Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Program for Survivors

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?

EMDR is an evidence-based trauma treatment that uses bilateral stimulation, such as side-to-side eye movements or tapping, to help you work through disturbing memories.

How can EMDR help?

The brain stores traumatic memories in a unique way that can impair current emotions. EMDR allows the body and brain to store these painful memories properly in the past so that they don’t have as much influence over the present. EMDR focuses on helping you feel safe in the present, decrease physiological symptoms, and develop more helpful thoughts.

Who is eligible for the EMDR program at UHS?

Any current U-M student who has experienced sexual assault during their college experience is eligible to participate in EMDR. This short-term program focuses on survivors of sexual assault at this time and does not address additional traumatic events or complex/developmental trauma.

Referrals can come from your UHS provider or you can email the UHS social work team.

What should I expect treatment to look like?

  • The EMDR program at UHS consists of 4-6 consecutive 60-minute sessions of EMDR therapy to support survivors.
  • The initial in-person session will focus on building coping skills and learning mindfulness strategies to manage distress, identify treatment goals, and create an EMDR treatment plan.
    • Your therapist will not require you to talk about all the details of the traumatic event with this intervention.
  • Subsequent sessions can be done in person or virtually.

After completing the EMDR program at UHS, more time may be needed to fully heal from a traumatic event. Your therapist will ensure that you have resources after completing the program to continue your healing journey.

How much does it cost?

EMDR therapy at UHS is free for current U-M students.

If you’re interested in continuing EMDR therapy in the community, sessions range in cost and often bill insurance directly. Some providers may offer sliding scale options.

What about confidentiality?

EMDR is a confidential therapy resource. Insurance is not billed for this service and your treatment will not be shared with other providers unless you choose to sign a release of information.

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