Brainspotting Therapy for Depression

What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is an advanced therapy for overcoming negative emotions, healing traumatic experiences and rebalancing the nervous system. The process involves identifying, processing and releasing stored trauma and emotional stress with the help of a certified Brainspotting therapist. It is one of the few techniques that effectively addresses the root cause of psychological stress and trauma. This is a primary reason why Brainspotting is so effective at treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, addictions and many other stress-related and mental health challenges. If you feel like you have plateaued in your healing or are not finding relief in other approaches, Brainspotting offers new possibilities for breakthrough.

What is Depression? Are you depressed or just feeling down?

Life is filled with opportunities for emotional highs and lows. To feel is to be human. This may be feeling the discomfort of stretching past comfort zones, fear of taking risks or the challenge of courageously going for your goals and dreams. Navigating through these normal ups and downs is part of being emotionally healthy and brings meaning to life.

Emotional health comes with learning how to identify, manage and express your emotions while being aware of and having empathy for others emotions. It has been said, ‘Don’t get used to a feeling because it is going to change.’ The uncomfortable ones will pass and equally the positive ones will too. Allowing for the ebb and flow of emotions to help guide, motivate, inspire and experience this life to the fullest is part of being a healthy human. However, for some shadow emotions seem to linger longer and eventually lead to symptoms of depression.

More than 300 million people worldwide and over 16 million in the United States experience depression every year. Depression is experienced as persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness or loss of interest.  It is associated with a range of mental, emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms. Although depression is considered a mental illness or disorder, we find it more useful to think of it as an imbalance in the mind and body. These symptoms are treatable and getting support is an important part of healing. Unfortunately, 37% of people in the United States do not get support or seek treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing several of the following signs, consider reaching out for help.

Common Symptoms of Depression

Emotion / Mood

Sadness, emptiness, unhappiness, hopelessness, flat or low affect, crying spells, disinterest in activities you used to find enjoyable, apathy, indifference and feeling embittered, regret and worthlessness

Cognitive

Difficulty concentrating, focusing and remembering, mental fogginess, indecision, thoughts of suicide and death, persistent negative self-talk, pessimism, low self-esteem and self-criticism

Sleep

Sleep disturbance – too much sleep or too little sleep and nightmares

Weight

Appetite changes – losing weight, gaining weight or craving foods

Behavioral

Isolation and avoiding social interactions and risky behaviors such as driving fast, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling or promiscuity

Physical

Loss of energy

Equally Challenging, Less Known Symptoms of Depression

Emotion / Mood

The #1 cause of depression – loneliness, anger and irritability, anxiety, restlessness, guilt and shame, chronic frustration and feeling stuck

Cognitive

Easily distracted, shut down and aloof

Behavioral

Self-sabotage, checking out and numbing out with alcohol, food, TV, internet and emotional or compulsive overeating

Physical

Extreme fatigue, body aches and pains, headaches, digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel or stomach aches, overall body inflammation

What Does Depression Look Like?

Main Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

A pattern of depression characterized by at least two weeks of a depressed mood and loss of interest along with at least five other symptoms such as the ones identified in the sections above. These symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or educational functioning.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

A pattern of depression that is similar to MDD but generally less severe. The symptoms are fewer and less intense but last two years or longer. Someone may experience an MDD episode while having PDD.

Bipolar Depression Disorder (BPD)

A pattern of depression that includes extreme highs and lows. BPD is separated into BPD I and II depending on the severity of symptoms. The high energy states are called manic episodes. In extreme lows one would meet the criteria associated with MDD. In extreme highs one would meet several symptom criteria such as impulsivity, sleeplessness, agitation, delusion, racing thoughts, euphoria, rapid speech and more.

Seasonal Affect Disorder

A pattern of depression that occurs with a change in seasons. It is generally diagnosed in winter in colder climates or areas where there is less sunshine and more time indoors. There are many mood elevating benefits to sunshine and being outdoors while rain, cloudy weather and snow can lead to lower moods.

Postpartum Depression

A pattern of depression following the birth of a child.

What Causes Depression?

It’s not just emotional

Depression can result from a number of factors including a traumatic event, loss and other major life stressors, hormonal imbalance, chronic inflammation, gastrointestinal ‘gut’ issues, Vitamin D deficiency, family history, physical health challenge and more.

What Can You Do?

Treating Depression

Traditional approaches for depression generally include medication and talk therapy. Although these are often viewed as the primary forms of treatment, the evolving field of neuroscience and the mind body connection have paved the way for a broad range of highly effective strategies.

Mind Body Approaches

Mind body approaches, often called brain informed or body-based therapies, such as meditation, Brainspotting, EMDR, transcranial magnetic stimulation, somatic therapy, parts therapy and biofeedback are just a few highly effective strategies for decreasing symptoms of depression.

Brainspotting and Depression

Many people who experience depression report having trauma in their history or even feel trauma from dealing with depression. We have found Brainspotting, somatic therapy and other methods that directly address the underlying trauma are a vital and often missing component of healing depression.

Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to mind body therapies, there is an abundance of research on the benefits of regular exercise, yoga, adequate sleep, spending time in nature, social support and healthy nutrition habits.  

Integrative Approaches

Integrative approaches that many find as great alternatives or additions to medications may include acupuncture, herbs, CBD, pet therapy, essential oils, music therapy, homeopathy, amino acid and nutritional supplementation and a host of other natural methods to healing and rebalancing mind and body.