How Much Does EMDR Therapy Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

EMDR therapy, short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a type of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro.  This procedure is used to treat trauma that is induced by negative life events such as abuse, addiction, anxiety, anger management, depression, phobias, PSTD, stress, trauma and more.

Originally, it was thought that eye movement had an effect on unpleasant thoughts, but today, research has told us otherwise.  After successful treatment, negative beliefs have been reformulated, anxiety symptoms have been reduced and negative beliefs can have slowly dissipated.

How much does EMDR therapy cost?

Generally, the price will come down to the number of sessions needed, where you live and professional who is doing the therapy.  On average, plan on spending anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour/session, and each session, on average, should last upwards of one to two hours.  Keep in mind that multiple sessions will be required, and each session will be a separate charge, bringing the total to $800 to $2,000, on average, to see desirable results; however, each person will be very different, so, for instance, someone may find a few sessions can seem like it’s working, whereas someone else may need multiple sessions to see a difference.  If further issues arise while sessions are being performed, especially if it’s a complex one, then it could take months or even years to see any progress.  Some therapists will charge per session, while others will charge by the hour.

Dr. Faith Cohen, according to her website, says the average 90-minute session in Boulder, Colorado, is about $150 to $250.

EMDR therapy overview

During the average session, you will focus on disturbing material in brief doses while focusing on an external stimulus such as a hand tapping or an audio stimulation.  This, in turn, according to Dr. Faith Cohen, will use a protocol incorporating three main components:  First, the past events often set a pattern for continued dysfunction by making new assertions with adaptive information.  Secondly, the current circumstances you’re facing will bring about distress, which helps the therapist target it and help desensitize it.  Lastly, the imaginative future events will then be targeted to help you gather new skills to fight and adapt.

EMDR will, again, depend on the patient’s situation.  According to research, EMDR has been shown to be effective in sessions ranging anywhere from three to more than 10.  As stated above, the more complex the situation can be, such as childhood trauma or neglect, the more sessions you probably will need.   Regardless, this shouldn’t be seen as a one-session cure.

EMDR is broken down into eight sessions…

During the first session, the therapist will learn about your history, take an assessment of your memories, experiences and explain how the upcoming phases will work by creating a detailed treatment plan.

The second phase will teach you how to reduce stress by showing you certain techniques and ensuring you have multiple ways to deal with your stress.  These techniques, in turn, can be used in between sessions at home.

Phases three through six, once a target is identified, will be processed by using the EMDR techniques.  This, according to EMDR, will involve identifying the vivid visual images related to a memory, a negative belief about yourself and related emotions and body sensations.  In addition, you will be asked to identify a positive belief to help reduce the distress when thinking of a negative image.

Phase seven will involve closure, and your therapist will ask you to keep a log throughout the week to document any problems that may arise.  It can also help serve as a reminder of the activities you have learned throughout the session.

Lastly, the last phase — phase eight — will take a look at how far you have progressed.  The treatment plan will process all historical events, current indicients which may illicit stress and future events which may trigger responses.

What are the extra costs?

Many therapists, if you cancel within 24 hours, may charge you a full therapy fee.

Tips to know:

Undergoing EMDR therapy is not required or necessary for everyone.  This therapy is suggested for those who have experienced traumatic events in their lives.  The best thing to do is to have yourself checked if you feel that you fall into the requirements of people in need of this therapy session.

If considering this type of therapy, be sure your practitioner is certified.  A certified practitioner, who often invest 28 hours of training, will be deeply invested and will understand the new techniques in EMDR.  In addition, Martin Cohen says a certified EMDR practitioner will utilize it regularly and can have more real-time experiences because of it.

EMDR therapy side effects may include distressing memories emerging, a high level of emotion and/or dreams or feeling emerging after sessions have been performed.

How can I save money?

Many therapists, if discussed ahead of time, may offer a bulk discount if you were to purchase multiple sessions at a time.  This, especially if you purchase more than 10 sessions at once, can help you save up to 20 percent or more.


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