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EMDR Therapy & Treatment in Tennessee

EMDR Therapy & Treatment in Tennessee

What is Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)?

Psychologist Francine Shapiro invented a new type of psychotherapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, in 1987.1 Originally used to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder,2 EMDR is a type of psychotherapy in which the individual receiving treatment recalls traumatic experiences while engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movement or tapping on each side of the body.3

EMDR involves an eight-phase,4 focused approach to treating trauma and other symptoms. It entails reconnecting the traumatized person to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma in a safe manner. This allows the brain’s natural healing powers to move toward resolution.

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What Disorders Can EMDR Therapy Treat?

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, over 30 studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of EMDR therapy for problems such as:5

  • Rape and sexual abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Combat trauma
  • Childhood trauma and neglect
  • Life-threatening accidents
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorder

EMDR therapy is beneficial for treating symptoms of acute and chronic PTSD, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). In addition, the APA states that EMDR treatment may be especially beneficial for persons who have difficulty talking about traumatic occurrences. Furthermore, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense says EMDR therapy is “highly recommended” to treat PTSD in military and civilian populations. They also point out that in some studies, these therapy services were as helpful as other psychological treatments.6

How Does EMDR Work?

There are eight stages of EMDR therapy:7

  1. Initial history discovery and treatment planning: The therapist gathers information about the client and creates a treatment plan. This phase will involve a discussion of the specific issue(s) that brought them to treatment and the behaviors and symptoms associated with that issue.
  • Preparation: The therapist will give you particular skills to cope with any emotional problems. Establishing a trusting relationship between the client and the therapist is one of the key goals of the preparation phase.
  • Assessment: The client will be requested to access each issue (from phase one) in a regulated and standardized manner to be processed successfully throughout the phase. This target may be a specific image or mental picture that best represents the troubling memory and the negative belief that coincides with it. The goal is to turn that negative belief into a positive self-statement.
  • Desensitization: The therapist guides the person through a series of eye movements, sounds, or taps with appropriate shifts and changes of focus. This is done until their Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) scale values are decreased to zero (or 1 or 2 if this is more appropriate). The goal is to move beyond their initial objectives and heal in ways they never imagined.
  • Installation: The goal is to focus on and strengthen the client’s recognized positive belief to replace their original negative belief. “I am now in control” will be enhanced and installed.
  • Body scan: The therapist will have the person recall the original target issue and check for any remaining tension in the body. Reprocessing then addresses these residual feelings.
  • Closure: This phase happens at the end of every session. Closure ensures that the person feels better at the end of each session than they did at the start.
  • Reevaluation: The Reevaluation phase walks the therapist through the many treatment strategies required to address the client’s issues. This phase happens at the beginning of every session.

It is possible to receive EMDR treatment online. A therapist will use grounding techniques to assist the client with feeling safe during EMDR treatment. Because the provider is less able to help the process remotely when using EMDR online, providers may often spend more time focused on these grounding techniques.8

Furthermore, even the most enthusiastic advocates of EMDR disagree on how the therapy works. Only theories currently exist. In some ways, EMDR adopts core principles from extended exposure therapy, the gold standard behavioral psychotherapy treatment for PTSD. EMDR therapy encourages recalling traumatic memories and shifting attention away from their emotional effects.

Some therapists believe that EMDR treatment can help people feel less anxious, while others believe we are still learning how EMDR works. According to the APA recommendations, additional research is needed to fully understand EMDR and its benefits.

Goals & Benefits of EMDR Treatment

The goals of EMDR treatment are to provide patients with the skills they need to cope with past, present, and future trauma while also encouraging them to focus on the good. In addition, those who undergo EMDR therapy hope to experience a decrease in physiological upset and painful memories.9

The following are five benefits of EMDR treatment:

  • Changing Memory Storage
    • The ability to recall a traumatic incident without becoming emotionally overwhelmed
  • Dealing with Past Trauma
  • Dealing with Present and Future Trauma
    • Reduce distress caused by current triggers and equip people with the skills they’ll need to cope with trauma in the future.
  • Increasing Positivity
    • The establishment of a positive belief acts as a focus for the individual when other distressing situations occur.
  • Using Full Integration
    • The inclusion of other psychotherapy treatments alongside EMDR – A therapist will work with a client on memories, triggers, and future planning until the client appears ready to move on.

