What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting (BSP) is one of the brain-based or neurobiological therapies that are helpful for healing from trauma. The main idea behind Brainspotting Therapy is that we can use the brain’s natural self-healing process to find, process, and release symptoms wherever they are stuck in our bodies.
Trauma healing without talk
Traditional talk therapy focuses on developing insight into behavior and patterns. It doesn’t typically work well for healing from trauma, because the symptoms of trauma tend to continue regardless of what you “understand” about what’s going on for you. Trauma therapy recognizes that much of what makes it difficult to heal, is what your body and mind do automatically (panics, spaces out, etc) despite your best efforts.
Brainspotting is different. With Brainspotting, you don’t even have to talk, if you don’t want to. You don’t have to explain your traumatic experience in detail to your therapist and re-trigger yourself to heal. With Brainspotting therapy, you have the focused space to let your brain do what it normally does - work through the past and heal it.
How it works
Have you ever noticed that when you’re trying to remember the details of something and describe it to someone, you tend to look away and “stare off into space” for a moment while you’re thinking about it?
Try it! Think now of the last thing you did before you read this article.
That “staring off” into a point in the room that we do, is what our brain naturally does when it’s processing. Unfortunately, when we do that mid-conversation, we usually feel the peer pressure to return to the conversation and make eye contact with whoever we’re talking to. As a result, we end up not fully processing in favor of finishing the conversation (so we don’t feel rude). When we’re on our own, sometimes we also break that processing if the thing we’re processing is overwhelming.
With Brainspotting Therapy, you have that focused time to finish processing, with a therapist to guide you if you get overwhelmed. This might mean having you “stare off” as you naturally would, or we might guide you to a specific point to address a specific issue, or use somatic techniques to help you process more deeply. When you have that focused space to process, you are able to process more deeply and way more quickly than you would in typical "talking session".
Brainspotting vs EMDR
If you’ve heard of the popular trauma treatment, EMDR, and this sounds similar, you’re right! Brainspotting was developed by an EMDR trainer who stumbled upon the effectiveness of the techniques while conducting EMDR. Where EMDR focuses on “eye movement”, Brainspotting uses “eye focus”. Where EMDR focuses on specific trauma, Brainspotting may focus on multiple traumas at once based on the body and mind's connection between them. Brainspotting also seems to be more gentle and less intense than EMDR, but just as powerful in its effectiveness.
How to get started
If you’re interested in learning more about Brainspotting Therapy, schedule a session with one of our Brainspotting therapists!