Is EMDR Therapy Covered by Insurance?

Person sitting on couch looking at laptop. Picture is by Christina Morillo from

My dear Soft Hearts, eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is sometimes covered by insurance. It really depends. If you have an insurance provider you can contact them and ask for providers who address trauma or ask what, if anything, they’ll reimburse for therapy that is outside of their network. It’s scary and hard. People contact me all of the time assuming I’m a provider who takes insurance because one insurance company says I am even though I’m not. That means there’s therapists on these lists that insurance shouldn’t have put on the list.

There may also be therapists who wanted to be on an insurance provider list, but are now full. Therefore, if you have insurance and contact your insurance provider to get a list of therapists who treat trauma, you’ll have to go through the list to see if you can find someone. I’d also consider being flexible and not just sticking to EMDR. For example, you may find a provider who will help you with your inner child, does TF-CBT or some other trauma recovery approach that might fit your needs. I’d also figure out how much you’ll pay for your insurance co-pay or how much you’ll pay out of your account (such as how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket).

Sometimes EMDR is also somewhere for folks who are underinsured or not insured. For example, when I was training I put out a couple of EMDR slots on Open Path Collective. Places like Open Path Collective are trying to fill the enormous and concerning gap within the United States so folks who are underinsured or not insured can access therapy. People can find LGBTQ providers, Therapists of Color, and healers who do EMDR!

You can also find out if providers at local, nearby clinics in your state offer EMDR and see if those clinics have a sliding scale. For example, you may be able to find a supervisor at a training clinic who has trainees observe her do EMDR. Again, there’s a lot of work people do to locate someone who is a fit for their financial and accessibility needs, not to mention finding someone who fits their schedule. I’d recommend taking it in little chunks and giving yourself breaks with gentleness. For example, I’d suggest contacting five therapists a day for a few weeks or even getting a loved one to help you sift through a few handfuls of therapist’s ads to see if you can find anyone that way.

So yes you can find EMDR therapy via insurance, but boy does it point out the inequity within our mental health system in the United States. I’m unsure how this goes for folks in other regions and nations. If there are ways you know of that people can access EMDR therapy via insurance or on a sliding scale without insurance please post it here or let me know.

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