an advanced brain-body-mindfulness-based therapeutic approach
Have you ever noticed yourself simply gazing or staring at some spot on the floor or wall or ceiling? Have you noticed yourself looking away or up or somewhere else when really thinking about something you are saying or want to say, particularly when the subject is loaded emotionally?
As a therapist, I notice this all the time. Clients often become unnecessarily self-conscious about it and force themselves to make eye contact with me. While their gaze continues to drift back to these spots, they do not allow themselves to hold the spot. What they don’t realize is that rather than avoiding eye contact, they are intuitively helping themselves to the process by accessing deep neural connections and memories in the subcortical brain. Where you look affects how you feel. Therapists interested in Brainspotting training can click here.
What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a powerful tool for therapy to help process traumas, negative cognitions, difficult emotions, and upsetting events by focusing your visual field on a spot that stimulates processing.
It is a “physiological approach with psychological consequences” that allows us to access our self-healing potential via bypassing the thinking of the neocortex and “promotes organization and integration through coalescence of hitherto separated information files”; “a Brainspot is a stored oculomotor orientation to a traumatic experience which has failed to integrate” (Corrigan & Grand 2013). While Brainspotting can sound and sometimes feel like magic, there is a lot of science behind it.
I have always loved neuropsychology and studied it just because I loved it. Brainspotting is a therapeutic modality that is both relational and steeped in neuroscience.
Why Choose Brainspotting?
Who doesn’t want to feel like Wolverine and discover the confidence of knowing you have the capability to heal? You can talk as much or as little as you want to; you do not have to share your trauma with the therapist for it to be beneficial to you.
- The flexibility of Brainspotting allows us to find the specific iteration that works best for each individual
- Deeper, accelerated resolutions with longer-lasting impact than other techniques
- Can be used to process implicit trauma without a specific memory attached
- Brainspotting can be used as an add-on to your current therapy or as your sole therapy.
Brainspotting focuses processing in the parts of the brain where memory and emotion are stored and the parts of the brain involved with regulation, so you actually address the emotions and memories impacting you from a part of the brain that can help you feel better and feel more regulated. The neocortex is not involved with regulation; you can’t think your way into feeling better. Rather than trying to use the neocortex to think your way through something, Brainspotting helps us go to the source for a much more efficient and powerful experience.
Who is Brainspotting for?
You. David Grand who discovered Brainspotting says it can benefit anyone with an active nervous system. It can be used with children and adults, those with deep trauma and those experiencing negative thoughts. It is for those people who feel stuck in therapy, people who want to make progress quickly, and those who are easily overwhelmed. One complaint against EMDR is that it can be too stimulating for some. With Brainspotting, there are more options for resourcing and controlling the intensity of processing. I work with many adoptees – adults and children – and others who have experienced developmental and relational trauma, and I believe Brainspotting is the more appropriate “power therapy” for these individuals.
Brainspotting can help with any of these:
- Developmental Trauma
- Grief and Loss
- Anxiety and Depression
- Athletic Performance
- Anger Management
What does Brainspotting look like?
One of the aspects or Brainspotting that fits my therapeutic approach is the client-centered flexibility of it. It can be difficult to answer questions about Brainspotting because it not only looks a little different client to client, but also session to session. I see this as a strength, even if the lack of protocol has made it more difficult for researchers. In this case, it often takes just a few minutes for people to recognize the power of it if they are curious. But to answer the question, I address some possible options for what Brainspotting may include in this blog.
How do I use Brainspotting?
Brainspotting can be used as an add-on to your current therapy or as your sole therapy. During the Brainspotting process, you can talk as much or as little as you want to; you do not have to share your trauma with the therapist for it to be beneficial to you. If you are currently working with a therapist, I am happy to share information with them at your request.
Testimonials About Brainspotting
“Brainspotting is a remarkable, sophisticated, flexible addition to the therapeutic toolkit of any psychotherapist. I know because I use it regularly, and find that, combined with the psychoanalytic approaches I normally practice, the results are astonishingly helpful.”
– Dr. Norman Doidge
“I have personally experienced the benefit of Brainspotting. Just with one session, I was able to relax the grip of a burdensome perspective and its associated emotions, both of which I had carried for a long time.”
– Dr. Gabor Mate
“Brainspotting is based on the profound attunement of the therapist with the patient, finding a somatic cue and extinguishing it by down-regulating the amygdala. It isn’t just PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) activation that is facilitated, it is homeostasis.”
– Dr. Robert Scaer
Additional Brainspotting Resources
Brainspotting: The Preferred Power Therapy for Adoption
article featured in Adoption Today
Change your Life through Attunement & Brainspotting
from the Close the Chapter Podcast
Availability Inquiries & Referrals
If you would like to inquire about my current availability or referrals that I may have for you, please feel free to email me with a little information about your situation and where you reside. I do not work directly with any insurance company for my clients' best interests.