We all want to achieve something. When I was eight, I wanted to be a cowgirl. This never happened, but if it had, I imagine EMDR would help me achieve my team roping goals and stay fit for the arena.
EMDR therapy helps people recover from trauma, relationship stress, and all kinds of anxiety. But EMDR also improves performance in practically every area. Although everyone’s results are unique, something positive always emerges from the process. EMDR promotes better outcomes in areas where you want to achieve: artistic, athletic, professional, and personal.
Here’s a story about EMDR Performance Enhancement Therapy.
Jeff swam competitively, an Olympic hopeful who wanted to improve his time in the 200 Meter Fly. He came in for EMDR and we talked about how he felt when he was swimming – and when he was about to swim.
“How do you feel in the water?”
“I love it when I’m in it. But before I get there, I have to force myself into focus or I’m pulled away by thoughts.”
“What kinds of thoughts?”
“Remembering the last time and being disappointed with myself.”
“So, before you hit the water, you have to fight to keep those thoughts of disappointment away?”
“Yes, and knowing my dad and coach are thinking the same thing and worrying.”
“What does it feel like now as you think about that?”
“It feels tight, in my arms and shoulders – and heavy.”
“And when you notice that, what does it mean to you?”
“That I’m going to disappoint them again.”
If you listen between the lines, Jeff already feels like a disappointment even before he dives into the pool. His body takes on the feeling of a disappointing event and he’s distracted about what his dad and coach are (presumably) feeling. This sets Jeff up for failure.
As we look for details about this setup, Jeff admits he feels like a failure. His father had missed his own chance at the Olympic team, back in the 70s, by a few tenths of a second, so Jeff was his hope for redemption. Jeff’s dad most likely saw himself as a failure
The feeling of, “I’m a failure,” gets transmitted from parent to child, even if a parent tries to hide it.
So we EMDR the whole thing: the disappointing events where Jeff’s time didn’t improve, the thoughts about his dad and coach……and a curious insight popped out.
“My Dad probably feels empathy for me – like he wouldn’t want me to stress over this like I’ve been doing. He just wants me to get what I want, so it’s about how much he loves me.”
“Go with that,” I say, and we do some slow, calming eye-movements. Jeff relaxes – I see his shoulders drop.
“I’m still his son, even if I don’t make the team.”
“Go with that.”
“It’s all gonna be okay.” Jeff yawns, a sign that his parasympathetic nervous system is engaged and working to calm him down.
One week later, Jeff shaves six tenths of a second from his time in the 200 Fly.
We do more EMDR. He calms down even more. We do some reparative EMDR with Jeff and his dad.
“I’m a whole person,” he says.
“Go with that.”
“I have many layers to me – not just one. I’ll do my best and that’s enough.” Jeff yawns.
In two more weeks, he drops another second from his 200 Fly.
It’s not a magic bullet, but EMDR pushes people toward their goals. Whether it’s public speaking, barrel racing, exercise and weight management, or breaking through writer’s block, EMDR therapy can get things moving, so you achieve more. Contact me if you’d like to talk about getting better at what you do.
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