Jeff Dwarshuis EMDR Protocol for Advanced Performance

Improving your performance begins with identifying areas of desired change, recognizing the problem in each area and then creating an idealized picture of change.

Begin by addressing the area(s) in your life that you would like to see improvement. Identify the category in your life needing change and briefly list what you see as the problem. For example, under profession one might identify the problem as “fear of improvement” or “lack of confidence.”


Profession or Work______________________________________________________________

Spiritual Life___________________________________________________________________



Social Life_____________________________________________________________________

Extended Family_______________________________________________________________

Family of Origin________________________________________________________________

Education or Advancement Training____________________________________________

The Arts and the Performing Arts________________________________________________


Community and Neighborhood_________________________________________________


Confronting Hardship(s) ________________________________________________________


With each identified problem rank them as the most important to the least important.

Imagine an ideal picture that you would rather be doing then the problem. To help you imagine more easily, think about and write both role models and heroes both real and fictional. For example, if someone thinks they need to do better parenting they might think of a friend or peer who shows good parenting skills. An artist, musician or performer who is striving for maximum performance may think about their heroes in the field or people who have inspired them to achieve in this area.

Role Models__________________________________________________


Also, to develop your ideal picture you might think back to a time in your life when you were more able to accomplish these ideal tasks.

List time and place of the representing picture of being more able to accomplish this goal______________________________________________________

Next, starting with the number one identified problem, read through and carefully answer each of the questions below. This should help you to describe and imagine your ideal picture in great detail and on many levels. Remember this should be fun. Think big and give yourself as much credit as you can. Remember the idea that it is hard to get somewhere unless you first can see it, write it and say it.

Ideal Vision Questions 

In the ideal picture what are you successfully creating, achieving, and/or accomplishing? _______________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture what are you able to do that you think you can’t do now? _______________________________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture what do you stop doing that you are doing now? _______________________________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture what are you able to do differently, do better and/or do more effectively? ____________________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture how are you acting and behaving on a moment by moment basis? _________________________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture how are you relating to and interacting with other people (or any particular person/persons)? ________________________________________________

In the ideal picture what personal traits or characteristics have you strengthened or developed? _______________________________________________________________

In the ideal picture how are you feeling physically? ___________________________

In the ideal picture how are you feeling emotionally? _________________________

In the ideal picture what are you thinking? ________________________________

Now take some time to clearly see the ideal picture. Do this by closing your eyes and imaging all of the specific details. Allow yourself to solidify the picture by repeatedly reading through your answers and descriptions.

After this picture is clear, ask yourself “What memories or experiences have I had that keep me from getting this picture?” Think back as far as possible, the earlier the better. Often times the barriers to success lie in memories of past mistakes, criticisms, hardships or trauma.

Blocking Memory List___________________________________________________________



The EMDR standard protocol is used on each interfering memory. Using EMDR to reprocess the memory will eliminate its negative impact on performance. This procedure is meant to be used in the context of performance psychotherapy however some individuals can use self administered EMDR described in Francine Shapiro’s book “Getting Past Your Past”. Also watch for blog articles on self administered EMDR and see my blog article “What is EMDR?”. Self administered EMDR is not suggested for people who currently have PTSD or unresolved memories of trauma since EMDR will likely increase the level of clarity and recall of those memories.


Jeff Dwarshuis LMSW, ACSW is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice specializing in EMDR therapy. For contact call (616) 443-1425 or send an email to

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