EMDR is a technique originally developed by a psychologist to treat issues related to trauma. This technique has now been adapted by sport psychologists to remove maladaptive thought patterns that interfere with athletes achieving peak performance in sport.

The theory is that EMDR works directly with memory networks and enhances information processing by forging associations between the distressing memory and more adaptive information contained in other memory networks. It is thought that the distressing memory is transformed when new connections are forged with more positive and realistic information. This results in a transformation of the emotional, sensory, and cognitive components of the memory so that when it is assessed the individual is no longer distressed. Instead he/she recalls the incident with new perspective, new insight, resolution of the cognitive distortion, elimination of the emotional distress, and relief of related physiological arousal.


EMDR enhances the essential skill of “Imagery”, a vital tool used by sport psychologists when working with athletes. Imagery is based on memory, and we experience it internally by reconstructing external events in our minds. It can help you evaluate your performance and identify strengths and weakness. You can recall previous outstanding performance and re-create them to increase confidence. You can also use imagery to create new experiences in your mind. You will learn to see and believe. Once your mind believes something, your body typically follows through to carry out those beliefs.

EMDR goes Beyond just Talking about it…EMDR Allows an Athlete to Experience It


Simply put:
“EMDR is Efficient”.

EMDR uses a structured 8 phase approach to address past, present, and future aspects of disturbing and maladaptive memories. After a comprehensive interview is conducted an athlete is asked to identify and focus on a particular aspect of performance. The key component to this phase is bilateral stimulation of the brain. This facilitates interaction between the brain’s hemispheres allowing for a more vivid experience. During this phase of EMDR the client attends to the disturbing memory in multiple brief sets of about 20 to 30 seconds, while simultaneously focusing on dual attention stimulus (lateral eye movement, alternate tactile stimuli, bilateral auditory tones). Following each set of dual attention, the client is asked what associative information was elicited during the procedure. This new material usually becomes the focus of the next set. This process of alternating dual attention and personal association is repeated many times during the session. While some believe the bilateral stimulation evokes neurological and other physiological changes other perspectives propose this is another form of desensitization or exposure which have also been found to be helpful in dealing with maladaptive memories.