The Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Performance Enhancement Psychology Protocol (EMDR-PEP) addresses performance anxiety, self-defeating beliefs, procrastination, fear of failure, setbacks, and psychological recovery from losses and injuries for athletes, executives, and traders.
When people think of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, they generally think about a treatment for trauma, which is partially accurate. Treating trauma is what EMDR therapy was developed for and continues to do. But since its development and introduction over 25 years ago, it has become more than an intervention and is now a comprehensive psychotherapy, one that is exceptionally
effective in addressing multiple issues and challenges. A common misconception is that a person has to be struggling with mental health or major life challenges to benefit from EMDR. On the contrary, one of the most interesting and innovative uses of EMDR has been in performance enhancement in addition to its ability to decrease fear, stress, or anxiety related to performance.
HOW EMDR WORKS
In short, EMDR therapy accesses and links the multiple facets of memory (image, cognition, emotion, and sensation) and uses bilateral stimulation/dual-attention stimulus (eye movements or tactile or auditory stimulation) in order to decrease disturbance associated with specific incidents in a person’s life. It taps into the brain’s natural ability to heal and helps it file away memory appropriately so that when the memory is recalled, there is no disturbance associated with the memory.
It is effective in decreasing anxiety and targeting irrational or negative thinking, both of which may get in the way of performance. In addition, it can help a person to gain confidence in his or her ability to perform a task or reach a goal. EMDR works to achieve this by installing positive beliefs, and by having a person imagine doing the thing he or she is nervous to do or wants to improve in while doing bilateral stimulation. This has the effect of simultaneously decreasing the fear, anxiety, or stress associated with the task and boosting confidence.
It seems that EMDR helps the brain to think in a healthier, more adaptive way by removing blocks (such as negative self-beliefs) and helping the person to tap into his or her strengths.
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