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Does Medicare Cover EMDR Therapy?

Does Medicare Cover EMDR Therapy?

Does Medicare Cover EMDR Therapy?

Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) covers Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. If your EMDR therapy is deemed medically essential, Medicare will pay for it.1 Medicare coverage for EMDR requires a referral from your health care practitioner first.

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How to Verify Medicare EMDR Coverage

Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans. Filling out our free, no-obligation online insurance verification form is the easiest and quickest method to determine your EMDR therapy Medicare coverage.

Let our highly experienced, expert care coordinators handle the difficulties of contacting your insurance carrier for more information about EMDR Medicare coverage. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and clearly explain your options. Rest assured that any information shared or discussed is kept private.

What is Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

EMDR is a method of psychotherapy in which a patient recalls traumatic events while receiving bilateral stimulation, such as eye movement from side to side or tapping on each side of the body.2 It is a type of mental health treatment that aids in the recovery of those who have had traumatic memories or difficult life circumstances.

How Does EMDR Work?

EMDR involves an eight-phase,3 focused approach to treating trauma and other symptoms. It entails safely reconnecting the traumatized person to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma. This allows the brain’s natural healing powers to move toward resolution.

  • Phase 1: History-taking and treatment planning
    • The therapist and the client collaborate to set treatment goals, taking a thorough history and conducting mental health evaluations. Memories, current triggers, and future ambitions are all possible targets.
  • Phase 2: Preparation
    • The therapist explains the treatment and introduces the techniques to the client, who then practices the eye movement and other components.
  • Phase 3: Assessment
    • By recognizing and analyzing each of the memory components: image, cognition, affect, and physical experience, assessment activates the memory targeted in the session.
  • Phases 4: Desensitization
    • The patient concentrates on the memory while moving their eyes or performing other bilateral stimulation (BLS). They report on any new ideas that have come up. Using standardized processes, the therapist defines the target of each set of BLS. The next series of BLS is usually focused on the associated material. This approach is repeated until the client indicates that the recollection no longer bothers them.
  • Phase 5: Installation
    • The installation phase bolsters the favored positive cognition.
  • Phase 6: Body scan
    • Patients track their physical responses while thinking about the incident and the positive cognition to detect any residual distress. If a client reports a disturbance, it is handled using regular protocols involving the BLS.
  • Phase 7: Closure
    • Closure occurs at the end of every session. Specific instructions and procedures are used to offer containment and assure safety until the next session if the patient did not fully process the targeted memory during the session.
  • Phase 8: Re-evaluation
    • The next session begins with phase eight. The therapist examines the client’s present state, if treatment effects have been sustained, and what memories may have emerged. They then work together to create targets for the current session.

What Does EMDR Therapy Treat?

Psychologist Francine Shapiro invented EMDR in 1987,4 originally used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).5 Since then, according to the EMDR Research Foundation, over 30 studies6 have demonstrated the effectiveness of EMDR therapy for problems such as:

  • Rape and sexual abuse
  • Combat trauma
  • Childhood trauma and neglect
  • Life-threatening accidents
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorder

How To Find Medicare EMDR Therapists Near Me?

Athena Care’s multiple locations make it easy to find an EMDR treatment clinic in Tennessee. A list of Medicare EMDR providers organized by city and information about their backgrounds and specialties can be found here.

Open Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., our care coordinators are ready and willing to assist you with any questions or concerns about EMDR Medicare coverage.

When choosing EMDR clinicians, it’s important to ask questions and to keep the following in mind:

  • Education, license, and years of experience
  • Where were they trained in EMDR therapy?
  • Ask the therapist, “What is EMDR?”
    • This question is a test of their ability to explain things clearly. EMDR and trauma are challenging topics, and how well they simplify and explain them over the phone is indicative of how effectively they will explain them to you during your session.7
  • Specialties and mental health services offered – Are they EMDR certified?
    • After completing their initial EMDR training, therapists might choose to complete a concentrated supervision process called certification. Certified EMDR therapists usually have a deeper understanding of the technique.
  • Treatment methods and philosophies
    • Ask, “How would you describe your approach to EMDR?” A therapist who appears to be either too rigorous in their approach or, on the other hand, overly laid-back might not be ideal. The ideal therapist is in the center of the road, not too hung up on etiquette to neglect your demands, but not too sloppy. This is subjective, of course.
  • Insurance companies they work with
  • Office hours
  • Pricing
  • Session length

How Much Does EMDR Cost Without Insurance?

The rates for EMDR without insurance can often be more than standard psychotherapy because it requires the clinician to have substantial, specialized training. The pricing can also vary depending on the session length, the location, and other factors, so this may not reflect the actual cost of what you’ll pay for EMDR treatment in Tennessee.

Plan on spending between $100 to $250 each hour or each session for EMDR therapy. Remember that numerous sessions are required, and each session is charged separately. This brings the total to $800 to $2,000, on average, to reach desirable outcomes.8


  1. Team, Medicare Plan Tips. “Does Medicare Cover EMDR Therapy?” Medicare Plan Tips, 5 Apr. 2022, medicareplantips.com/does-medicare-cover-emdr-therapy.
  2. “EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” WebMD, WebMD LLC, 1 Feb. 2007, www.webmd.com/mental-health/emdr-what-is-it.
  3. “What is EMDR?” EMDR Institute, Inc., 2020, https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
  4. Riddle, John. “EMDR Therapy for Anxiety, Panic, PTSD and Trauma.” Psycom.Net, Remedy Health Media, LLC, www.psycom.net/emdr-therapy-anxiety-panic-ptsd-trauma. Accessed 9 June 2022.
  5. “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.” American Psychological Association, 2022, https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/eye-movement-reprocessing
  6. “Research Overview.” EMDR Institute – EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING THERAPY, EMDR INSTITUTE, INC, 29 June 2020, www.emdr.com/research-overview/#meta-analyses.
  7. Pruyn, Peter. “How to Find a Good EMDR Therapist – Invisible Illness.” Medium, 14 Dec. 2021, medium.com/invisible-illness/how-to-find-a-good-emdr-therapist-8164e38fc79f.
  8. HowMuchIsIt.org Staff. “How Much Does EMDR Therapy Cost?” What Is the Price?, T2 Web Network, LLC, 15 Aug. 2018, www.howmuchisit.org/emdr-therapy-cost.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155