Uses of EMDR with high performance issues: Classic and modified protocols


EMDR is a psychotherapy and sport psychology technique that allows fears and traumas to be resolved and belief systems reframed at both the conscious and unconscious levels. This presentation will introduce a framework for when and how to combine work at the conscious level using cognitive behavioral techniques and in-depth techniques that work with the unconscious mind like EMDR. The preliminary and intervention phases of a high performance sport psychology framework will be discussed. The preliminary phase defines the athletes concerns. It includes a performance assessment of mental, physical, and technical aspects of performance. The assessment information is used to outline intervention goals and build rapport with the athlete. Interventions have two paths. One is cognitive behavioral; the second is working with the preconscious or unconscious mind to resolve fears or traumas and reframe belief systems. In the first path, the intervention systematically progresses, using cognitive behavioral techniques, until either the performance blocks are resolved, or the desired changes do not occur. In the case of the latter, the second (deeper) path is suggested. For those who are not, suggestions for collaborating with an individual trained in EMDR will be provided.






T. C. North

Original Work Citation

North, T. C. (1999). Uses of EMDR with high performance issues: Classic and modified protocols. Symposium conducted at the annual conference of the Association of the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, Banff, AB



“Uses of EMDR with high performance issues: Classic and modified protocols,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed March 4, 2021,

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