“Brainspotting is a neurobiological tool used within the context of a therapeutic relationship which supplies a safe, trusting container within which negative experiences can be reprocessed rapidly.”
BRAINSPOTTING- ADVANCED NEUROBIOLOGICAL CLINICAL TOOL
In my past clinical practice, I have been trained in and used EMDR as an effective tool to heal traumas, negative beliefs, sensations, memories, and emotions. EMDR has also shown its usefulness as a clinical took to input into the brain new, positive neural networks, imprinting in positive thoughts, feelings, resources and beliefs. However, as I transitioned more and more into conducting remote sessions via Zoom, I found it more and more difficult to work out the logistics of EMDR via Zoom.
Having completed Phase I training in Brainspotting as well as other follow up curriculum, I have already begun to incorporate its use into my clinical practice with significant positive and rapid results. I am so impressed with its ease and effectiveness that I want to educate clients about this resource which can be incorporated into your individual consultation sessions with me via Zoom.
WHAT IS BRAINSPOTTING and WHAT ARE ITS USES?
Brainspotting can be used to heal issues all the way down to the subcortical (unconscious and preverbal) levels and its research shows that it is as effective if not more than EMDR with longer lasting effects.
It can not only be used to heal psychological wounds, negative beliefs, memories, fears, unpleasant or distressing emotions, but it can also be used to augment positive emotions, beliefs and resources. Furthermore, it supports peak performance and sports performance.
Brainspotting was developed in 2003 by David Grand, PhD psychologist who has also been trained in EMDR; Brainspotting developed out of that tradition. In the words of therapists Hilary Stokes, PhD and Kim Ward, PhD (website: www.authenticityassociates.com/brainspotting):
“Brainspotting is defined as an advanced brain-body therapy that focuses on identifying, processing, and releasing trauma, mental health imbalances and residual emotional stress. It is based on the notion that ‘where you look affects how you feel’ and finds that eye positions correlate with unconscious, emotional experiences.
When you focus on an eye position related to an upsetting issue, you release the emotional and physical stress within the issue. Brainspotting reaches parts of the brain that are not generally accessed in traditional talk therapy and most other types of therapy.
Brainspotting is a neurobiological tool used within the context of a therapeutic relationship which supplies a safe, trusting container within which negative experiences can be reprocessed rapidly. It supports the release of emotional material that can be preverbally caused (experienced in very early childhood) and that otherwise would be difficult to source consciously. So, it accesses and shifts the autonomic and limbic systems within the central nervous system.
However, like EMDR, Brainspotting augments positive resources, beliefs, and feelings and has already been used for peak performance in all areas including sports performance.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In the typical session which lasts around 80 minutes, the client is encouraged to identify an emotional issue or feeling that they wish to release. Subsequently, the therapist helps the client find on a spot in the visual field of the client that corresponds to the emotion or emotional experience with which they wish to work. Yes, emotions do have a visual correlate that can be readily identified, so that when that spot is the target of focus, the emotion surfaces and is amplified. While staring at that spot in a mindful state of mind, affiliated emotions, sensations and memories, all a part of an associated neural network surface and become neutralized.
Many clients end the experience with a neutral emotional state where there had been distressing emotions; however, many other clients seem to naturally reach a peaceful state of closure with a positive broader outlook. Some clients even report a more transpersonal sense of closure.
In my own experience in the past with EMDR and Brainspotting, the natural healing abilities of the brain are given the “hurdle help” they need to restore the brain and psyche back to its default state of being healed and restored to a healing equilibrium.
In the case of augmenting positive emotions or emotional resources, the process is similar to the description above; however, the client is asked to identify the visual spot corresponding to a positive feeling, experience or resource. Mindfully staring at that point embeds that resource deeper into the brain’s cortical structures and its unconscious.
While each client and his/her goals are different, it is not uncommon to achieve some to significant relief within one to three sessions.
ARE THERE RISKS?
Most experts agree that Brainspotting is low risk, but it is true that confronting difficult emotions or memories can be unpleasant. Usually, these experiences move quickly during the session; but clients should give themselves at least 15 minutes post session to integrate and allow themselves whatever time they need before driving or doing anything that requires concentration or focus.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE A BRAINSPOTTING SESSION?
Just go to the online scheduler and schedule an individual 80-minute session; it is suggested that you not try to do Brainspotting within a 50-minute consultation. I recommend scheduling 2 or 3 sessions about a week apart so that we can build on each session to achieve maximum results.