I have been asked this question many times since becoming a Brainspotting Practitioner. A simple answer has turned out to be surprisingly difficult for me to formulate since the therapeutic intervention is more experiential than it is explanatory. What I can say with confidence, is that Brainspotting is so profoundly effective for my clients which has led me to be passionate about its psychological healing power! But what is it???
The simple answer is that “Where you look affects how you feel.” Brainspotting is a therapeutic intervention that evolved from research involving EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy. Psychologists revealed that connections existed between a person’s eye position, and their repressed memories and delayed processing centers in the brain.
By untangling these blocked neuropathways, the brain can begin processing experiences as they are, and no longer be behaviorally and emotionally guided by past events and traumas. Used in conjunction with talk-therapy, Brainspotting has shown to be effective in as little as one session, averages usually ranging between 3-10 sessions.
The length of treatment depends largely upon the complexity of the individuals’ trauma, as well as the age of the individual. Younger clients tend to show less resistance to the process and see their symptoms improving almost immediately! As an adolescent and family social worker, I have seen this firsthand.
Brainspotting is especially successful with clients suffering from anxiety, grief/loss, past trauma, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and even individuals experiencing creative and athletic performance blocks.
So, what can you expect in a Brainspotting session?
Sessions last an hour and usually begin with the client and I discuss the issues they are experiencing and would like to work on. I give the client a hand-held CD player (yes, they still make those!) with headphones playing bilateral relaxation music at a very low volume. The bilateral music engages both sides of the brain (the thinking side and the feeling side) making processing much calmer and more relaxing for the client. I ask the client to become mindful of body sensations, finding the spot that feels most physically activated while thinking of the issue. By slowly waving a flagpole pointer across the client’s field of vision, they follow it with their eyes paying close attention to the intensity of the activation spot in their body.
Once the place in the client’s visual field with the highest activation level is found, I will invite the client to continue looking at the pointer while remaining mindful of physical sensations. That’s it! The client will do this for 10-45 mins during which time extensive neural processing occurs.
Like I mentioned before, this is so much more experiential than it is explanatory. I’m so confident of the results, I’m willing to give you the first Brainspotting session for only $40 (usually $97).