Deborah Cox, performance EMDR

Dr. Deborah Cox talks to us about using EMDR for performance enhancement. Find her at or

“EMDR helps us not get so lost in the soup of things with our clients.” – Dr. Cox

Dr. Deborah Cox reminds us to adapt to the client in front of us and how much we are still in the protocol even when it doesn’t look like “normal” basic protocol.

Sources for Performance EMDR

David Grand’s book, “Emotional Healing at Warp Speed”

Marilyn Luber’s book, “EMDR Scripted Protocols”

Robin Shapiro’s book, “EMDR Solutions II”, specifically the portion from David Grand

Performance EMDR

Dr. Cox has been doing research with the Peak Performance Protocol for college level violin students at Missouri State University.

“All EMDR is performance EMDR!”

Performance EMDR is a rearrangement and reallocation of time with the basic elements of EMDR.

Start by asking clients, “Why do you want to be able to do this thing better?”

Do a thorough history taking around the desired activity. Remember to get info about times things went well, not just what hasn’t gone well.

Use visualization and process a future template of a performance coming up. This is done after a lot of resourcing of performances gone well, supportive family/friends, good teachers etc…

Trauma and Performance EMDR

Sometimes, past trauma may be worked on if there is a link to the performance aspect.

There may be times when you turn over control of the BLS to the client, so they can self-direct during the future templating.

A controversial opinion! Maybe resourcing is enough sometimes, and we don’t have to directly process the trauma.

There is overlap with the flash technique is adaptive the protocol to the needs of the client.

Beware of staying to long in resourcing due to our own performance anxiety as the therapist. It can be scary to shift into trauma processing.

Sometimes we have to fight the voice in our head that tells us we aren’t doing enough as the therapist.

Remember the power of checking in with the body to enhance whatever we are working on with the client. This also teaching the client the power of being mindful of the body.

Dr. Cox uses the negative cognition as a home base to come back to. Melissa uses the body as home base. Both can be effective anchors depending on what we are working on.

Dr. Cox is using Performance EMDR to assist therapists in doing their best work and avoiding burn out. We as therapists are performers of the art of EMDR.

Jen’s insight for parents…our kids who are preteen and teen are living a constant performance! Also, we are parents often evaluate our parenting as a performance.

One of the things we CAN do with pregnant clients is performance EMDR for birth.

We need to expand our definition of performance. All EMDR is performance EMDR and this allows us to notice all the positive sides of what we are processing.