Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a restorative technique that was originally developed as a trauma clearing protocol. I have found it, and my clients report it, to be very helpful in mental performance training because it rapidly re-processes neural pathways that direct our behaviors, thoughts, and emotional reactions. EMDR works on a neurobiological level and most people notice a change in their thoughts or behaviors after one or two sessions of EMDR.
Many of my clients struggle with negative thoughts, lack of confidence, pressure to perform, or performance anxiety. Some of my clients, when recovering from an injury, find it difficult to keep the concern or re-injury out of their mind. With EMDR, we can isolate the thoughts and beliefs that disrupt performance or memories of poor performance or injury and target them for reprocessing. There are different protocols within EMDR that can be used more generally to lesson activation of distressing emotions or to clear performance blocks.
Once we have cleared the interfering elements, we identify the desired self-supportive thoughts, and create or strengthen them. This is crucial as most people know that positive self-talk allows one to approach tasks with confidence. When using this technique for strengthening positive thoughts and self-beliefs, we identify the positive thought to strengthen and use dual attention stimulation to increase the neural paths. I frequently teach EMDR protocols to clients for their use outside of the office. It can be combined with other therapeutic techniques for maximum results.