Brainspotting with Susan Stork, LCPC
The brain’s complexity can be our greatest resource. Knowledge and experience come together to help you come up with phenomenal ideas and make amazing things happen. The brain can also become a storage unit for pain. Trauma and other aspects of your past can get locked deep in the unconscious mind, and can influence every aspect of your life.
What if there was a way to “crack the code” of your mind and get to the core of your persistent thoughts, worries, and limitations? What if it wasn’t science fiction, but real, verifiable science that allows you to access the of past trauma and create lasting change in just a few sessions?
Introducing Brainspotting: a powerful, focused method for treating trauma and other unresolved psychological issues.
This unique approach helps you release the psychological blocks that keep you from being your most connected, creative, actualized self.
Brainspotting, or BSP, offers deep neurological healing that talk therapy alone often cannot access.
This technique gives us a way to access the subcortical brain, the place where emotional and somatic experiences are kept.
What is Brainspotting?
You may have heard “eyes are windows to the soul” before. As it turns out, there’s medical research that proves that this old phrase is true. As the creator of this Brainspotting, Dr. David Grand, says, “where you look affects how you feel.”
Brainspotting helps track points in your visual field that reveal unprocessed trauma in the brain. A skilled Brainspotting clinician will utilize a pointer to guide your gaze whilst playing Bilateral sounds that stimulate both sides of the brain. Simultaneously, the Brainspotting clinician will carefully watch your physical responses as you talk through or think about a troubling event or concern.
How Does Brainspotting Work?
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.”
Laser-like efficiency is possible when you are processing on a Brainspot, as it holds the brain's attention on the precise brain region that needs the heailng.
What is a “Brainspot”?
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, 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 client. To access the Brainspot and the emotions that can follow, the therapist holds the client’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 client participates in this by letting the therapist know, during the Brainspotting scan, when he or she feels any heightened intensity, either physically or emotionally.
HOW DO THERAPISTS IDENTIFY BRAINSPOTS?
Our practice founder, Susan Stork, LCPC-ACS, NCC, has trained in Brainspotting to help you find the neurophysiological origins of emotional and physical pain. Once you and Susan have worked together to develop rapport, you’ll then identify the specific issue you’d like to address, and then you can begin the work of resolving the issue. Brainspotting is a powerful, co-creative process.
Susan sees Brainspotting as an ideal supplement to psychotherapy for those who feel stuck in their healing or who want to achieve a new level of success. Coming to Susan for a few Brainspotting sessions doesn’t mean you’re breaking up with your current therapist. Instead, you’re invited to look at it as an adjunct to your current work.
Most people come to Susan for 3 to 6 sessions, depending on the severity of past trauma and individual goals.
What does a course Brainspotting treatment at Space Between Counseling look like?
People come to Susan for Brainspotting because they want to heal and they want to grow.
You might come because you’ve hit a roadblock in therapy and want to try to access your problem in a different way. Clients often to come to see Susan for a limited series of Brainspotting sessions while continuing their ongoing relationship with another therapist.
High performers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and others entering a new phase of growth in their life and work also come to Brainspotting for the way it can help you “level up.” You can resolve issues in your unconscious mind that kept you from embodying your fullest potential.
Brainspotting can be utilized to treat a variety of psychological “road blocks” and issues, such as:
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
Environmental Illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Preparation and recovery from surgery
Trauma resulting from war and natural disasters
Anger and rage problems
Anxiety and panic
Management of major medical illness
What kind of problems can Brainspotting help to treat?
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 client 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.
HOW DOES BRAINSPOTTING ACT AS A HEALING AGENT AGAINST 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.
What Is THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL TRAUMA?
Ultimately, Brainspotting is intended to help you gain fresh insights into old problems. This might mean that old traumas cease to have a hold on you. It might also also help shed new light on creative, relational, or professional challenges.
Immediately after a session clients report different results. You might feel tired, drained, and emotionally raw for a little while, especially if you’re working on painful issues. Some people feel relieved or even euphoric after a session. Overall, the goal is to help you release trauma and limitations so you can feel lighter and freer in all aspects of your life.
What are the benefits of Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional and body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Bilateral 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.
Brainspotting 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. Brainspotting 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.
The Difference Between Brainspotting and Talk Therapy
Brainspotting can be done with or without talk therapy. BSP is ideal for clients that desire to stay with their current therapist but need booster sessions for trauma work, stagnant lulls, regulation, creativity, exploration of self/memories. Additionally, BSP may be ideal for DR’s, EMT, Healers, caretakers clinicians to process provider burnout, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue.
Brainspotting is based on the idea that the human system is self-healing, and that the role of the therapist is to set and hold a frame that promotes and utilizes the client's self healing capacties.
Brainspotting is a process by which the client can access encapsulated trauma or other mental health issues without using extensive "talk therapy." Knowing that clients can often get wrapped up in telling stories, accessing the information using BSP gives clients another way to process their distress without going too deeply into the narrative. Accessing the information in the body using the field of vision cuts out the neocortex; a part of our brain that, while useful, can get really hung up on stories and the need to make sense of them.
A Few Words From Susan Stork, LCPC on Brainspotting:
“Brainspotting is exceptionally client-driven. Therapists are encouraged to "be the tail of the comet," as "the client is the head." The BSP approach is also familiar to me in many ways. Brainspotting is systems-oriented, with an emphasis on therapists themselves and the value in the therapeutic relationship. As a clinician strongly trained in family systems, the BSP modality fits in well with my existing skill sets. Attuning to the energetic field, tracking the client's body movements and facial expressions, and letting the client guide the sessions are all values of mine. Additionally, Brainspotting suggests the notion that a person has inside of them all the information they need to access, process, and heal themselves. The job of the therapist, is to create a safe place to promote this, and provide a different way into the process beyond talk therapy”.