EMDR Effectiveness & Success Rates

EMDR appears to be a safe treatment with no known side effects. Yet, despite its growing popularity, mental health professionals continue to question its efficacy. According to critics, most EMDR studies have only had a small number of participants. On the other hand, other researchers have published findings combining data from multiple studies to demonstrate the treatment effectiveness.

A study funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente indicated that after only six 50-minute sessions, 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple-trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD. In another study, after 12 sessions, 77% of war veterans were cured of PTSD.10

Furthermore, twenty-four randomized controlled trials from a 2014 review11 demonstrate favorable effects of EMDR therapy in treating emotional trauma and other adverse life experiences. EMDR proved faster and more effective than trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in seven out of ten investigations.

The Cost of EMDR & Insurance Coverage

The following are average costs, though they may vary by location and other variables and may not reflect the actual cost of what you’ll pay for testing or treatment.

Plan on spending between $100 to $250 each hour/session for EDMR therapy. Each session lasts around 90 minutes. Keep in mind that numerous sessions will be required, and each session is charged separately, bringing the total to $800 to $2,000, on average, to reach desirable outcomes.12

Insurance coverage depends on your insurance carrier, specific plan, location, and numerous other factors. Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans. To determine if your insurance covers EMDR psychotherapy in Tennessee, contact your provider or fill out our form below.

Allow our highly skilled care coordinators to handle the hassles of contacting your insurance company for more information about eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. A care coordinator will check your insurance and thoroughly explain your options. Rest assured that all information shared or discussed is kept confidential.

How To Find The Best EMDR Therapist in Tennessee

With Athena Care, gaining access to a mental health clinic in Tennessee has never been easier.

A care coordinator can assist you with any questions or concerns about EMDR therapy Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage at one of our various Tennessee locations. Athena Care health clinics are open Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Therapists who desire to offer EMDR therapy in Tennessee can become certified as EMDR therapists by completing an approved training program. The EMDR certification, on the other hand, necessitates additional education and training. EMDR-trained clinicians are completely qualified to provide EMDR treatment without certification.13

When choosing EMDR mental health clinicians or care providers, it’s important to ask lots of questions and keep the following in mind:

  • Education, training, license, and years of experience
  • Specialties and services offered
  • Treatment methods and philosophies
  • Insurance companies they work with
  • Office hours
  • Pricing
  • Session length

Here, you’ll find a list of practitioners organized by city and information about their backgrounds and specialties.


  1. “EMDR Therapy for Anxiety, Panic, PTSD and Trauma.” Remedy Health Media LLC, 2022, https://www.psycom.net/emdr-therapy-anxiety-panic-ptsd-trauma/
  2. “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.” American Psychological Association, 2022, https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/eye-movement-reprocessing
  3. “EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” WebMD LLC, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/emdr-what-is-it
  4. “What is EMDR?” EMDR Institute, Inc., 2020, https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
  5. “Research Overview.” EMDR Institute, Inc., 2020, https://www.emdr.com/research-overview/#adaptive
  6. “EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” Medically reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD, WebMD LLC, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/emdr-what-is-it
  7. “Experiencing EMDR Therapy.” EMDRIA EMDR International Association, 2022, https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/experiencing-emdr-therapy/
  8. Miller, Rachel LCPC, NCC, EAC. “EMDR Online: How it Works & Who It’s Right For.” Reviewed by: Abulhosn, Rajy MD, Choosing Therapy, 2022, https://www.choosingtherapy.com/emdr-online/
  9. “5 Goals of EMDR Therapy.” Applied Behavior Analysis Program Guide, 2021, https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/lists/5-goals-of-emdr-therapy/
  10. Riddle, John. “EMDR Therapy for Anxiety, Panic, PTSD and Trauma.” Remedy Health Media LLC, 2022, https://www.psycom.net/emdr-therapy-anxiety-panic-ptsd-trauma/
  11. Shapiro, Francine. “The role of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in medicine: addressing the psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences.” The Permanente journal vol. 18,1 (2014): 71-7. doi:10.7812/TPP/13-098
  12. “How Much Does EMDR Therapy Cost?” HowMuchIsIt.Org, 2018, https://www.howmuchisit.org/emdr-therapy-cost/
  13. “Considering EMDR Therapy? What to Expect.” Healthline Media, 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/emdr-therapy#considerations

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