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Brainspotting

"Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing."

What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting was developed in 2003 by Dr. David Grand, a licensed clinical social worker and an EMDR trained clinician. Brainspotting uses the client's field of vision to locate eye positions that are related to the energetic/emotional activation of a traumatic / emotionally charged issue within the sub cortex of our brain. When a brainspot is identified and the client holds their eye position on it, they are able to experience the distress, physical pain and emotional pain that is accessed through the brainspot. What's in the brain is in the body, and what's in the body is in the brain. Traumatic experiences, memories, negative cognitions, sensations often get trapped in the body that are not easily accessed or released by other therapeutic interventions. Your brain and body intuitively know what you need to heal these wounds.

 

Why Brainspotting?

Brainspotting allows clients to experience trauma in the presence, safety and comfort of the therapist. Brainspotting accesses the part of the brain where memory and emotions are housed which allows for deeper levels of healing. Brainspotting also allows the brain to access implicit memories that are stored in the body that can not be addressed verbally. The ability to access the traumatic experience in a safe environment reduces the emotional and physical impact of the trauma for the client. This allows for healing and resolution of issues that are held deeply in the non-verbal, non-cognitive areas of one’s neurophysiology. Brainspotting engages both focused activation and aims at a full, comprehensive release of activation (emotional distress) held in the brain and body.

How does Brainspotting work?

It is theorized that Brainspotting taps into and harnesses the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive homeostasis (frozen primitive survival modes). This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.

What is a Brainspot?

A “Brainspot” is the eye position which is related to the energetic/emotional activation of a traumatic/emotionally charged issue within the brain, most likely in the amygdala, the hippocampus, or the orbitofrontal cortex of the limbic system. A Brainspot is a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form. A Brainspot is the location of a metaphoric 'trauma folder' and the process of Trainspotting holds that folder open allowing the subcortical part of the brain to do the healing work it needs on the content within that 'folder.'

 

How is a Brainspot identified?

A brainspot can be identified a number of different ways. The clinician uses externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses to find each client's Brainspot. Each Brainspotting session is different and can utilize different methods of identifying a Brainspot for maximum healing. 

What happens when a Brainspot is identified?

When a Brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain reflexively signals the therapist that an area of significance has been located. This typically happens out of the client’s conscious awareness. Once the client's Brainspot is identified, the clinician guides the client to begin their Brainspotting process.

Who can benefit from Brainspotting?

Brainspotting can be used to address a wide range or issues. Some common areas include but not limited to:

  • Abuse

  • Addictions

  • ADHD / Attention / Focus

  • Adoption / Foster Care 

  • Anger Management

  • Anxiety

  • Athletic Performance Enhancement 

  • Bullying

  • Career Enhancement

  • Childhood Issues / Trauma

  • Chronic Pain

  • Chronic Stress

  • Couples Therapy / Marriage Concerns

  • Depression

  • Dissociation / Dissociative Identity Phenomena 

  • End of Life Care 

  • Familial Issues

  • First Responder Concerns

  • Generational Trauma / Ancestral Work

  • Geriatric Issues

  • Grief / Loss

  • Guilt & Shame

  • Identity Issues

  • IFS Parts work

  • Impulsivity

  • Inattention

  • Maladaptive Beliefs

  • Maternal Issues / Post-Partum

  • Negative Emotions

  • Obsessive Behaviors

  • Parenting Concerns

  • Personal Blocks

  • Personal Growth / Expansion

  • Phobias

  • PTSD / CPTSD

  • Relational Issues / Relational Conflict

  • TBI / Concussion Recovery 

  • Trauma (Developmental & Complex)

What you can expect during a Brainspotting session?

  • A safe, comfortable, and empathetic environment.

  • Each session is unique and highly attuned to the client and their needs.

  • Using a pointer, your brainspot is identified and your level of activation is assessed.

  • Biolateral sound/music can be used to enhance the healing process.

  • Often clients experience somatic experiences in their bodies including sensations, emotional release, and memory recall. 

  • Brainspotting sessions are completely led by the client.

  • Sessions are an hour long, if needed longer sessions can be arranged.

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What to expect after:

Brainspotting is a powerful technique that helps process and unravel stuck and unresolved issues. It can bring up feelings to express, sensations to release, and sometimes memories to process. You may experience:

 

  • Powerful insights

  • New perspectives on old issues

  • Feeling calm and relaxed

  • Sleepiness

  • Mental and physical exhaustion

  • Lightheadedness

  • Excess yawning

  • Crying spells

  • Increased Emotionality/Agitation

  • Increased thirst 

  • Feeling energized

  • Somatic body experiences

  • Relief from physical symptoms in the body

  • Reduced levels of distress

  • Improved clarity

  • Significant reduction in traumatic distress

  • Feelings of elation and/or relief

Post Brainspotting After Care:​

After Brainspotting, the healing process continues during the hours, days, and weeks to follow. Expect to continue to feel the unwinding and unfolding of the process as the mind and body integrate the experience. Many people notice key insights coming through in the days following that they bring to the next session for processing. Increasing your water intake and rest after Brainspotting is an important part of your healing.

How quickly does Brainspotting work?

 

How quickly Brainspotting works depends on the scope of the original event, issue, or trauma. Smaller more recent events will resolve faster than more intense or older events. Each time you resolve a traumatic experience you may notice that other problems unexpectedly resolve. Many clients do experience significant relief after one session.

Do I need to talk during my Brainspotting session?

No, Brainspotting is powerful without the need for verbal processing. A client can choose to share the information that they are experiencing or remain silent throughout the session. The therapist will only interject if/when needed to support the client. Minimal inference by the clinician helps the client to stay focused in the subcortical part of the brain for processing, which is where the deep, transformational healing occurs. 

What are the fees associated with Brainspotting sessions?

Session fees for Brainspotting are $155 per hour session. 

Other Information

Brainspotting can be used as a stand-alone therapy without the need to engage in traditional talk therapy. It allows the client to share as much as they want with the therapist without engaging in active conversations about the issue.​

As the client, you determine the level of resolution you are satisfied with for a particular issue you'd like to address. Since significant processing and healing occurs after each session, I encourage clients to give themselves time to rest, assess, and evaluate where they are in their healing.

You may participate in continued sessions to work on other issues as they arise.

Visit www.brainspotting.com for more information.

Where can I review research and case studies?

https://brainspotting.com/about-bsp/research-and-case-studies/

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