Frequently Asked Questions
What is alternating Bilateral Stimulation?
Alternating bilateral stimulation (BLS) is an alternating stimulus from one side of the body to the other, i.e., left side to right. The types of stimulation can be a vibration or pulse that can be felt through the tactile senses, a light signal or hand movement that guides the eyes bilaterally, or a sound that alternates from one ear to the other. Any one of these bilateral signals are used in EMDR to facilitate the desensitization or reprocessing of painful or distressing memories. The bilateral signals are also used for resource development and installation (RDI) of positive or peaceful memories or thoughts.
What are “Tappers”?
“Tappers” are pulsars used by EMDR therapists to create an alternating pulse or vibration from one side of the body to the other. They can be held in each hand or tucked into right and left side pockets. This app can replicate the side-to-side pulsing using a single iPhone, two iPhones or an iPhone and an Apple Watch.
How do I start my smartphone tapping?
Simply set the amount of time between vibrations and the number of passes (a pass is one complete set from left to right), open the app on your Apple Watch and press start. For two iPhones, the settings will have to be independently set and start will have to be pressed at the same time on the two phones.
How do I stop my Apple Watch from going to sleep while using the app?
Only the Apple Watch 5 allows the user to keep the watch face always on. For all other Apple Watch versions, the best way to keep the watch from going to sleep while using the EMDR Tappers app is to change the wake screen settings of the watch. To do that, go to the Watch app, and then the General settings, followed by the Wake Screen settings. Set the Apple Watch to stay awake for 70 seconds after interactions.
How do I set up the app with 2 iPhones so that we can use the vibration stimulus?
There are two ways to make the app work on two phones. The first is to manually set both of the phones to the same settings and press start simultaneously. With the latest version of EMDR Tappers (version 2.5) there is a more seamless way to sync the phones. Simply, press the “Two Phone” settings and “Host a session” with one phone and “Join a session” with the other phone. Then you connect the two phones and adjust the settings on one of the two phones and press start. The two phones should start vibrating synchronously.
Why won't my Apple Watch download the EMDR Tappers app?
For problems with the EMDR Tappers app for Apple Watch, first update your Apple Watch operating system. Next try downloading the EMDR Tappers app to your Apple Watch using the Watch app on your iPhone. To test the connection between your Apple Watch and iPhone, use another Apple Watch app that requires a companion iPhone app like the Apple Watch’s camera app. After completing the above steps and verifying that everything is working well with your iPhone and Apple Watch, try deleting and re-downloading the EMDR Tappers app.
How does the EMDR Tappers app stimulate eye movement? Is the app as effective as a light bar?
The EMDR Tappers app uses two types of animations to stimulate eye movement. One type of animation is a sliding animation in which an object moves from side to side on the phone. This animation style is very similar to a light bar and is the default animation for the EMDR Tappers app on a single phone. The second animation style uses multiple devices to animate the appearance and disappearance of a graphic synchronously with the vibrations of the EMDR tappers on each device.
I have downloaded the app but the audio is not working. How do I fix that?
For sound, make sure that your iPhone is turned off silent mode. Another way to verify the sound is working is to plug in headphones to your device. These two actions fix most problems with audio, but please contact us if you continue to experience problems.
Is any extra hardware required to use with the EMDR Tappers app?
No. The EMDR Tappers app is designed to use the hardware you already own and carry around daily (smart phone, smart watch, and earphones) to synchronously vibrate, chime, and show animations.
Is the EMDR Tappers app available on Android?
Yes! Use the ‘Get it on Google Play’ icon to access the Android app or simply search for EMDR Tappers on the Google Play store.
What is the difference between the free app and the premium version of the app?
The free EMDR Tappers app allows unlimited, custom bilateral stimulation with sound, vibrations, and animations. The EMDR Tappers app does not and will not use advertisements. For a one-time fee of $9.99, the user can unlock the premium version of the EMDR Tappers app, which allows the user to change the color of the animation, select the sound of the chime, and save the custom bilateral stimulation settings for later use.
What if I feel worse after using the tappers?
The desensitization and reprocessing of a distressing memory is a complex process. First and foremost, you will need to build the capacity to go to a positive experience to calm your body, before you start processing a negative event. Also, a traumatic or distressing memory has many components of images, thoughts (meanings), emotions, body sensations, and habitual responses that have coupled together following the onset of the distressing event. You may need to slow down the processing of the memory with a trained EMDR therapist to effectively work through it.
I have already bought the premium EMDR Tappers app features but cannot seem to access them. How do I fix that?
If you have already purchased the premium features for the EMDR Tappers app but cannot access them, simply navigate to the Settings page (gear icon) and press the "Restore Purchases” button, and all purchases will be restored. If you experience any additional trouble, please contact us.
How do I turn on the EMDR Tappers app until cancelled? Can I set the number of passes to infinite?
Yes, in order to not define a number of passes and allow the EMDR Tappers app to continue until cancelled, simply press the two blue arrows next to the “Number of Passes” caption to set the pass number to infinite. This feature is only available on Version 2.0 or later of the app and for premium users.