Bilateral Base – Apps & Equipment for Online EMDR Therapy
If you’re reading this article because an online session hasn’t run entirely smoothly then you’ve been unfortunate and in most cases the issue will be easy to solve.
We work with many thousands of organisations, individual therapists and their clients all over the world and we have a very high call success rate thanks to the leading-edge technologies we use for video calls and bilateral stimulation therapies.
If all the participants on a call have a good internet and an up-to-date computer, then problems are very unlikely. Issues with calls may arise due to firewalls that block connections, poor internet connections or very old devices that struggle to run video calls.
On the rare occasion that a session doesn’t run entirely smoothly, it will in a vast majority of cases be resolved by you/your client taking the following simple steps:
(the guidance below is written for therapists/clients using PC/Mac for their session which is the most typical set up. If a mobile device is being used and you have an issue then please contact us)
Below we have a little more detail as to why these steps will often fix things occasional issues and how to do them:
If a session failed to connect then there may be a firewall or other restriction preventing video calls. See Network Configuration Settings
This may seem a surprising suggestion, but it never ceases to amaze us how often this will resolve a technical issue with a session running. Modern computers can often keep running for months or even years without being fully switched off or restarted. Many users now just fold down their laptop screen or put their computer in ‘sleep’ mode when not using it. Over time this can cause the system to get a little ‘clogged up’ which will gradually slow the system down and make it more likely that an error will occur. Restarting your computer occasionally has the effect of giving it a ‘freshen up’ and helps maximise its performance. Video calls and our bilateral stimulation technologies require quite a lot of power from your computer so it’s important it is running as optimally as possible.
This applies if you/your client are using a typical home internet setup with a router/wifi hub connected to your phone line. Internet routers are really mini computers that manage the flow of data in and out of your home. They’re often left on for weeks or months at a time and after a while, you may find they get a little ‘gummed up’ which results in a slower or inconsistent internet connection. Turning your router off and on again will refresh the routers internal systems and the connections it has with your computer and the outside world and often you will see a speed increase after doing this.
True story – I helped a therapist the other day who was at her wits end with her slow internet connection that could not run video calls smoothly on any video service. we measured the speed of her connection and it was very slow. We restarted her router and it was 10X faster and ran video perfectly.
You may have been told that you have a very fast internet connection to your home. This is usually made possible because the data is travelling through cables to where you live. However, most users typically have wifi in their home to connect to the internet. Wifi is generally great at transmitting from one side of a room to the other, it can usually cope with getting through one internal wall in your home (provided it’s not crazy thick). But two walls or other solid obstacles between you and your wifi transmitter can reduce your internet speed to a trickle.
You can check your internet speed by using a 3rd party site such as https://www.speedtest.net/ (then click ‘GO’) you need at least 3Mbps upload/download and ideally over 10Mbps for video calls. If you’re not getting a good speed result then try moving your computer to being next to your wifi transmitter to see if there’s a difference. If this solves the issue but being close to your wifi transmitter is impractical for your sessions, then there are ways of overcoming this to improve the speed of the connection to your work zone. There’s already lots of information on the internet about this but let us know if you need us to point you in the right direction for a solution.
Bilateral Base is compatible with all four of the major web browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox & Safari) and in most cases it makes no difference which of these you/your client uses on their PC/Mac. However with thousands of sessions being run on our platform each day, we have noticed that Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge to do have a slight advantage in call stability if the connection between you and your client happens to be slow or patchy when compared to Firefox and Safari. So if you are having some sort of issue running a session then try switching to Chrome (or Edge if for any reason you can’t want to use Chrome).
If you are a Mac user, then you may be using quite an old version of the Safari browser. Unlike the other browsers, it does not automatically keep itself up to date. It only updates to the latest version when you update the Mac operating system and this is optional, so may users are slow to do this. So if this is you and you haven’t updated your mac in a while, you could be using a 2 or 3 year old version of safari browser which my have security vulnerabilities and also may not run video calls and bilateral stimulation technologies well. The quickest solution is to switch to Chrome which takes just a few minutes, (and you should also update the operating system to the latest version to keep your computer as secure as possible).
We have helped users who have had issues with a session and discovered that there are other people on the same internet connection doing data intensive activities like Video calls, online games or watching video streaming services like Netflix. If you have a fast internet connection it should be able to handle multiple users, but if yours is relatively slow, then avoiding these activities happening when you are on a Bilateral Base session could resolve your issue.
As mentioned earlier, video calls and bilateral stimulation are quite intensive tasks and need your computer to be running well. If you have lots of other programs open on your computer then these will be taking up processing power and computer memory. Try shutting down programs you don’t need to speed up you computer. If you are having an issue with your camera, microphone or speakers/headphones then make sure that any other video services are shut down e.g. Zoom. Because they may be preventing Bilateral Base from accessing your webcam, microphone and speakers/headphones.
For some people, headphones take a bit of getting used to, but we would always recommend that you and your clients wear headphones for your sessions. Of course if they are not available then use computer speaker etc but we recommend wired headphones for the following reasons
Headphones today often have a microphone built into them. Having a microphone close to your mouth dramatically improves the clarity of your voice to the other participant (if you look at news anchor on the TV you will see they usually have a tiny microphone attached to the front of their top, this is because it needs to be close so you can hear them clearly and it’s the same idea with headphones that have a microphone in them for your sessions. Wired headphones often come bundled with smartphones and can also be purchased very cheaply.
Tip – if you find wearing headphones a bit weird because it’s hard to hear yourself, try removing one side from your ear. (except during auditory bilateral stimulation when clients need to have both headphones on/in their ears)
Wireless headphones – We see an increasing number of users with wireless headphones. We don’t recommend these for clients as not all pairs (e.g. Apple Airpods) will work with auditory bilateral stimulation because of a limitation with how they work. Also while they’re pretty reliable they do sometimes disconnect which can be disruptive. If auditory bilateral stimulation is not going to be part of your session then wireless headphones can be used if not wireless ones are available.
If you’ve got to this point in this article and you haven’t yet managed to resolve your issue then please reach out and our friendly and knowledgeable support team will help you to get things working smoothly.
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