What Is Brainspotting?
Imagine living a life where you are fully present, peaceful and balanced; where past hurts and painful experiences are no longer impacting your current relationships and circumstances. As a certified Brainspotting Practitioner, I use this powerful practice to help you release trauma and emotionally charged experiences that are stored in the brain and body. Brainspotting can help you deeply process and fully release the negative thoughts, unhealthy coping, emotional pain, and difficult past experiences that keep you from thriving in the present.
Brainspotting™ (BSP) is a revolutionary brain-body treatment for healing from stress, anxiety and depression naturally, as well as expanding performance and creativity. Developed in 2003 by Dr David Grand, BSP accesses the deepest regions of the brain where “neuroplasticity” can reawaken neural networks to allow hope and positive change. It is extremely effective for healing trauma, releasing mental blocks, and maximizing creative potential. Currently there are over 12,500 BSP therapists trained across six continents.
How Does Brainspotting Work?
Neurologists believe that eye position and movement correlate to certain places or ‘spots’ in the brain that store traumatic memories. They hypothesize that brainspotting helps to access parts of the brain that are difficult to reach through conventional “talk” therapy methods and utilizes a combination of eye position & mindful awareness to process these memories and emotions in the body.
Brainspotting Therapy uses specific points in the client’s visual field to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain. It uses relevant eye positions, somatic awareness, focused mindfulness and the therapist’s attunement to process and release the stored traumas which underlie a wide range of emotional and physical problems.
Often Brainspotting is used in conjunction with bilateral sound - music or nature sounds which move back and forth between right and left ears, which balances activation of the right and left brain hemispheres and activates the parasympathetic, or calming, part of the nervous system.
Brainspotting Therapy uses the brain’s and body’s natural ability to self-scan and to self-heal, or move back to a state of equilibrium. When a brainspot is activated, the deep brain appears to reflexively signal the therapist that a neural network holding unprocessed trauma has been found.
Trauma can be processed while connecting to either distressed or calm areas within the body. BSP Therapy can allow the client to move quickly through processing of the distressing emotions in a contained and supported way. Because the processing occurs mostly in the subcortical brain, this may happen with less talking than in traditional talk therapy. It is common for clients to experience both rapid relief of distress and profound insights.
What Can Brainspotting Help With?
Originally, brainspotting was developed as a trauma treatment, but has since been expanded to be used for depression and anxiety disorders.
Current research indicates that it can help people struggling with:
- Stress & overwhelm
- Anxiety, grief, anger & other big emotions
- Shame & self-esteem
- Behaviors you have a hard time controlling (over-eating or shopping, binge watching or scrolling, bursts of irritability, lack of focus or procrastination)
- Difficulty in relationships (over-extending yourself, frequent arguing, loneliness, feeling misunderstood)
- Trauma, painful memories & life experiences
- Creativity (audition anxiety, writer’s block, enhancement of performance or creative process)
- Fears & phobias
- Preparation for & recovery from birth or surgery
How Is Brainspotting Different from Talk Therapy?
This powerful form of therapy is grounded in research around the role of the deep brain in storing traumatic experiences. A key difference between Brainspotting and traditional therapies is that talk therapy primarily accesses the cerebral cortex, while trauma is stored deep in the brain's limbic system. Based on the idea that “Where you look affects how you feel”, Brainspotting accesses the subcortical brain through the use of a "spot" in the field of vision. It is this “brainspot” that offers a window into the deep brain structure.
Brainspotting helps focus and process emotional and somatic issues held in parts of the brain and body that may be otherwise inaccessible to the conscious mind, helping you develop a healthier relationship with your body and your emotional reactions to stress. Brainspotting clients report experiencing lasting relief from the physiological effects of trauma, anxiety, depression, and stress related issues, feeling more grounded, secure, self-confident, and connected.
Brainspotting and Performance Expansion
Brainspotting is extremely effective in helping to dissolve creative blocks, and to enhance expansive thinking and creative process. As well as feeling more healthy and at peace in life generally, many clients find that creativity and confidence flow more freely once inner obstacles and blocks are removed. Whether you want to improve public speaking, artistic performance, or to expand performance in business or other areas, Brainspotting can balance and enhance your brain’s functioning, resulting in improved mental clarity and new capacities.
Formally established in 2003, Brainspotting is a relatively new form of therapy that aims to help clients process difficult emotions or traumatic experiences. Various different eye positions are used to help identify “brainspots” linked to certain experiences, emotions, or sources of distress. Once identified, brainspotting therapists use mindfulness techniques to help the client access, experience and process through the thoughts and feelings stored in this brainspot.
Typically, brainspotting is used as a short-term treatment that involves 2-5 sessions that last approximately 60-90 minutes each. The purpose of a brainspotting session is often to process through difficult memories and emotions, often related to traumatic experiences. Some therapists may combine brainspotting with other types of therapy, or offer to continue long-term talk therapy after brainspotting is completed. Still, a brainspotting session with a therapist is often quite different than a ‘traditional’ talk therapy session.