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  • Writer's pictureAlex Derevyanchuk

How Effective is Brainspotting (BSP) Therapy?

Updated: Mar 28

If you have experienced trauma, you may be looking for a way to heal from its effects. Trauma can cause physical and emotional symptoms that interfere with your well-being and quality of life. You may have heard of Brainspotting (BSP) therapy, a relatively new type of therapy that helps you process and release trauma from your body and mind. But what is Brainspotting and how does it work? Is it effective for treating various conditions? And what can you expect from a Brainspotting session? In this article, we will answer these questions and more, based on the latest research and evidence.

treatment for anxiety, stress, PTSD, and addiction with Brainspotting

Overview of Brainspotting

Brainspotting is a type of alternative therapy that uses spots in a person’s visual field to help them access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain. The subcortical brain is the area of the brain responsible for motion, consciousness, emotions, and learning. It is also where trauma can get stuck and cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, addiction, and more.

Brainspotting was discovered in 2003 by David Grand, PhD, as an advancement of his work in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Grand had observed a client getting "stuck" in one spot while doing EMDR. While staying in this one spot, Grand observed her going deeper than ever before and Brainspotting was born.

One of the purported benefits of Brainspotting therapy over EMDR is that one does not need to “relive” the trauma in order to facilitate its release from the body. Brainspotting works on the theory that feelings from trauma can become stuck in the body, leading to both physical and mental ailments. It is believed that the brain’s memory of a particular trauma or incident is “reset” in the body and brain through Brainspotting.

How it Works

Brainspotting works on the principle that "where you look affects how you feel". It is based on the idea that different eye positions correspond to different parts of the brain, and that by finding the right eye position (or brainspot), one can access and heal the trauma stored in that part of the brain.

A brainspot is a specific point in the visual field that triggers a strong emotional or physical response when focused on. A trained Brainspotting therapist helps the client find their brainspots by using a pointer or their finger to guide the client's eye movements across different directions and distances. The therapist observes the client's facial expressions, eye movements, breathing patterns, and body language to identify the brainspots.

Once a brainspot is found, the client is asked to hold their gaze on it while listening to bilateral music (music that alternates between left and right earphones). The music helps to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain and enhance the processing of trauma. The client is then encouraged to notice whatever sensations, emotions, memories, or thoughts come up while staying on the brainspot. The therapist provides support and guidance throughout the process, but does not intervene or interpret the client's experience.

The goal of Brainspotting is to allow the client to access and release the trauma from their nervous system in a safe and controlled way. By doing so, the client can reduce or eliminate their symptoms and restore their balance and well-being.

What Brainspotting Can Treat

Brainspotting can be used to treat a variety of conditions that are related to trauma or stress. Some examples are:

Brainspotting can also be used to enhance creativity, performance, confidence, and self-esteem.

Benefits of Brainspotting

Brainspotting has many benefits for people who suffer from trauma or stress-related conditions. Some of them are:

  • It is non-invasive and does not require talking about or reliving the trauma.

  • It is client-centered and self-directed, meaning that the client has control over their own healing process.

  • It is flexible and adaptable, meaning that it can be tailored to each client's needs and preferences.

  • It is fast and effective, meaning that it can produce results in a shorter time than other therapies.

  • It is holistic and integrative, meaning that it addresses both the body and mind aspects of trauma.

  • It is compatible and complementary with other therapies, meaning that it can be used alongside other forms of treatment.

What a Brainspotting Session Looks Like

A typical Brainspotting session lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. The first session usually involves an intake and assessment, where the therapist asks the client about their history, goals, and expectations. The therapist also explains the process and principles of Brainspotting and answers any questions the client may have.

The following sessions involve the actual Brainspotting technique, where the therapist helps the client find their brainspots and guides them through the processing of trauma. The therapist may use different variations of Brainspotting, such as inside window, outside window, z-axis, or resource Brainspotting, depending on the client's needs and preferences.

The number and frequency of sessions vary depending on the client's goals and progress. Some clients may experience significant improvement after a few sessions, while others may need more sessions to achieve their desired results. The therapist and the client work together to determine the best course of treatment.

How to Get Started

If you are interested in trying Brainspotting therapy, you can start by finding a qualified and certified Brainspotting therapist near you. You can use the online directory of Brainspotting International to search for therapists by location, specialty, or language. You can also ask your doctor, therapist, or friends for referrals.

Before you book a session, you may want to contact the therapist and ask them about their credentials, experience, fees, and availability. You may also want to ask them about their approach to Brainspotting and what you can expect from the sessions. You can also check their reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get a sense of their style and effectiveness.

Brainspotting therapy is a powerful and innovative way to heal from trauma and stress. It can help you access and release the emotions and sensations that are stored in your body and brain, and restore your balance and well-being. If you are looking for a non-invasive, client-centered, and effective therapy for trauma or stress-related conditions, you may want to give Brainspotting a try.

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