Sports Trauma (EMDR)

Sports Traumatic Stress Disorders are the cause of most significant performance problems. Performance blocks and anxiety, including the yips, stem from accumulated sports traumas including sports injuries, failures and humiliations.  Specifically, these could include:

  • Verbal abuse and humiliation from a coach
  • A sports injury that caused an athlete to have to make changes in their approach ie. form
  • A sports injury that caused deep isolation from the team
  • A failure at a important competition which resulted in a loss of confidence, which lingered.
  • Placing too much emphasis on sports performance as related to one’s overall identity
  • Emphasis on outcome/winning from coaches/parents or putting undue pressure on the athlete etc.
  • Traumas that are more clinical in nature that are non-sports related that may have happened in childhood

Regardless of the memory, EMDR releases and resolves the sports traumas held in the brain and body so athletes of all levels can go far ahead of where they ever dreamed of going.

My treatment is always exploratory in nature. Accordingly, I don’t have a preordained model that fits each athlete into like traditional sports psychology. Though part of my approach is teaching athletes mental rehearsal, relaxation techniques or methods for handling negative self-talk, I first make to listen carefully to the unique story that each athlete’s brain and body tell us about the origin and function of the performance problem. Each story becomes my guide. This story-telling process guides the athlete to internally activate whatever bothers him or her.

Ryan Long, MSW, LICSW


verified by Psychology Today

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