Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in Jacksonville

Overcoming trauma is not easy. At River Point Behavioral Health, we offer guidance and support in a compassionate environment. We specialize in evidence-based trauma therapies, including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), to help you begin healing.

An African American man explains his problems as an unseen blonde psychiatrist listens

What Is EMDR?

Severe trauma, such as physical abuse or sexual assault, causes deep emotional damage. Memories of the trauma may be too painful to confront or discuss. Unprocessed trauma can stall your recovery and make you feel stuck in the past, like there’s no hope in sight.

EMDR is a different type of trauma therapy. It involves briefly focusing on the trauma while a trained therapist guides you through eye movement exercises. The eye movements stimulate the part of your brain that processes traumatic memories.

Over time, EMDR can reduce feelings of fear and anxiety surrounding the trauma, so it becomes easier to talk about. EMDR can pave the way for other therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to be more effective.

EMDR and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Rapid eye movement therapy is a proven treatment for some people with PTSD. However, it’s not appropriate for everyone. EMDR requires the expertise of a trained therapist who understands how to select the right candidates.

At River Point Behavioral Health, our lead therapist has extensive experience in EMDR, focusing on trauma-informed therapy for active-duty military and veterans. We also offer EMDR for adults (18 and up) in our inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment programs who are dealing with trauma.

EMDR can also help people with:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Panic attacks and phobias

What happens during EMDR therapy?

EMDR is a one-on-one treatment with your therapist. You may begin with breathing and relaxation techniques to help you feel at ease. Your therapist is by your side throughout the treatment, and you can stop at any time if the memories become too painful.

During EMDR:

  1. Your therapist asks you to recall a specific traumatic memory. They may ask you questions about the event or how you felt at that time.
  2. As you relay the event, your therapist asks you to follow the movement of their fingers or an object with your eyes.
  3. You may look at a light or do a tapping exercise on your arms.

These exercises engage your senses and should feel calming. They allow you to confront the memory with less fear and anxiety. With repeated EMDR trauma therapy, traumatic memories become less vivid and emotionally disturbing. You don’t forget the trauma, but you are empowered to move past it.