What Is Brainspotting, And Is It Right For Me?
Mental health is a growing concern in the United States, with more than one in five adults living with mental illness. As the number of people seeking help with their mental health challenges continues to rise, so has the exploration of alternative forms of treatment.
Brainspotting is a therapeutic method that hopes to promise a brighter, healthier future to millions. This innovative form of psychotherapy is rapidly gaining recognition as a powerful tool to heal and restore the human mind.
As we explore the transformative nature of this groundbreaking technique, you'll gain a better understanding of how brainspotting can help improve your mental health. Through this guided journey, you'll uncover the benefits of this approach and decide if it's right for you.
At the core of the brainspotting therapeutic approach lies the belief that where we look can affect our feelings. As a form of psychotherapy, it can allow individuals to access, process, and overcome trauma, negative emotions, and pain with the guidance of a trained therapist.
Brainspotting involves locating specific eye positions correlating to inner neural and emotional experiences. For example, if someone feels anxious or overwhelmed, the practitioner may ask them to focus on a specific point in the room to help them identify and confront their emotions.
What's truly remarkable about brainspotting is its ability to harness the body's natural healing abilities. This ability is largely due to the brain's innate ability to reorganize and adapt by forming new neural connections through neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt itself by forming new neural connections. It's a process by which the brain can rewire itself in response to environmental changes, new experiences, or damage. As a result, neuroplasticity allows for learning, memory formation, and recovery from injury.
When changes occur in the brain, it affects the individual's thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Brainspotting capitalizes on these changes by using eye movement to access the brain's natural ability to heal.
Brainspotting engages the midbrain through direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems in the body's central nervous system. Clinical research has shown that brainspotting may tap into the body's natural self-scanning, self-healing ability to process trauma.
When a brainspot is stimulated in the visual field, the midbrain appears to reflexively signal the amygdala, hippocampus, and other areas of the limbic system. These signals result in a "shift" or reorganization of neural activity. This shift is thought to help the brain better process and controlemotion.
During a brainspotting session, you can expect to feel a sense of deep relaxation, release, and awareness. You may experience an emotional response or physical sensations as the brain processes the information from the session. Your therapist will provide guidance and support as you move through the process of identifying and confronting your emotions. The therapist's role is to help guide the patient to a point of clarity, allowing them to access their healing powers from within.
To get the most out of your brainspotting session, it's important to be open and honest with your therapist about your feelings and experiences. Transparency will help the therapist guide you toward a resolution more effectively. Additionally, you may also practice mindful meditation and relaxation techniques before your session to help you stay grounded and centered as you access the intricate pathways of the brain.
Preparing for a brainspotting session can be an empowering experience. By focusing your attention inwards, you'll better understand how your unique brain works and its potential for growth and healing. With the right guidance and support, you may discover new levels of balance and harmony within yourself.
Brainspotting And Mental Health Conditions
One of the most intriguing features of brainspotting is its ability to help individuals address and heal from trauma. Trauma can be defined as an event or experience that causes physical, emotional, or psychological distress. Trauma can take many forms, ranging from abuse or neglect to job-related stress or the death of a loved one.
When trauma is experienced, it can become stuck in the neural pathways of the brain and body. As a result, emotional flashbacks or physical symptoms may occur, including headaches, nausea, or exhaustion. Brainspotting helps individuals tap into these stuck points and release them through eye movements that stimulate the brain in a new way.
Brainspotting may also benefit those living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a form of psychotherapy, it can help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce physical symptoms associated with PTSD. This approach can be particularly helpful for individuals who have not responded to other kinds of treatment.
Anxiety disorders may be responsive to brainspotting. Anxiety can result from various factors, including genetic markers, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Brainspotting can help individuals access the source of their anxiety within their brain and body and process it to reduce their symptoms or even resolve their anxiety entirely.
