Brainspotting Therapy follows a person’s neurobiology and the wisdom of our deep subcortical brain to find homeostasis again – balance and integration of painful memories, feelings and symptoms.
What to expect in a Brainspotting Session
In a session, you will first talk about what has brought you in for pet loss therapy, what is difficult for you. Together we will find the “Brainspot”, a place in the visual field, where you will gaze during the session, and which harnesses the brain’s ability to find balance again. We find this spot through a variety of easy, natural methods.
For example, one way of finding a Brainspot is called Gazespotting – you may have been looking at a certain area to the right, left, or center of your visual field as you’ve been talking about some aspect of the loss of your pet. I will ask you to bring your gaze there and hold it for a minute or so and you will just see where you go. I’ll then check in with you to see what you have experienced. The time on that “gazespot” will be lengthened until you are gazing there for most of the session. You may be quiet, or speak if you feel so inclined. You might experience thoughts, feelings, memories, see an imagine in your mind, have a body sensation – a variety of experiences may occur as your deeper brain finds its way into “the file” of this disturbance or issue you have brought into the session. It is through the time on the visual spot that allows your brain to harness the regulatory networks which connect to our brain’s evolutionarily programmed ability to bring itself to a place of balance.
Other ways of finding the brainspot include what is called Inside Window, Outside Window, Z-Axis, One Eye Brainspotting and several other very easy and natural ways of find what we call the “relevant eye position” – relevant to the sensations of the difficulty.
With Inside Window, we work together to see where in the visual field feels most like the sense of activation around the issue and the body sensation that goes with that activation – so, how much do you feel the difficulty and where in the body do you feel it? How that works in the session is I will ask you how activated you feel around what you are working on – say it is the feelings of guilt around not taking your pet for euthanasia soon enough. I will ask you where you are in the moment on a scale of 10-0, with 10 being the worst you could feel, and 0 being the issue is resolved and you feel fine. So you will give that number, say for example, a 7 to start with. Then I’ll ask you where in your body you feel that “7 activation level” the most, or where it seems to “live” in your body or come from. If you can, you’ll identify that area of your body. No problem if you can’t do that – we can still work to find the brainspot. I then start to move a telescoping pointer first left, then center, then to the right, and you will follow that pointer with your eyes to see if the activation feels more to your left, center or right. When you identify which area has the resonant feel of the issue, I will move the pointer quite slowly horizontally to find the point of activation, of that 7 on a 10-0 scale, and on you will gaze at that place and do the Brainspotting session from there.
What seems to happen for people is that the number from 10-0 either goes up or down in the beginning of the session, and then starts to come down. There are a lot of theories regarding why this is so which include thoughts about the various areas in the brain we may be harnessing that help those regulatory networks to come online and be effective. I am currently involved in PhD study with a German neuroscientist to work on research to find what exactly is happening in the brain such that we see the excellent clinical results we do with Brainspotting Therapy. People just get better faster with Brainspotting therapy than with traditional talk therapy or other methods of therapy I have used over my 26 years as a private practice therapist, and Brainspotting therapist since its inception in 2003, and from the accounts of many of the 10,000 Brainspotting Therapists worldwide from over 30 countries I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
When you reach a low number or a 0, and as the session time is coming to a close, you will end the gaze on the brainspot. It is OK if you don’t reach a 0, the processing continues on and most people feel relief after the session if they leave the session at a higher number.
I will leave the other methods I’ve mentioned for finding the Brainspot for a conversation on the phone or appointment with you. You can also read more about Brainspotting Therapy in David Grand’s book, Brainspotting Therapy, The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change. Here is the Amazon link to his book: Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change
And you can read more about Brainspotting at www.brainspotting.com .
Additionally, here are some short videos that describe the Brainspotting process:
https://vimeo.com/186019577 - What is a Brainspot?
https://vimeo.com/187492731 - Who does Brainspotting work with?
https://vimeo.com/187493121 - As a client, why choose Brainspotting?
https://vimeo.com/187494155 - As a therapist, why train in Brainspotting?
https://vimeo.com/188685842 - What is the future of Brainspotting?
A quote from David Grand:
"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. Brainspotting gives us a tool to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity. Working with the deep brain and the body, Brainspotting allows for direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body's central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.
It is theorized that Brainspotting taps into and harnesses the body's innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive homeostasis (frozen primitive survival modes). This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.
A "Brainspot" is the eye position which is related to the energetic and emotional activation of a traumatic experience. Located by eye position, paired with externally observed (by the therapist) and internally experienced (by the client) reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form. The maintenance of that eye position/Brainspot within the attentional focus on the body's "felt sense" of that issue or trauma stimulates a deep integrating and healing process within the brain. This processing, which appears to take place at a reflexive or cellular level within the nervous system, brings about a de-conditioning of previously conditioned, maladaptive emotional and physiological responses.
Brainspotting appears to stimulate, focus, and activate the body's inherent capacity to heal itself from trauma. It is also very useful to access and develop internal resource states end experiences. These resources allow the therapist and patient, where necessary, to "pendulate" between resource or positive states and trauma states during a Brainspotting session to enable more gradual, graded processing and desensitization of intensely traumatic and emotionally charged issues and symptoms."