You may have heard of Brainspotting, or know someone who has worked with a Brainspotting therapist. But what is it? Brainspotting is a relatively new type of therapy that harnesses the brain’s ability to heal itself. Brainspotting was developed by Dr. David Grand, a practitioner of EMDR. Brainspotting uses fixed eye position to access places of stored trauma and mental blocks in the brain, and then release these blocks through focused processing with a therapist.
Brainspotting can be an effective mode of treatment for a wide variety of issues including:
Lack of motivation
Fear of the future
Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds fine, but what does an actual brainspotting session look like? With your therapist, you will be asked to call up a difficult emotion or experience. Your therapist will ask you to identify how that moment or feeling manifests in your body. You might feel like your throat is tight, or you might notice a feeling in the pit of your stomach. Your therapist will then have you direct your gaze to certain spots in your field of vision, and have you note where these feelings are most activated. Once we find that “spot,” you will be asked to focus on that spot with your eyes as you listen to soothing music through headphones. Together, you and your therapist will remain open and curious about what comes up for you. Your therapist will hold space and support you as your brain begins to make connections and process your feelings and experiences.
Brainspotting relies on the concept of neuroplasticity. In other words, research shows us that the brain is an ever changing organ that can create new connections over the lifespan. By accessing difficult feelings and memories and adding in bilateral brain stimulation through music, we can encourage the brain to make new neural connections that allow for growth and healing.
Like all therapies, brainspotting is most effective when done with a therapist that you trust and have a good relationship with. Brainspotting is a powerful tool for healing, and a trusted therapist can provide a holding space of self-compassion and nonjudgement that allows you to create newer, healthier pathways as you process.
Many clients also ask if brainspotting can be done via telehealth. The answer is yes! All you need is a pair of headphones and a device that you can use to listen to bilateral music tracks (available on YouTube). Your therapist can guide you through finding your spot in the field of vision of your computer or tablet, and processing can proceed much like it would in person.
Another benefit of brainspotting is its ability to be used in conjunction with other therapies. Many folks will switch off between sessions of traditional talk therapy and sessions of brainspotting processing. We might even do both in the same session. Brainspotting is a tool, not a formula, and the client is able to decide how little or much of it feels right for them.
If you would like to learn more about brainspotting, check out https://brainspotting.com/about-bsp/.