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What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting locates points in the client’s visual field that help to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain. Brainspotting (BSP) was discovered in 2003 by David Grand, Ph.D. Over 12,500 therapists have been trained in BSP (50 internationally), in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. Dr. Grand discovered that "Where you look affects how you feel."


It is the brain activity, especially in the subcortical brain that organizes itself around that eye position.


How Does it Work?

Brainspotting works by directly tapping into the brain’s autonomic and limbic systems, located within the central nervous system. Because of this, it can be considered aphysiological treatment, and provides physical benefits as well as psychological and emotional.

Brainspotting works as both a diagnostic tool and a treatment. It works by assessing what a person’s core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation, are. It can also work for a variety of other symptoms. Once it identifies the sources of these ailments and pains, it simultaneously treats whatever symptoms it has diagnosed as well. Part of the treatment can include playing Biolateral sound, which can enhance the beneficial effects of Brainspotting through it’s powerful and focused healing properties.

In addition to being both a treatment and diagnostic tool, Brainspotting also functions as a neurobiological tool as it identifies, processes, and loosens up the symptoms that are hidden away in the unconscious mind. This promotes a healthy clinical relationship between Brainspotting and healing.

Why Does Brainspotting Work?

Brainspotting is so beneficial and unique because it provides a necessary, safe environment for its clients. It is a method that allows for a unique relationship between the client and practitioner (therapist). This usually helps the distressed or blocked client to feel that their pain is finally being understood and helped.

What is a “Brainspot?”

According to David Grand, Ph.D.,

 “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. Located by eye position, paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form.”

How do Therapists Identify Brainspots?

Brainspotting is usually done with both eyes but may also be done with one. A therapist identifies a Brainspot by waving a pen-shaped / pointer object in a specific pattern in front of the client's eyes, and when the pen-like object comes across a Brainspot, the deep brain will reflexively signal to the therapist that a Brainspot has been found.

At times, this happens outside of the client's consciousness. These reflexive signals can include (all without the client being aware of these happening) an eye twitch, facial tic, brow furrow, facial tic, pupil dilation/constriction, swallows, yawns, coughs, foot movement or body shifting. Among these signals, facial expressions are the strongest indicators of a Brainspot.

The identification of a reflexive response that indicates a Brainspot hints at the somatosensory experience of the trauma, emotional or somatic problem. By finding these Brainspots, the therapist is triggering these somatosensory experiences in the patient. To access the Brainspot and the emotions that can follow, the therapist holds the patient’s eye position while the client focuses on the experience of the symptom being accessed by the Brainspotting.

The therapist and client work together to find the Brainspots. The patient participates in this by letting the therapist know, during the Brainspotting scan, when he or she feels any heightened intensity, either physically or emotionally.

“Brainspotting is based on the profound attunement of the therapist with the patient, finding a somatic cue and extinguishing it by down-regulating the amygdala. It isn’t just PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) activation that is facilitated, it is homeostasis.”
— Robert Scaer, MD, The Trauma Spectrum

 

How Does Brainspotting Act as A Healing Agent Against Trauma?

The way that Brainspotting heals is that it helps the client process the trauma that lies within him or her or them. When the therapist accesses a Brainspot, the patient experiences the distress that is associated with that Brainspot. The client then experiences the physical or emotional pain that presents itself, and the client can experience it in a comfortable setting in the presence of the therapist. Over time, accessing this trauma in a safe environment will help the brain to break away from the associated trauma.

Within the field of psychology, professionals have come to realize that when someone experiences trauma, whether it be emotional or physical, it is held in the body. This trauma, potentially caused by a variety of events, such as a serious physical illness, acute or chronic pain, or life trauma in general, can manifest itself in a variety of ways, and one way that professionals can help to target and locate that pain is through Brainspotting.  Therapists use Brainspotting to target these areas of trauma stored in the body from previous traumatic experiences.

These traumatic experiences become stored in the body typically because the traumatized person has not had the means to properly deal with the trauma that he or she has experienced. Because the traumatic experiences have not been properly dealt with, they become a part of the person’s trauma reservoir, which can manifest in other physical and emotional symptoms.

The Relationship Between Physical and Emotional Trauma

Health care professionals realize that there are many instances in which physical symptoms are present as a result of psychological or emotional trauma, and it can be very difficult to separate these two. Often, traumatic events, whether they were physical or emotional, lie dormant in the brain in the individual’s unconscious and later manifest themselves into very real physical or emotional symptoms. 


 

How Can Brainspotting Help You? Brainspotting can be an effective and efficient treatment tool for:

  • Physical and emotional trauma

  • Recovery from injury and accident trauma

  • Trauma resulting from medical interventions and treatment

  • Stress and trauma-related medical illness

  • Sports Performance and Creativity Enhancement

  • Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions

  • Addictions (especially cravings)

  • ADD and ADHD

  • Perceptual problems

  • Stuttering

  • Environmental Illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Phobias

  • Asthma

  • Preparation and recovery from surgery

  • Trauma resulting from war and natural disasters

  • Anger and rage problems

  • Anxiety and panic

  • Management of major medical illness


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.

Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological tool to support the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a mature, nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage another suffering human in a safe and trusting relationship where they feel heard, accepted, and understood.


“Where you look affects how you feel."

BSP makes use of this natural phenomenon through its use of relevant eye positions. This helps the BSP therapist locate, focus, process and release a wide range of emotionally and bodily-based conditions. BSP is also a brain-based tool to support the therapy relationship. We believe that BSP taps into and harnesses the body’s natural self-scanning, self-healing ability. When a Brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain appears to reflexively signal the therapist that the source of the problem has been found. BSP can also be used to find and strengthen our natural resources and resilience. BSP is designed as a therapeutic tool that can be integrated into many of the healing modalities. BSP is even more powerful when used with the enhancement of BioLateral Sound CDs.


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Brainspotting can be an effective and efficient treatment tool for:

  • Physical and emotional trauma

  • Recovery from injury and accident trauma

  • Trauma resulting from medical interventions and treatment

  • Stress and trauma-related medical illness

  • Sports Performance and Creativity Enhancement

  • Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions

  • Addictions (especially cravings)

  • ADD and ADHD

  • Perceptual problems

  • Stuttering

  • Environmental Illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Phobias

  • Asthma

  • Preparation and recovery from surgery

  • Trauma resulting from war and natural disasters

  • Anger and rage problems

  • Anxiety and panic

  • Management of major medical illness


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