Depression is another condition where brainspotting may be highly effective. Depression is often caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Brainspotting can allow individuals to process their emotions and potentially lead to relief from depressive symptoms.
Additionally, brainspotting can also be beneficial for those living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is often characterized by difficulties in concentration, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. Brainspotting may help individuals better manage the symptoms of ADHD and develop coping mechanisms to lead healthier lives.
Brainspotting may also help those concerned about phobias. A phobia is an intense fear of something that may pose little or no real danger. Brainspotting can be used to work through the underlying emotions and beliefs associated with a phobia, helping individuals gain control over their fears.
Brainspotting is not only limited to mental health challenges. The technique may also be used to support individuals in achieving their goals. Through identifying and working with brainspots, individuals can access the inner resources required to make positive changes in their lives.
The Potential Risks And Limitations Of Brainspotting
Despite the immense potential of brainspotting, it is important to be aware of the risks and limitations of this type of intervention.
First, it should be noted that brainspotting does not replace traditional forms of psychotherapy. Brainspotting is generally best utilized in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help individuals understand the root causes of their distress and develop coping strategies.
Brainspotting is also not a "quick fix" for mental health conditions or other challenges. It takes time to work through emotions and thoughts to achieve lasting change. Additionally, it is important to note that some individuals may not respond favorably to this approach. Therefore, consulting with a mental health professional before engaging in brainspotting is important.
Brainspotting may elicit intense emotions, so it is important to be mindful of an individual's limitations when engaging in the process. For example, if an individual feels overwhelmed or excessively anxious, the therapist may need to modify the session's focus to ensure that the individual remains safe and comfortable.
Brainspotting often relies heavily on the relationship between practitioner and client. If the practitioner is not skilled in providing a safe and supportive atmosphere, it may be difficult for the individual to fully benefit from a brainspotting session. To minimize this risk, seeking a therapist with experience in brainspotting or other forms of trauma-focused therapy is important.
Brainspotting does not guarantee results. While some individuals may find relief from their symptoms after just a few sessions, others may require additional treatment to achieve the desired outcomes. Therefore, it is important to be realistic about expectations and to understand that any form of treatment takes time.
Online therapy may be a viable resource for those looking to access some of the same benefits of brainspotting without engaging in in-person sessions. A licensed therapist can provide guidance and support as an individual works through the process of identifying and working with triggers and emotions. Talk therapy may open the individual to deeper insight and provide a safe space for healing.
Based on recent research findings, online therapy appears to be equally as effective and efficient as traditional in-person psychotherapy. While many therapeutic interventions may be translated for the virtual space, cognitive behavioral approaches are especially conducive to this transition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help individuals learn healthier ways of thinking and behaving and develop strategies to cope with stressful situations.
Brainspotting is more than just an emerging therapeutic trend. It's a testament to the power of the human mind and its incredible capacity to heal.
As a powerful tool for addressing traumatic experiences and helping individuals work through difficult emotions, brainspotting may potentially transform how you approach your mental health. However, it is important to recognize the risks and limitations of this technique to ensure you get the most out of your therapy sessions.
Online therapy may help you maximize the benefits of brainspotting in a safe and supportive environment. With the help of an online therapist, you can learn how to process your emotions, understand the root causes of your distress, and develop strategies to cope with stressful situations.
Remember that many forms of treatment take time and effort to achieve lasting change. With dedication and patience, you'll be better equipped to take on life's challenges with confidence and resilience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Happens In A Brainspotting Session?
At the beginning of your brainspotting session, your brainspotting therapist will discuss with you your reasons for seeking brainspotting therapy. They will ask you to describe your symptoms and explain the situation or memories you have difficulty processing. It is very likely that during your first brainspotting session that you will not actually have brainspotting done.
Your therapist needs to ask you what you hope to get out of the sessions and make sure that you have a specific idea of the specific problem you are looking for help with. For example, simply stating that you are having trouble communicating with your partner isn’t specific enough, whereas citing a specific incident that upset you would be more helpful to the process.
