The Making of Bi-Tapp, Inc
by Cindy A Jones, LCSW
Why I became an EMDR therapist
In 1996, when I was attending graduate school in the field of social work, we were told that EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD, was a flash in the pan kind of therapy and that it wouldn’t be around for long. I did not challenge that belief until 16 years into my practice when I was working as a mental health therapist, primarily focusing in the area of trauma resolution. I had a client with complex trauma and I did my very best to facilitate her healing, relying on everything I had been trained in up to that point in my career. However, my best was not enough, she needed someone with a skill level beyond what I possessed at the time. I recognized my limitations and I encouraged her to try different therapy modalities. She tried EMDR therapy and came back and told me that I needed to look into it and get trained in this therapy. There are touchstone events in all of our lives, and my decision to become formally trained in EMDR therapy was one of the best professional decisions I have ever made.
I experienced an immediate difference in my clinical outcomes. My transition to learning EMDR therapy could be likened to a physician who was trained to do surgery the old fashioned way to one who is taught to do laparoscopic surgery. Due to the efficiency and effectiveness of EMDR therapy, I began to hire more and more therapists to work in my clinic. I encouraged everyone to become trained and certified in EMDR therapy.
Every therapist in my practice had a full caseload and all had waiting lists. Many of us were working long hours to try to accommodate the needs of our community. Hayley Taylor, who is the administrative director of my practice, and I were visiting about the efficiency of EMDR therapy and the increasing mental health needs of our community, which is not unlike any other community. We knew that what we were doing was not sustainable for an extended length of time. Out of sheer necessity, we began to think outside the box, to explore ways to help the community at large. It was Hayley’s idea to make bilateral tapping available as a resource to the general public. When she said it, we both realized that’s the direction we needed to take.
Bilateral Tapping offered as a calming resource to the general public
I have attended many advanced clinical trainings and will continue to do so, in an effort to stay current in my field and grow as an EMDR therapist. Two of the EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) approved trainings I attended, influenced our thinking in regards to the creation of our product.
One of the first advanced trainings I attended was by Mark Grant, MA from Australia. He had researched bilateral stimulation as a stand-alone resource and found that it was very effective in reducing anxiety and pain. Anyone can buy the App he created (Anxiety Release) which focuses on bilateral tones. I had clients use his App as a resource and their feedback was positive. There was even one student attending the local university who had test anxiety, she was given permission to listen to the bilateral tones while taking a test and her score went up to over 90%. He currently has 3 Apps available to the general public to access.
I also attended advanced trainings by Craig Penner, LMFT, who teaches in great detail how to track whether or not someone is in their “window of tolerance” or not, a term coined by Dr. Dan Siegel. Craig primarily uses manual bilateral tapping as the means to reprocess trauma and I found that the tapping was preferable to the equipment I had used to date. Hayley and I were convinced that we needed to replicate the tapping sensation as closely as possible, especially since people were going to use the tappers as a calming resource.
We met with a team of engineers in February 2016 to share our idea and they agreed to work with us. We got to the point where we had prototypes for people to try out, we wanted feedback. We had people of all ages try them as well as people with various presenting issues try them. We had people use the tappers for a short amount of time, for thirty minutes at a time and then we asked people to use the tappers as often as they felt they needed or wanted to use them, including someone who used them for several hours during an international flight. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We continued to refine the tappers, until Bi-Tapp, which stands for bilateral tapping became available for the general public to purchase on November 1, 2017.
Our company was founded in 2017. We created Bluetooth tappers to empower people of all ages to have access to a resource that can be used anytime and anywhere to reduce stress and anxiety. Sleep better. Function better. Focus better. Feel better.