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Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR) is therapy for the treatment of trauma. 

EMDR can be used to treat a range of mental health concerns.

What is EMDR?

Our mind can often heal itself naturally, in the same way the body does. Much of this natural coping mechanism occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

In 1987, Francine Shapiro developed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This psychotherapy uses the natural process to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Since then, EMDR has been used to treat a range of mental health concerns.

EMDR - man and counselor talking in office
Counselor and patient holding hands.

What can I expect during an EMDR session?

EMDR utilizes the natural healing ability of the body. After a thorough assessment, you will be asked specific questions about a memory. Eye movements, like those during REM sleep, are then recreated.

We then ask you to watch the therapist’s finger moving back and forth across your visual field. Sometimes a bar of moving lights, headphones, or tappers are used instead.

The eye movements will last for a short while and then stop.

Next, you will report back on the experiences you have had during each set of eye movements. Experiences during a session may include changes in thoughts, images, and feelings. With repeated sets of eye movements, the memory tends to change.

The once painful memory loses its intensity and becomes a natural memory of an event from the past. Other associated memories may also heal at the same time. This linking of related memories can lead to an improvement in many aspects of your life.

Who should consider EMDR?

EMDR speeds up therapy by resolving your past traumas and allowing you to live more in the present. EMDR is not appropriate for everyone. The process is rapid.

If disturbing experiences occur, they last for a short period of time. Patients should be aware of strong feelings and thoughts that can come up during EMDR.

In addition to treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, EMDR is also used to treat the following: Anxiety and panic attacks, depression, stress, phobias, sleep problems, complicated grief, addictions, pain relief, phantom limb pain, self-esteem, and performance anxiety.

Counselor consoling patient in office.

Learn More About EMDR

EMDR is a clinical treatment that has successfully helped more than a million people. The validity and reliability of EMDR has been established by rigorous research. There are currently nineteen controlled studies of EMDR. 

Find more details about EMDR here:

How long does treatment take?

EMDR can be brief, focused treatment, or part of a longer treatment plan. EMDR sessions can be 60 to 90 minutes in length. Your EMDR therapist will determine the best treatment plan for you.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Please bring your ID, insurance card, social security number of the patient, custody document (if applicable), and a current medication list. If you do not have insurance or if you have private insurance, please bring a proof of income (last 2-3 pay stubs, a bank statement, SSI Award Letter, or letter of support if no other proof is available), and a proof of residency (a piece of government issued mail such as a cell phone bill, utility bill, or bank statement). Please note, if you don’t have any of these documents, let us know and we will do our best to work with you.

Where can I get EMDR?

EMDR is offered at most Signature Health locations. 

What health insurance do you accept?

Signature Health accepts Medicaid plans and some Medicare insurance plans. We also offer a sliding fee scale based on household income for patients who are uninsured or underinsured.