Brainspotting 101

Where we look affects how we feel

What is Brainspotting?

The world of psychology is quickly progressing in the direction of brain based science these days, which is beyond cool to me. Brainspotting (BSP) is a “brain-body based” relational therapy developed by Dr. David Grand used to heal emotional pain and blocks, and is especially effective when treating trauma. Here’s how it works:

Basically, when you hold a particular eye position while concurrently having biolateral sound in your ears, it is possible to access trauma stored way down deep in the subcortical part of the brain, a place that traditional talk therapy alone cannot touch. Because trauma is housed, or filed away in capsule like bundles in this mid part of the brain, techniques such as BSP have been proven to unlock these painful experiences, allowing for the brain to process them as past tense events instead of crippling now and future experiences.With the lightened physical and emotional load, we are no longer weighed down by trauma and associated pain trapped in the body and can function at much higher levels. Many people, including myself, experience relief in body tension and alignment, as well as a greater ability to be in the present moment, free from that constant tendency to live “out there” either in a past or future mind set.

Intrigued? There’s more…

Each and every brain is literally a genius, containing one quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) neuron connections (Daniel Amen). That’s 15 zero’s people!! That being said, those connections link and associate to and around traumatic experiences and build over time, forming capsule like containers in the mid brain, which controls our bodily function, instinct, thought, creativity, and spirituality. This is why trauma often stunts functioning and points us to therapy in the first place. Perhaps the best news I’ve gathered in my personal research and training is that the brain is so powerful, so resilient, it is capable of healing itself. BSP advances this healing dramatically. I have been fascinated by the mind-body connection for some time now, and learning this new technique is only whetting my appetite for greater healing through that connection.

Who benefits from Brainspotting?

BSP is helpful and applicable for anyone facing challenges and feeling stuck. It is used often for anxiety, depression, relational problems, functioning problems, and chronic pain. Trauma victims benefit hugely as stated earlier. In thinking about trauma, keep in mind that this means anything unwanted or unnatural that we experience. There are the “Big T” traumas and “Little t” traumas. Our unique stories of personal pain and hardship are all relative; I can’t discount my trauma just because it might not look as vivid and awful as yours. Your story, your pain is what you know and that makes it enough to reach out for resources of healing and support. BSP and therapy in general must always hold our unique personal journeys very gently and without judgement.

The Creative and Brainspotting

One of my favorite things about BSP is its proven effectiveness with creatives, performers, and athletes. As mentioned earlier, trauma can severely stunt functioning. By getting into those deep, bundled associations around past trauma, we let go of them in the present moment and see them as past tense.

This enhances our creative and athletic performance and frees up space for mindfulness, expression, and mind-body connection.

Does BSP replace Talk Therapy?

Not at all. I’m a big believer in an integrated approach to therapy, tailoring treatment to fit the specific and unique needs of the client. BSP is part of this holistic approach and by no means substitutes the need for talk therapy. However, sometimes I do believe we talk around challenges and issues in therapy too much, rebranding it in our beings. If I am doing my job to the best of my ability, clients will spend less time in therapy and more time out in the world connecting to their best selves. I am beyond excited to incorporate brainspotting into my therapeutic model in order to help clients achieve greater peace and fulfillment than ever before.