What is Brainspotting

I’ve increasingly been drawing on a therapeutic modality called Brainspotting – a brain-based therapy discovered by Dr David Grand. Brainspotting is a powerful technique that processes trauma and distress that is stuck in the body. Often talk-based therapies alone can fall short when dealing with trauma and its associated effects. “Brainspotting allows us to harness the brain’s natural ability for self-scanning” explains Dr Grand. Without addressing the brain-body connection therapy can potentially go on for years without the deeper levels of processing required for effective change.

The premise of Brainspotting is that “where you look affects how you feel”. A ‘brainspot’ is the eye position which relates to the emotional activation of a trauma or related issue. With the guidance of a therapist, clients hold their gaze on a ‘Brainspot’, allowing for the processing and release of the trauma from the nervous system. This therapy is based on a growing body of literature that highlights the importance of the client-therapist relationship. It is when clients feel safe, heard and understood that their nervous systems are most receptive to engaging the deep brain.

Brainspotting is a highly effective treatment for trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction and other psychophysiological ailments. As a recipient of Brainspotting, I was initially quite sceptical. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could overcome chronic levels of anxiety without talking about it. My personal experience quickly dispelled my doubts. Locating a ‘Brainspot’ led to flashbacks, scents, melodies and other associated memories I had completely blocked from my awareness.

Researchers have highlighted the power of this therapy with several key studies; and neuroscientists continue to look at the effects of Brainspotting through EEG (electroencephalogram). Clients often report that after brainspotting, they are able to think about formerly distressing content without being overwhelmed. The thought no longer triggers an emotional response, allowing clients to make sense of their situation and move forward in life. Whilst cognitive therapies no doubt have their place, in the field of trauma there are certain limitations. By incorporating the deep brain and body, Brainspotting goes beyond simple cognitions and can allow for rapid and effective change.

For more information on Brainspotting, see:

Harry Bechara.


Category : Blog & Trauma

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