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What Is Brainspotting?

Happy woman smiling and having fun at beach“Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing, and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms”.¹ By accessing the deep brain and nervous system, Brainspotting therapy can in turn help release trauma trapped in the body. With its unique ability to address the physiological, physical, and psychological effects of trauma, Brainspotting helps clients make long-lasting transformations in their lives.  

The History Of Brainspotting

Brainspotting Therapy was developed by David Grand, Ph.D. when he was working with athletes as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist to improve their performance anxiety. While undergoing EMDR, Dr. Grand noticed that his clients would become fixated on a specific “spot” in the brain. A “brainspot” is the eye position related to the emotional activation of a traumatic or emotionally charged memory held in the brain. By focusing on one particular brainspot, clients could connect with their feelings more deeply than in past sessions, and, in turn, more effectively process what was at the root of their distress.  


How Does Brainspotting Therapy For Trauma Work?

The central nervous system is responsible for our motor control, hearing, sleep, and vision. Unfortunately, when we experience trauma, our brain freezes up to keep other resources available for our body’s defense mode. Over time, this “frozen” feeling in the brain never resolves and eventually becomes detrimental to our physical and mental health. Brainspotting for trauma works with the specific areas of the brain connected to your central nervous system. In this way, Brainspotting trauma therapy targets the body and brain simultaneously, leading to more enduring results. We access this mind-body connection in Brainspotting through eye position. Although it sounds deceptively simple, where you look impacts how you feel. Once you arrive at what “target” you want to work on—like a traumatic event—your therapist will direct you to follow a pointer with your eyes or may have you listen to music that moves from one ear to another using headphones. Using this Brainspotting technique, your therapist will help you determine which eye positions feel neutral and which others activate distressful emotions or physical discomfort. When you identify an “activated” brainspot, your therapist will ask you where you feel the emotion—such as in your chest, belly, or legs—and rank the intensity of the emotional charge it carries from 0 to 10. From there, we allow the brain to decide how best to process this memory, whether through focusing on the activated brainspot that carries a high emotional charge, or the “resource” brainspot that feels more neutral and allows you to process from a calmer state. Brainspotting is client-directed. You will be given time to share what you’re noticing and to derive more meaning from the memory at whatever pace feels comfortable to you. By the end of the session, the goal is for the activation level of the memory to have diminished so you can feel lighter and unburdened by the trauma you’ve been living with.  


Who Can Benefit From Brainspotting Treatment?

Photo of Person Standing Beside BarricadeWhile Brainspotting can benefit anyone who is dealing with the negative effects of trauma, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this form of therapy can also be an effective treatment for other mental health issues, such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), attachment issues, chronic pain, substance use, and anxiety. What’s more, expansion Brainspotting can also be used to address performance anxiety related to professionals, athletes, and performers and can be instrumental in helping individuals identify their goals. We often utilize Brainspotting in conjunction with EMDR, mindfulness, and Internal Family Systems (IFS). Although EMDR is similar to Brainspotting in many ways, each modality targets different areas of the brain to access emotions, making these treatments even more effective when combined. As this treatment continues to grow in popularity, there are now over 13,000 certified Brainspotting therapists in the U.S. today. Early clinical evidence from Brainspotting practitioners has shown it to be an effective tool for healing trauma. One study found that clients who underwent treatment with a Brainspotting therapist had a reduction of traumatic disturbance of greater than 50 percent at the completion of sessions.²  


Why We Utilize Brainspotting As Part Of Trauma Therapy

Woman Standing on Road Beside Trees Inside BuildingIn our experience, Brainspotting is a gentle, client-directed way for clients to effectively release intense feelings that remain trapped within the mind and body. Once we arrive at a brainspot, it is magical to witness how the brain knows what to do to repair itself without further direction required. Because every brain is different and processes trauma at its own pace, it sometimes takes some clients longer than others to complete Brainspotting. Nevertheless, it usually doesn’t take more than a few sessions to be effective.  

Our Training In Brainspotting

Road to Wellness founder, Janet Bayramyan, is a certified Brainspotting therapist and completed her higher-level courses with its developer, David Grand, Ph.D. She decided to train extensively in Brainspotting after witnessing first-hand the positive impact it can have on the treatment and healing of trauma. After undergoing Brainspotting therapy for herself, it confirmed for Janet that it is an amazingly gentle and supportive modality that—by connecting to the subcortical parts of the brain—facilitates deep healing. We are eager to share the benefits of Brainspotting with you!  

Find Out How Brainspotting Can Help You

Your road to wellness begins here. To learn more about Brainspotting therapy, please visit our contact page or call (818) 646-7190 to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with us.

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