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Addiction Recovery With Brainspotting Therapy

April 30, 2024 Paula Gurnett, C.C.C.

Brainspotting therapy has gained attention for its effectiveness in treating various mental health issues, including addiction. Developed by Dr. David Grand in 2003, Brainspotting is a form of psychotherapy that targets the deep brain and body through the use of eye positions called "brainspots." These spots are believed to correlate with traumatic or emotionally charged experiences stored in the brain. In the context of addiction recovery, Brainspotting therapy can be particularly beneficial because it addresses the underlying trauma and emotional distress that often contribute to addictive behaviours. Many individuals turn to substances or addictive behaviors as a way to cope with past trauma or to numb overwhelming emotions. This therapy approach helps individuals process and release these unresolved emotions and traumatic experiences, reducing the need for self-destructive coping mechanisms like substance abuse. Brainspotting therapy does not rely on verbal processing so if an individual is uncomfortable talking about their past traumatic experiences, this modality will enable them to heal without telling or retelling their story. 

Here's how Brainspotting therapy can aid in addiction recovery:

  1. Trauma Resolution: Addiction and trauma are often interconnected. Many people struggling with addiction have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. Brainspotting therapy allows individuals to process and release trauma held in the brain and body, reducing the emotional triggers that lead to addictive behaviours.

  2. Emotional Regulation: Addictive behaviors are often driven by an inability to regulate emotions effectively. Brainspotting helps individuals identify and regulate intense emotions by accessing the brain's innate capacity for healing and self-regulation.

  3. Addressing Underlying Issues: Rather than just focusing on the addiction itself, Brainspotting therapy delves into the root causes and underlying issues contributing to addictive behaviours. By addressing these issues, individuals can experience more profound and lasting recovery.

  4. Enhancing Self-Awareness: Brainspotting can increase self-awareness by helping individuals gain insight into their thought patterns, behaviours, and emotional responses. This heightened awareness enables individuals to make healthier choices and develop more adaptive coping strategies.

  5. Preventing Relapse: By resolving underlying trauma and emotional distress, Brainspotting therapy can reduce the likelihood of relapse. It equips individuals with the tools to manage cravings, cope with stress, and navigate triggers without resorting to addictive substances or behaviours.

It's important to note that Brainspotting therapy is often used as part of a comprehensive treatment approach for addiction, which may include other forms of therapy, support groups, medication-assisted treatment, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, the effectiveness of Brainspotting therapy can vary depending on individual factors such as the severity of addiction, the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, and the individual's readiness for change.

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