what-is-brainspotting

What Is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a beneficial treatment, but it may be a new term for many people. So what is brainspotting? If you haven’t heard of it, you’re in the right place.

Brainspotting is a therapeutic method that attempts to resolve problematic memories/experiences that are traumatic via a method of locking the gaze. This might not make sense now, but it will soon.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about dealing with trauma with brainspotting.

Brainspotting Therapy

In essence, brainspotting is a type of therapy that attempts to reveal the patient’s unprocessed trauma via fixed eye positioning. Specific eye positions link with certain parts of the mind that retain emotions and thought. Thus, patients fixate their gaze on the troubled spots in the brain to uncover the mental challenges.

The practice is relatively new and is not widely known for treating mental challenges and trauma. In addictions, the therapy is used to bring hidden trauma that triggers the habitual behavior.

Keep in mind brainspotting is more useful when combined with other therapy types. In some programs, one might find themselves in BSP while engaging in DBT or CBT treatments.

Brainspotting can help recoverees who are entering addiction therapy for the first time. It can help those who have trouble reaching a breakthrough in therapy.

It can also help those who have relapsed often.  It can assist individuals with intense depression/anxiety that does not improve.

Now that you know about brainspotting, let’s get into the theory of brainspotting in a bit more detail.

Brainspotting Theory

The theory behind this practice suggests that the brain can heal from within. Thus, the therapy attempts to stimulate the healing ability by releasing and evoking a negative experience that has been stored. It achieves this by determining the eye positions that are meant to “release” these emotions.

The procedure is based on the direction of the gaze having a direct effect on how we feel. This portrays the connection between the eyes and the brain. Furthermore, brainspotting understands that trauma stores itself in the body and triggers via certain mechanisms.

How Does Brainspotting Understand the Brain?

As we know, brainspotting suggests that individual traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse, are subject to storage as memories in the brain and body. The individual can attempt to cope by suppressing the memories. By doing so, the individual storing the trauma within struggles with it daily and cannot deal with it properly. 

The longer the brain holds the memories, the more distorting they become to everyday mental cognition, leading to mental health disorders as a result. Brainspotting attempts to help the individual process, address and mitigate the stored emotion to start recovery.

The therapy suggests that by finding the individual brain spot, the brain can be stimulated to begin recovery. A brain spot is defined as the portion related to the energetic activation of emotionally charged issues in the brain, likely by the hippocampus, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex of the limbic system. 

These are the parts of the brain that are responsible for the regulation of motivation, emotion, memory, and impulse control. It’s also noted that a brain spot is a physiological subsystem that holds emotional experiences in the forms of memory.

How Does the Therapy Cause Change?

Brainspotting aims to release the experiences stored in the brain. For instance, if a war veteran suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, brainspotting might help them.

During the therapy, the therapist will have them find and focus on the brain spot that evokes negative experiences. Once the veteran recalls the event, the therapist will help them process the memory and release it. This creates a healthy environment for quick mental healing.

Brainspotting works directly by tapping into the brain segments that regulate memories, emotion, and neurohormonal networks. Therefore, brainspotting promotes both physical and mental healing by regulating control over the body. 

Skills Acquired From Brainspotting

Very few direct skills are subject to learning from brainspotting on their own. The primary focus is to reveal difficult thoughts and feelings. Authentic and genuine processing might require other therapies.

Some skills learned from BSP are, but not limited to:

  1. Embracing change
  2. Overcoming fears
  3. Familiarizing oneself with emotional release
  4. Becoming confident and self-aware
  5. Becoming mindful of stress

Beyond this therapy, you can also engage other traditional methods, like CBT.

One can gain these skills from such therapies:

  1. Getting down to the essence of reactive behavior
  2. Discussing problems areas with a sense of a goal
  3. Embracing permanence of the past to focus on the present
  4. Breaking down unhealthy beliefs and targeting their triggers

As the discoveries tap into difficult areas, one can begin to better understand themselves. The foundation for change in recovery is there. Repeated engagement with the brainspotting therapy method is a critical step to achieving progress.

Sessions Explained

The sessions will familiarize clients with the body-mind relationships and their relation to the trauma. As a client, you are given a safe space to explore the experiences. The therapist gives you a toolset to begin the journey and attempts to help you process the discovery.

An interstitial session is usually implemented, which is shortly followed by true work. Where you look affects how you feel; that’s the essence of brainspotting therapy. 

Some of the steps in the brainspotting process are:

  1. The therapist helps the client pinpoint physical feelings attached to experiences
  2. The client brings up the troubling issue for further exploration
  3. The client locates the negative feelings
  4. The therapist guides their vision into different brain spots
  5. The client notes the change in feeling according to the position
  6. The client is told to fixate their vision on the most unsteady spots
  7. The client shares their feelings and thoughts in relation
  8. The therapist attempts to help process and assess this information

While the client guides the exploration, the therapist still plays a critical role. They set up a session via dual attunement, which means the client can remain in-tune with their body-mind and be in-tune with the therapist. 

This awareness of the situation helps the client to open themselves up and actually work over these problematic issues.

Addiction Treatment Alternatives

What is brainspotting? Well, now that you know how it can help people, you are that much closer to deciding if you would like to try it yourself or suggest it to someone who you think would be a good candidate. In any case, brainspotting is a safe procedure, and there’s no reason not to try it. 

If you’re interested in brainspotting therapy, get in touch with us, and we will happily accommodate your needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn about other types of treatment as well.

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