Once the brainspotting specialist has determined that you are a good candidate for brainspotting, then they will explain the procedure to you in detail to ensure that you know what to expect. Additionally, they will explain any possible side effects of the procedure you might experience after the session.
From here, the therapist will work on finding the brain spot in your eye that corresponds with the memory or event in your brain. This is done by using a pointer that the therapist will have you fix your eyes upon. They will slowly move it while watching you for visible cues, ticks, or other indications that a part of your brain is being activated while focusing on the memory or event.
You can also help your therapist find the proper spot by being in tune with your body and noticing which spots activate your senses or calm them. From here, the therapist will have you listen to bilateral music through headphones that will help you process the thoughts, emotions, and feelings you will be experiencing by helping to stimulate your brain through sound.
Generally, once the brain spot is activated, the therapist will not do much talking. They will be there to guide you if necessary, to answer questions you may have, to reassure you, and to keep you safe. In brainspotting therapy, the therapist is not there to analyze your thoughts and feelings or to fix things for you. Your brain and body will do the majority of the work in healing themselves.
After the session, your therapist may discuss things that they noticed or help you understand some of the feelings you may be experiencing.
How Is Brainspotting Done?
See the above question for a detailed explanation.
Is Brainspotting The Same As EMDR?
Although they are similar in many ways, they are not the same. Brainspotting therapy (BSP) was derived from EMDR techniques. However, the practice is different. With EMDR, a patient is highly engaged throughout the procedure, and the therapist utilizes rapid eye movement to hyper-stimulate the patient.
In brainspotting, the process is much more relaxed, and rather than using rapid eye movement; the therapist will have the patient focus on one particular spot in their field of vision. This is their brain spot, and it is the spot in their eye that corresponds to memory or event in their brain. By focusing on this one spot, the brain will work through the event with little prodding or direction from the therapist.
Is Brainspotting Legit?
Brainspotting therapy (BSP) is a relatively new form of therapy, and as such, it is still undergoing extensive research to determine its efficacy. That said, for many patients with PTSD or unresolved emotional and psychological trauma-related concerns, brainspotting therapy (BSP) has shown significant promise.
There is no hard scientific evidence that definitively concludes that brainspotting is effective; however, most patients who have received brainspotting therapy report that they have experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms and resolution for their trauma.
Brainspotting therapy is not the perfect fit for everyone, however, so it is important to discuss your treatment options with your primary care doctor or therapist to see what they recommend for your situation.
Can Brainspotting Be Done Online?
Absolutely! For some, it may even be more comfortable and relaxing to be able to receive brainspotting therapy in the comfort of their own home. By using an online video conferencing app, your therapist will be able to see the minute details and expressions on your face and the movements of your eyes.
By seeing you more clearly without having to get close to you physically, the therapist will be able to determine which eyespots will be most beneficial to work on. The added benefit is that they can also gauge how you are responding to treatment better. You will be able to relax and recover immediately after the session without worrying about making the trip home.
How Much Does Brainspotting Cost?
Because there are so few certified brainspotting therapy (BSP) specialists, the rates that they charge are variable. On average, however, a typical 1.5-to-2-hour brainspotting session will cost between $250-$350.
Some insurance providers will cover brainspotting sessions, or partially cover them, so be sure to check with your insurance to see if they cover your treatment. Additionally, many employers have employee assistance programs that help provide coverage and care for mental health conditions. Speak with your HR representative to see if your employer offers such a program.
How Many Sessions Of Brainspotting Are There?
On average, a typical brainspotting session will take between 1.5 to 2 hours, and most patients see significant improvement in their symptoms within 2-3 sessions. Depending on the severity of the condition and the trauma being treated, more sessions may be necessary, but the treatment rarely exceeds 6 sessions.
How Do You Feel After Brainspotting?
