Answers to the most commonly asked questions about Brainspotting.
Brainspotting is an advanced brain body technique for healing emotional trauma, anxiety, depression and PTSD. It is one of the few techniques that effectively addresses the root cause of psychological stress and trauma. It is based on the premise that where you look, or your eye position correlates with deep seated emotional experiences that are typically unreachable by traditional talk therapy. If you have ever felt stuck in a rut, high anxiety or repeating an unhealthy habit (despite your good intentions to change) then Brainspotting is an ideal therapy to help you breakthrough.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a mind-body therapy that focuses on identifying, processing and releasing emotional stress, trauma and imbalances. It combines body-based approaches, the power of the therapeutic relationship and brain-based processing. It is based on the premise that ‘where you look affects how you feel’ and finds that eye positions correlate with unconscious, emotional experiences. It reaches parts of the brain that are not generally accessed through traditional talk therapy approaches and most other types of therapy.
Does Brainspotting really work?
Brainspotting is a highly effective therapy for treating stress, anxiety, trauma, addictions, ADD/ADHD, performance anxiety, unhealthy habits, phobias and a host of emotional and mental health imbalances. Brainspotting engages our innate drive to release sensory, residue or unresolved experiences and opens us up to new insights, equilibrium, regulation and improved overall health.
What happens in a Brainspotting session?
During a Brainspotting session the brainspotting therapist will help you identify an issue to work on. While focusing on the issue you will notice how you feel, sense and experience the issue in your mind and body. From here the eye position or ‘brainspot’ associated with this issue will be identified. A brainspot is not just one spot in the brain but rather an active network in the brain that leads to a deep releasing of the issue where it is stored in the mind and body.
The brainspot acts like a doorway into all the stored, stuck baggage from the past. The focused eye position further allows the brain to stop scanning externally for threats and instead internally self-scan to identify and maintain its presence on the deeper unresolved issue. When a brainspot is activated, reflexive movements can be observed by the therapist that provide valuable access to healing. These movements come from deep regions of the brain, outside of a our conscious, cognitive, and verbal awareness.
People report having deeper and more profound releases with Brainspotting as compared to other brain-based and traditional therapies. The brain is re-stabilizing, resourcing, and rebooting itself during Brainspotting and the processing often continues to occur after the session has ended. A doorway has been opened and information will continue to come up and out for releasing and healing.
How many sessions of Brainspotting are suggested?
The number of Brainspotting sessions can vary from person to person. Some people notice changes following one session and yet often changes and improvements can be witnessed within four to eight sessions.
Is Brainspotting evidence based?
Brainspotting has been shown to be a powerful and effective therapy. There are several studies that demonstrate the efficacy of Brainspotting therapy for treating stress, anxiety, trauma and other issues. It was identified by victims and their families as the most helpful and effective therapy for relieving anxiety, stress and trauma following the Sandy Hook School shooting. More emphasis has been focused on using Brainspotting as a powerful healing therapy than on research. Thus, further studies are needed to have it listed on the national registry for evidence based practices.
Who developed Brainspotting?
Brainspotting was discovered by Dr. David Grand in 2003. It is an evolution of his original work, Natural Flow EMDR, that he developed based on EMDR, somatic experiencing, relational and insight oriented therapy.
Can Brainspotting be used on its own?
Brainspotting can be used on its own or in addition to other types of therapy.
How is Brainspotting different than cognitive therapy or traditional approaches?
Many traditional therapies work from a top-down model where thoughts are used to change feelings, behaviors and experiences. This model relies on the upper part of the brain (neocortex) which is also the newest part in our evolution, to manage and alter the inner and more primitive parts of the brain. As a result, the success of a top-down approach is based on a person’s ability to analyze, narrate and verbally process their thoughts and feelings. Brainspotting follows the bottom-up model where the inner brain sends information and experiences up through the emotional brain (limbic system) for release and into the thinking brain (neocortex) for processing. Given that stressful and traumatic experiences are stored through our sensory, nonverbal experience a bottom up model is essential in the healing process. It accesses the root of where the issues are stored and allows for release at a deeper level. This is especially important given many people cannot recall the details of highly stressful or traumatic experiences in order to analyze or verbally process them. Brainspotting therapists are also trained in mindful attunement and coregulation which are essential elements in healing trauma.
History of Brainspotting
Brainspotting was discovered by Dr. David Grand in 2003. Grand developed Natural Flow EMDR based on his work with EMDR trauma therapy, somatic experiencing, relational and insight-oriented therapy. Brainspotting is an evolution of his original work that he discovered by accident. While David Grand was conducting an EMDR session with a professional athlete focusing on an area she had been previously stuck, she held an eye position instead of moving back and forth as is common in EMDR. The maintenance of her eye position helped her go deeper than she had before and revealed new information to be processed. Following this she had a breakthrough in her mindset and her performance.
Brainspotting combines body-based approaches, the power of the therapeutic relationship and brain-based processing. According to David Grand, “Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological approach with psychological consequences.”