Spotlight on Brainspotting
I have been practicing Somatic Psychotherapy for over 15 years and have experienced dozens of modalities that range from talk therapy to rituals, ceremonies, movement, wilderness, and beyond. I find that Brainspotting is a perfect crossroads for all of what I have learned over the years but adds something I had not accessed before. This modality bridges into the often hard to treat aspect of neurology. Brain science is still in it’s infancy so we don’t have full explanation of HOW it works but only THAT it works. We use the field of vision along with somatic tracking and therapist attunement to process trauma, emotion as well as access creative growth
What is Brainspotting?
As written on the Brainspotting International website:
"Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment that reduces and can eliminate emotional and physical pain and tension. It harnesses the mind and body's natural self-scanning, self-healing ability to dismantle the trauma, distress and beliefs at the subconscious core to free the mind and body.
Brainspotting treats stress, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sport and creative performance, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), dyslexia, emotional blocks and more."
Dr. David Grand, the founder of this method wrote a book (Brainspotting) for anyone to read about the method but it is truly an experiential method that is different in each session. I am here to answer any questions and share this powerful modality whenever you are ready!
A 34 year old married woman we will call Marie, came to therapy to process grief over her father's death 1 year ago. She works in a high stress corporate environment. She reported that she had not been sleeping well for months. She attributed it to the work stress and shared that she started her career working in her father's company and he was emotionally abusive in the work environment.
After doing a formal intake and spending time getting to know her, I suggested we try Brainspotting. She said she was willing to try even though she has never meditated or practiced yoga so she wasn't sure "if it will work".
During the session I helped Marie get in touch with the sensations in her body that came along with the work tension. She found a spot in her visual field that corresponded to that as well. While holding her gaze on that spot for a while, she noticed the sensations intensify and tears began to well up in her eyes.
After about 30 minutes, we debriefed and Marie shared that she had memories of her dad's verbal abuse at work and also periods of emotional stillness within. Beyond that she did not share in depth the content of the memories nor did she name every feeling that arose.
The following week when we met again Marie reported that she had slept better this past week than she had in 6 months and she was amazed!
This was the beginning of utilizing the tool of Brainspotting to help clear more of her brain/body of the emotion and stuckness that was hindering her from feeling free in her work and life.
Foundations to Begin
I recommend clients who are interested in Brainspotting, as well as any depth psychotherapy begin to practice body scan meditation. This skill will help create a foundation of cultivating an openness and curiosity in your mind that will help the process along. Any powerful method of therapy is going to challenge you in some way so having a skill to lean back into which allows you to trust the process is very beneficial.
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