even though figuring out how these devices work might take a bit, the chance of feeling better emotionally makes it a good option for those on their journey to healing.


Q1. Can you do EMDR on yourself?

A1. Self-administering EMDR on one’s own is feasible, however, it’s not always advised. It is advised that you limit your use of self-administered EMDR programs to smaller-scale traumas, such as “minor” events that have occurred recently.

Q2. How to do EMDR at home

A2. Choose an EMDR video after getting an overview. Practice adjusting your eyes. Finish answering the EMDR questions. Configure the EMDR screen. Remember the unsettling picture as clearly as you can. Consider the unsettling idea in as much detail as you can.

Q3. Can EMDR therapy be done alone?

A3. People who have gone through a terrible incident may find great relief from it using EMDR treatment, a kind of trauma-focused therapy. On the other hand, EMDR treatment is not something that one should perform on their own.

Q4. Who cannot use EMDR?

A4. Compared to other therapeutic approaches, EMDR does have certain disadvantages. It is only effective for ailments brought on by stressful events. EMDR is unlikely to be helpful if your mental health issue is the result of an accident, a hereditary disorder, or some physical impact on your brain.

Q5. What are the exercises for EMDR?

A5. Exercises like walking, running, drum circles, tapping (bilaterally), and even horseback riding can be used as self-administered EMDR.