• Eye Movement Desensitization
    and Reprocessing
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EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing in St. Augustine FL

Though a relatively recent form of psychotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has already revealed itself to be a valuable tool in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, we offer EMDR treatment for those who have experienced a traumatic event. Our addiction rehab center in St. Augustine, Fl, uses evidence-based programs proven to be effective with patients.

What is EMDR?

EMDR was developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, a psychologist who found that using this method helped her to relieve negative thoughts. She adapted it into her work and found similar successful results in her patients who had anxiety or gone through a traumatic event and were struggling to move on from it.

EMDR therapy sessions consist of a one-on-one therapy interaction where the therapist will instruct a patient to follow the movements of their fingers and hand motions with their eyes. While this is happening, the therapist will have the patient recount the images, thoughts, and feelings during the disturbing event that caused their anxiety or trauma. After a while, the therapist will slowly steer away from the negative thoughts and emotions towards more positive ones. The entire session will last about 90 minutes.

Studies have shown that EMDR therapy is an effective alternative in treating patients who have PTSD. Many patients have experienced success in their treatment with EMDR much sooner compared to previous types of psychotherapy. It was widely believed that recovery from a severe traumatic event would take years; this form of exposure therapy proves that psychological trauma can be healed as quickly as it recovers from physical trauma.

A New Type of Therapy

The EMDR strategy does not use traditional methods in treating patients with psychological trauma. Rather than use talk therapy or rely on medication to dampen the negative emotions that the brain is stuck on, an EMDR therapist will use the inherent rhythmic eye movements of their patients. By doing this, they can allow the mind to continue its natural healing process.

Over 100,000 health care professionals have been trained to use eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It has repeatedly been found to be a safe and effective form of therapy, and over the past 25 years, it has helped millions who are suffering.

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The 8 Phases of EMDR Treatment

Phase 1

The first phase of treatment involves an assessment of the patient and from there, create a treatment plan that is best suited for the needs of the patient. Together they will pinpoint possible areas that trigger the patient’s distress; these could include memories or present events. Throughout the process, the therapist will emphasize developing the skills and behaviors that the patient will use in the future to work through triggering situations.

Phase 2

With the second phase of treatment, the therapist teaches the patient various ways of managing their emotional trauma. The therapist may show the patient several techniques that include how to reduce stress and other symptoms. The patient will use these techniques inside and outside of treatment to create effective behavioral and psychological changes, while at the same time maintaining stability.

Phase 3, 4, 5 & 6

Phases three through six identify a specific target and use EMDR to process it. To do this successfully, the patient must determine three things:

1. Creating a visual image of the memory (or related to the memory) that is the cause of the trauma.
2. The patient’s negative belief of themselves. Emotions and physical feelings that accompany the visual imagery.
3. Once these three things have been identified, the therapist will instruct them to think of a positive belief that the patient has of themself.

While the patient focuses on the image, negative belief, and the emotional and physical sensations, the therapist will stimulate the patient with eye movement, taps, and musical tones.

Phase 7

Closure. The therapist may ask the patient to keep a log or journal throughout the week. The patient will document which self-calming techniques have helped them when they have been triggered. They will also take note of any significant or related changes they may experience.

Phase 8

Phase eight looks at the progress the patient has made and makes sure that all of the triggers have been addressed. It will also include preparation for any incidents that could happen in the future and the appropriate responses to those incidents.

Joint Commission Accredited

Dr. Paul By The Sea is fully credentialed and licensed in the state of Florida by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO). JCAHO is unanimously considered the gold standard of addiction treatment by industry professionals. Knowing that the facility has obtained this certification should be a top priority for individuals to look at when researching to find the right inpatient or outpatient treatment facility for them. 

We dedicate our facilities and treatment methods to ensuring that we provide the best available recovery options while maintaining professional levels of care. Please contact us today and hear how our caring staff of experts use their experience to implement evidence-based treatments to make sure each of our patients receives the most effective treatment regimens.


How the Brain Recovers Using EMDR

The brain has a processing system for information that will naturally be guided towards positive mental health. Essentially when a person is confronted with a negative experience, thought, or emotion, the brain will work to process the information quickly and then discard it. However, when a traumatic event occurs, it can get stuck and become a wound within the brain that can become infected, causing additional harmful effects to the brain and body.


To resume the natural process and heal the wound, the block in the brain must be removed. Traditionally this has been done with years of talk therapy and a lifetime of medication use. With EMDR therapy, patients are taught to activate the brain’s natural healing process.

At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, our ultimate goal is to do what is right for the patient to give them their best chance at a successful recovery. With eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, we believe patients can heal from the traumatic events they have experienced. Learn how you can be treated for your PTSD or anxiety disorder at our St. Augustine addiction treatment center. We can help you take the first step to a life of limitless possibilities.


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