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What is Brainspotting (BSP)?

Experiences of physical and/or emotional injury, acute and chronic pain, serious physical illness, dealing with difficult medical interventions, societal turmoil, environmental disasters, or any negative life events, contribute to the development of a substantial reservoir of life trauma and can overwhelm one’s nervous system.

Brainspotting (BSP) works on easing this emotional and physical lock down by locating, accessing, processing and releasing neurophysiological sources of emotional and/or body pain, trauma, dissociation, and other challenging symptoms held deep in the subcortical brain. We believe that BSP utilizes and harnesses the body’s natural self-scanning and self-healing ability. 

“Where you look, affects how you feel.”

Specifically, a Brainspot is a relevant eye position chosen by either the client or the therapist, as the client slowly scans his/her field of vision while thinking about the emotionally charged issue. Often, the individual can locate a Brainspot by noticing an increase of emotions or body sensations in a particular visual location. The therapist may find Brainspots by observing reflexive responses in the client, such as changes in the individual’s eyes, facial expression, breathing or body position. A Brainspot gives access to the activation of the emotionally charged issue in the brain. Staying on that Brainspot invites processing from the bottom up and from the inside out. As attention is given to the client’s processing of the issue, the charged material moves in a direction of discharge and healing. This stimulates a deep integrating and healing process within the brain.

BSP is most powerful and effective when done with the enhancement of BioLateral sounds. The bilateral component involves listening to soothing background music and/or nature sounds which move from ear to ear to help enhance the brain’s processing abilities. 

How does Brainspotting help?

Many clients have talked in therapy about the stumbling blocks in their lives, only to find that their symptoms reappear later, after they thought that their issues had been resolved. This may occur because trauma lodges in part of the brain that is outside of the rational, conscious mind. The goal of BSP is to bypass the conscious, neocortical thinking in order to access the deeper, subcortical brain where traumas and negative experiences are held. BSP can help free individuals from painful emotions and maladaptive patterns of behaviour that seemed unresolvable. It can assist in reducing excessive reactions to present situations and relationships. BSP is a way to work on trauma in a safe and contained situation. 

BSP is also used to find and strengthen resources and resiliency. For example, a Brainspot can be chosen based on where one feels the most grounded or calm in his/her body. The goal in resource enhancement is to increase positive feelings and body sensations.

Who can Brainspotting help?

BSP is effective for a wide variety of emotional and somatic conditions. It can be helpful for children, adolescents, adults and seniors by reducing the effects of events that caused distress to lodge in the brain/body. BSP is particularly effective with trauma-based situations, helping to identify and heal underlying trauma that contributes to anxiety, depression and other behavioural conditions. It can even help those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. BSP can also be utilized in the preparation and recovery from surgery and can reduce the stress surrounding the management of major medical illness. Additionally, many individuals have found BSP useful for reducing attention issues, stress, anxiety, phobias, and anger. BSP can be used to decrease addictive cravings. Another exciting possibility is that creativity and performance are enhanced by this treatment modality.