Healing from trauma and grief is a process that takes time, but we now know that there are effective treatments that can decrease suffering and allow people to recover much more quickly.  EMDR has gained widespread acceptance as one of these effective treatments for trauma and grief.  When people are ready for this type of therapy, EMDR is a method that allows people to process stressful and traumatic experiences quickly because it doesn’t require a lot of talking to get better.  People in EMDR treatment can often work through multiple traumatic or stressful experiences in a single day when the session is not arbitrarily limited to 55 minutes by an insurance company standard.   In fact, sometimes the standard imposed by managed care for weekly individual therapy sessions can actually cause harm and result in unnecessary suffering and treatment drop-out because people must manage sometimes debilitating symptoms between sessions and complete months of therapy before they begin to experience noticeable relief.

An EMDR retreat is a series of full or half-days of treatment devoted to making focused and rapid progress on a treatment goal so that people feel better in days rather than in months or sometimes even years.  A typical full day of EMDR treatment is roughly equivalent to 2-3 months of weekly therapy.  This is true because in an EMDR retreat there is none of the wasted time, loss of focus or missed appointments that can derail the progress of weekly sessions.  As you can begin to see, the benefits of a series of full day EMDR sessions can be dramatic.  A five day EMDR retreat is comparable to a full year of standard weekly therapy, and you don’t need to wait a year to receive the benefits.

Since it is still rare for an insurance company to cover an EMDR retreat, a legitimate concern is the cost of the treatment.  A full day of EMDR therapy can cost between $600 to $2000 or more a day depending on the level of training and experience of the provider.  Like most types of specialized treatment, more experienced (and more expensive) therapists probably achieve better and faster outcomes for their patients. When you are weighing the pros and cons of an EMDR retreat, be sure to factor in the value of your out-of-pocket insurance costs, travel expenses, time saved over the course of a year, and most importantly the immediate benefits to physical and emotional well-being reported by most people who have completed EMDR retreats.