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What is Brainspotting (BSP)?

Brainspotting (BSP) is an exciting brain/body-based therapy approach, developed by David Grand, Ph.D. in 2003. It is a powerful, focused treatment method that easily integrates into individual and couple’s therapy. The therapist’s deep relational attunement and the neurobiological attunement is at the core of BSP. This creates a powerful frame that enhances healing. Trauma overwhelms one’s nervous system.  BSP works on easing this emotional and physical lock down by locating, accessing, processing and releasing neurophysiological sources of pain/trauma held deep in the subcortical brain. We believe that BSP utilizes and harnesses the body’s natural self-scanning and self-healing ability.

“Where you look, affects how you feel.” Specifically, a Brainspot is a relevant eye position chosen by either the client or the psychotherapist, as the client slowly scans his/her field of vision while thinking about the emotionally charged issue.  Often, the individual can locate a Brainspot by noticing an increase of emotions or body sensations in a particular visual location. The therapist may find Brainspots by observing reflexive responses in the client, such as changes in the individual’s eyes, facial expression, breathing or body position.  A Brainspot gives access to the activation of the emotionally charged issue in the brain. Staying on that Brainspot invites processing from the bottom up and from the inside out. As attention is given to the client’s processing of the issue, the charged material moves in a direction of discharge and healing.

Bilateral stimulation is often utilized to enhance the BSP process.  The bilateral component involves listening to soothing background music and/or nature sounds which move from ear to ear.

How does Brainspotting help?

Many clients have talked in therapy about the stumbling blocks in their lives, only to find that their symptoms reappear later, after they thought that their issues had been resolved.  This may occur because trauma lodges in part of the brain that is outside of the rational, conscious mind. The goal of BSP is to bypass the conscious, neocortical thinking in order to access the deeper, subcortical brain where traumas are held. Brainspotting can help free individuals from painful emotions and maladaptive patterns of behavior that seemed unresolvable.  It can assist in reducing excessive reactions to present situations and relationships.  BSP is a way to work on trauma in a safe and contained situation.

BSP is also used to find and strengthen resources and resiliency. For example, a Brainspot can be chosen based on where one feels the most grounded or calm in his/her body.  The goal in resource enhancement is to increase positive feelings and body sensations.

What can I expect from a Brainspotting session?  

It is important to receive BSP from an experienced psychotherapist who trained in this method through David Grand’s workshops.  You and your therapist can discuss how to incorporate BSP into your overall treatment. Working together in this way can support and enhance the therapy relationship. A BSP session can last as long as 90 minutes but is effective in shorter sessions as well.  Individuals frequently are relieved to notice the reduction of painful, repetitive feelings, and they experience entrenched, old patterns shifting in positive ways.

Who can Brainspotting help?

Brainspotting can be integrated into a wide range of healing modalities.  It can be helpful for children, adolescents, adults and seniors by reducing the effects of events that caused distress to lodge in the brain/body.  It is an effective and efficient tool for resolving emotional, physical, and sexual trauma. It can even help those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury or a stroke.  BSP can also be utilized in the preparation and recovery from surgery and can reduce the stress surrounding the management of major medical illness. Additionally, many individuals have found BSP useful for reducing attention issues, stress, anxiety, phobias, and anger.  BSP can be used to decrease addictive cravings. Another exciting possibility is that creativity and performance are enhanced by this treatment modality.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anais Nin

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