February 8, 2024 Paula Gurnett, C.C.C.
Brainspotting therapy was developed by David Grand in 2003 and has gained popularity in the mental health field since then. At its core, brainspotting is based on the idea that our visual field can connect to emotional and somatic (bodily) experiences. The term "brainspot" refers to a point in the individual's visual field that correlates with a specific emotional or physiological response. These spots are thought to be connected to the deep areas of the brain where traumatic memories and emotions are stored.
During a brainspotting session, the therapist guides the client's gaze to explore their visual field while simultaneously tuning into their inner experience, including thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. When a brainspot is activated, the client may notice a shift in their emotional or physical state. This can manifest as increased awareness of emotions, memories, or bodily tension related to past trauma or current stressors.
Once a brainspot is identified, the therapist facilitates processing by helping the client stay present with their experience while accessing and releasing stored emotions and memories. This may involve techniques such as bilateral stimulation (using bi-lateral music or tapping), grounding exercises, or somatic experiencing to support the client in regulating their nervous system and integrating their experiences.
Brainspotting is particularly effective for working with a wide range of issues, including trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, chronic pain, phobias, addiction, and other psychological challenges. It can also be used for performance enhancement in sports or creative endeavours by addressing performance anxiety and improving focus.
One of the key benefits of brainspotting is its ability to access and process traumatic memories and emotions without requiring the client to verbally recount their experiences in detail. This can make it a more comfortable approach for individuals who find traditional talk therapy too overwhelming or retraumatizing.
Overall, brainspotting therapy offers a unique and effective way to access and heal deep-seated emotional wounds, using the brain's natural capacity for processing and integration. It's important for individuals considering brainspotting therapy to work with a trained therapist who can provide appropriate support and guidance throughout the process.