What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a neuro-experiential form of therapy that can access parts of the brain that are often hidden from our awareness. Developed by Dr. David Grand, this form of psychotherapy provides a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment for trauma by identifying eye positions associated with traumatic memories stored in the brain.
Brainspotting strengthens and enhances internal resources and allows contained, gentle, yet deep processing work with attachment issues, dissociative disorders, therapy for childhood trauma, and PTSD treatment. By regulating the brain’s control of the body, brainspotting promotes physical and mental healing.
How Does Brainspotting Work?
David Grand developed the brainspotting theory while providing trauma treatment to hundreds of 9/11 survivors. Incorporating his experience as a mental health therapist with somatic experiencing (SE) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), he observed that a fixed eye position is often associated with recounting a traumatic experience.
As a formal training program has expanded the use of this innovative therapy, practitioners have found it allows patients to access deep emotions and heal the physical effects of trauma. Brainspotting appears to work on the limbic system to influence psychological factors like:
- Long-term memory
- Impulse control
- Emotional well-being
What Conditions Does Brainspotting Therapy Treat?
Brainspotting aids trauma recovery by helping patients reprocess the traumatic events and retrain their emotional responses. While usually offered by a mental health clinic, it has also been shown to help speed physical healing.
Brainspotting is used for:
- Anxiety disorder therapy
- Anger issue resolution
- Addiction treatment
- Chronic fatigue therapy
- Chronic pain treatment
- Impulse control improvement
- Stress treatment
- ADHD support
- Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment
- Phobia resolution
- Treating childhood trauma
- Sports performance improvement
What happens in a Brainspotting Session?
A formally trained mental health counselor performs brainspotting as part of a therapy plan. During the process, the therapist is watching for subtle reflexive signals that indicate a brainspot has been detected:
- Using a pointer, the therapist guides the patient’s gaze across his or her field of vision.
- When the eyes reach a brainspot, the therapist takes note of its location.
- Using the brainspots identified, the patient recounts the event in a deeper and more detailed manner than normally possible.
- Through gentle guided sessions, specific memories can be reprocessed in a safe environment.
- Traumatic emotions and memories can be fully released, supporting the self-healing process.