Because brainspotting therapy (BSP) is a form of therapy that focuses on addressing the emotions and feelings associated with trauma and processing those feelings and emotions, it is very common to feel overwhelmed and physically and mentally tired brainspotting session. Some common symptoms you can expect to feel are:
Tired both mentally and physically
Light-headedness or dizziness
More emotional than usual (may have difficultly controlling emotions temporarily)
Anger or agitation
These symptoms can occur for up to two days after the brainspotting session. It takes time for your body to process the emotions and feelings it keeps pent up. It is important to make sure that you allow yourself time after your session to relax and recover. Try to clear your schedule for the day and spend your time resting.
What iIs Brainspotting Used For?
Brainspotting therapy (BSP) is primarily used in helping patients recover from and process trauma and PTSD. However, as more research is being done on brainspotting therapy (BSP), it is also now used in people who have:
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
Alcohol or substance abuse
Poor impulse control
The more scientists and doctors learn about brainspotting therapy (BSP) and how it interacts with our brains to help us process difficult, painful, and complex memories, emotions, and thoughts, the more effective it will be at helping a wide range of conditions.
Is Brainspotting Hypnosis?
Although brainspotting therapy (BSP), EMDR, and hypnosis have some similarities, they are actually very different therapy methods. In hypnosis, a patient is guided into a dreamlike trance with little awareness of the situation or their actions while they are in a trance. In EMDR and brainspotting therapy (BSP), on the other hand, the patient is awake, conscious, and aware the entire time.
In hypnosis, a patient is completely relaxed and is guided through their subconscious mind by a trained hypnotherapist. They are often searching for a specific memory or event that the patient may have repressed.
In EMDR, the patient is hyper-engaged throughout the process and, for some patients, can be overstimulating. In an EMDR session, the patient is asked to perform bilateral stimulation while their eyes rapidly move.
In brainspotting, the patient is asked to focus on a specific point in their vision. The therapist will find the brain spot that corresponds with the trauma that they are looking to resolve and will have the patient focus their attention on it. They then help the patient work through the feelings that emerge from the brainspotting with the aid of bilateral auditory stimulation, typically through music played through headphones.
In both EMDR and brainspotting therapy (BSP), the patient is an active participant in their recovery and in the process of working through negative emotions, thoughts, and experiences, unlike in hypnosis, where they take a backseat to the therapist.
How Do You Get Certified In Brainspotting?
To become a certified brainspotting therapy specialist, you must complete 50 hours of documented and monitored brainspotting (BSP) sessions. In addition, you must also complete all of the brainspotting training as mentioned below and complete an additional six-hour training course with a certified brainspotting therapy specialist.
To legally perform brainspotting therapy (BSP), a person must also have the degree required by the state they are practicing. At a minimum, this is a master’s degree in psychology; however, many states require a doctorate. Once that has been obtained, they will also have to complete and meet any licensing requirements required by the state they practice in.
To date, only 13,000 specialists worldwide are certified to perform brainspotting therapy legally.
What Is Brainspotting Training?
Brainspotting training is a series of in-person or online lectures and classes that a person can take to understand brainspotting better and help them pursue accreditation to perform brainspotting. There are six total training segments and numerous other individual training that go more in-depth on certain aspects of brainspotting.
To participate in the training and lectures, you must register for the classes you wish to take in advance and pay the applicable fees to attend the classes held at specific dates and times.
Who Developed Brainspotting?
Brainspotting was initially developed by David Grand Ph. D. He developed it to help first responders cope with the aftermath of 9/11/2001.
What Therapy Is Best For Trauma?
Several types of therapy can be especially effective for treating trauma. These types of therapy include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
Emotion-focused therapy (EFT)
Since there are so many different types of therapy that can effectively treat trauma and PTSD, it is important to discuss with your therapist and follow their guidance. They believe would be the most beneficial for your situation. Because everyone is different and no two people experience trauma in the same way, it is important to understand your limits and triggers.
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