Transforming Performance Anxiety Treatment : Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy and EMDR book cover
1st Edition

Transforming Performance Anxiety Treatment
Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy and EMDR

ISBN 9780367606763
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
154 Pages

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Book Description

Transforming Performance Anxiety Treatment: Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy and EMDR offers a much needed and different approach to this issue, using two psychodynamic therapies which work to bring about rapid and long-lasting change.

Using nine reflexive case studies, the author examines two little used interventions, cognitive hypnotherapy (CH) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR). The basic theories of cognitive anxiety and the emotions that underpin this condition are explored. The principles and protocols of CH and EMDR are explained, and how these psychodynamic therapies are adapted to effect permanent change.

The first book to examine these treatments for this condition, Transforming Performance Anxiety Treatment will be of interest for practitioners and therapists in training, as well as educators, professionals, and therapists working within competitive sports.

Table of Contents


List of figures, tables and appendices



PART I Performance anxiety and the use of psychodynamic interventions

1 Exploring performance anxiety

Challenging the dogma of preferred therapies in current use

2 Cognitive hypnotherapy

Changing negativity and anxiety

3 Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing

Transforming trauma and the emotional mind

PART II Nine case studies

4 Reflective case studies

Method and procedure

5 ADHD, perfectionism and fear of failure

A link to music performance anxiety?

6 Scepticism regarding treatment for piano performance

Why randomly selected therapy may not work

7  An adult beginner’s fears

The spectre of a piano examination

8  Letting others down in clarinet performance

Ghosts from the past

9  Trauma when singing in a performance situation 

The past need not predict the future

10 Anxiety in the sports arena

The one-incident trigger

11 IBS, anxiety at work and in the sports arena

A life-changing experience post-therapy

12 Confidence in presentations

Hypnotherapy makes it so

13 Presentations no longer feared post-therapy

An exciting experience

14 Future directions

The future is not set in stone



Figures, tables and appendices

Figure 1.1

The four components of anxiety (based on Miller and Chesky, 2004)

Table 4.1

Case conceptualisation and therapeutic change methods


5.1 Self-Report Questionnaire pre-therapy treatment

5.2 Self-Report Questionnaire post-therapy treatment

7.1 Log of musical experiences post-therapy treatment

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Elizabeth Brooker is an experienced professional musician, qualified hypnotherapist, EMDR practitioner and neuro-linguistic programmer. She has an MA in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield and a PhD doctorate from the University of Leeds where the focus of her research was reducing anxiety experienced in music performance.


Elizabeth Brooker’s book of case studies provides further indications that attachment ruptures underlie severe forms of music performance anxiety. It is encouraging to observe that therapists are now seeing beyond the overt symptoms of performance anxiety to the core issues that promote faulty schemata. This revised focus directs practitioners to broaden their therapeutic pallets to include treatments such as EMDR and clinical hypnotherapy that directly address these core problematic factors.

Dianna Kenny, Professor of Psychology/Music, The University of Sydney


This book makes a strong case for the use of psychodynamic therapies in the treatment of performance anxiety across a range of domains including music, sports and public speaking. The concisely written reflective case studies, which are informed by years of therapeutic practice and underpinned by academic research, highlight the uniqueness of people’s experiences with anxiety and the potential of cognitive hypnotherapy and EMDR as interventions. The book is a must read for researchers, practitioners and the general public who wish to understand more about the role of dynamic therapies in the treatment of anxiety.

Dr Alinka Greasley, Associate Professor of Music Psychology, University of Leeds

'A fascinating book providing an in-depth account of the effective use of hypnosis and EMDR to tackle music performance anxiety. Highly recommended reading for performers, teachers and therapists to enhance understanding of the anxiety condition and the revelatory results of the therapy, even after a few therapeutic sessions. '

Dr Renee Timmers