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Trauma whether it is undealt or dealt with can practically alter your brain’s chemistry. Resolving the long-term impact of processed or unprocessed trauma is a pretty damning task. With relevance to that, Brainspotting Therapy (BSP) has quite visibly shaken the psychological realms during recent years. It’s a relatively new kind of therapeutic technique that heavily finds most of its basis in the infamous eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR).
BSP Therapy: The Basic Gist
To simply tone it down, during BSP a trained therapist tries finding brainspots usually with the help of a pointer. For those who are unfamiliar, a brainspot in this case would be an eye position or possible fixture that activates a traumatic memory or unprocessed emotions in a client undergoing therapy. Trauma can physically paralyze you, render you emotionally unavailable, and have an even worse impact on one’s mental health. The Brainspotting technique gives a light push to your body’s natural ability to heal on its own from the impact of negative emotions arising from your traumatic past.
If you’re someone whose therapist is more inclined towards BSP while catering to an issue, you should be aware of some basic pointers. You should also be aware of its effectiveness and any recently discovered loopholes/limitations before you proceed voluntarily. Here’s all you should be expecting from your BSP therapy sessions;
Brainspotting Therapy: Origins & Objective
Dr. David Grand is the biggest contributor behind the development of brainspotting therapy. While referring to it as an advanced brain-body technique, Grand lays the foundation of his work;
Negative experiences and traumatic events are usually stored in memories. So our gaze and where we look can affect how we actually feel. Brainspotting therapy operates by directly accessing the autonomic and limbic systems of a patient’s central nervous system.
Most of the focus during this therapeutic technique is on the client’s eye movements. Thus, based on their client’s eye positions a therapist utilizing BSP can locate and focus on any unprocessed negative emotions. Once the location and focus are out of the way, one can really find ways to finally process those undealt emotions which results in timely healing of the client. People dealing with both emotional and physical consequences of trauma found great comfort in Grand’s therapeutic advancement. Thus he developed formal training for his findings.
Currently, there are around 8000 practitioners successfully practicing this therapeutic technique while catering to patients with post-traumatic stress and similar conditions. It is a trauma therapy that can bring out unexpected psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.
Brainspotting Therapy: How It All Works Out
Brainspotting therapy primarily relies on the activities of the brain’s limbic system. Apart from the limbic system it also targets a person’s midbrain and right hemisphere. As stated earlier, unprocessed grief, emotions, and trauma are stored in our bodies. The limbic system is responsible for most of our body’s emotional control, impulse control, long-term memory storage, and sudden motivations. BSP therapy operates by activating those non-activated emotions if they proceed to harm a client’s healing process.
Therapists carrying out BSP therapy utilize a process called dual attunement. It’s a process that’s responsible for attuning the therapeutic relationship and also the brain-body response of the client who’s attending therapy. After locating the brainspot, a BPS therapist also carries out auditory bilateral stimulation. The rhythmic back and forth effect of music can thus make you feel more comforted.
The negative experiences we tend to leave unprocessed and refuse to deal with can have an irrational amount of intensity. Repeating the memories of those occasions can be hard as we fear getting emotionally battered once again. The principal objective of Grand’s Brainspotting therapy toys with this very phenomenon as it repeatedly brings up unprocessed trauma until it finally gets processed. After a while, the uneasiness that comes with those undealt emotions starts slowly reducing on its own. Its intensity wears off with each session as you grow casual to that very discourse. Once it completely wears off clients report that they experience a calming sensation considering how those old negative emotions don’t hold that much power over them anymore.
Brainspotting Therapy: What Should You Generally Expect From A Session?
Here’s what therapy goers experience during and after a brainspotting session;
- Brainspotting Therapy sessions cater to those negative unprocessed emotions and traumatic factors that you’ve been keeping inside you for a while. Going over those very feelings can make you experience uneasiness. You’ll practically want to skip over certain topics or any negative memories associated with some eye movements. Of course, you have the liberty to do that, but that won’t really benefit you in the long run. So, clients do experience uneasiness while talking about traumatic events during sessions because it’s a normal response to re-experiencing harsh experiences.
- It would be a BSP therapist’s main task to make sure that he/she positions a client’s eyes in ways that aid them in targeting sources of negative emotion.
- Clients also tend to report that they’ve just experienced a breakthrough. This breakthrough is usually their sudden discovery of an emotional knot that’s been troubling them for a while. Furthermore, even after a session ends a patient can still continue having an emotional discovery on his/her own.
- While you’re going through emotional ups and downs it can have some physiological changes on your body too. For instance; you might stay feeling like the temperature’s too hot just because your body’s overheating due to fatigue.
- Another physical change would be profusely sweating while verbally mentioning a certain memory associated with an eye movement. You might want to lie down or take a break if it all gets too overwhelming. Address these concerns to your therapist mid-session if you actually feel like it’s taking an extreme toll on you.
- You’re bound to feel tired after a BSP session. Clients undergoing similar therapeutic sessions report feeling lightheaded. You may or may not encounter a headache but it’s pretty normal for most cases. The basic reason behind this is that you’re digging up a lot of old undealt grief and negative experiences during a therapy session.
- Going over a traumatic past and repeating something that once hurt you really bad can make you feel slightly low. So, if you experience mild levels of fatigue there’s nothing to worry about.
- Apart from experiencing a tiring sensation in your body, you also may or may not feel extremely emotional. Digging up old negative experiences, traumatic experiences and emotional matters can shake up even some of the most strong-willed people. It’s pretty common if clients tear up a bit or straight up start bawling in the middle of a session or after it. You’ll be trying to process something that’s been dug up inside you and unknowingly hurting you for a while. So, once it starts getting out and its weight starts pulling off your chest, you’re more likely to become a little sentimental. There’s no shame in that, just let it all out until you’re finally over it.
Brainspotting Therapy: Targeted Groups & Effectiveness
Now that you’ve been made aware of the discourse up to some extent, only two questions remain unanswered;
- What kind of people can benefit from Brainspotting therapy?
- Is Brainspotting therapy actually effective or there are some huge limitations?
People who have tried BPS and favor it usually love how client-centric it is. As compared to some other trauma-centric therapeutic techniques, brainspotting seems more fluid and laid back to most clients. The results seen in most cases are pretty quick and long-lasting as reported by most people. So, it would be fair to say that it can show effectiveness over a short period. You can find answers after 2 or more sessions. If you wish to prolong your interactions with your therapist you can always count on talk therapy. As a result, you can also discuss more on the personal findings you’ve had through Brainspotting.
Here are some targeted groups that may find brainspotting therapy a better option as compared to others;
- People that are living with developmental trauma, severe psychological distress, post-traumatic stress can highly benefit from Brainspotting therapy. The psychological stress of this kind mostly arises from a major life change (divorce, death, relocation, etc.) Furthermore, BPS is also an ideal approach for people who are dealing with post-traumatic stress resulting from;
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Natural disasters
- BPS is a marvelous option if you’re feeling latched onto a single thought and talking therapy isn’t your cup of tea. Contrary to popular opinion, BPS also works well for concerns that aren’t trauma-related. So, if you’re just too confidential or talking isn’t your cup of tea. You’ll find BPS therapy sessions very helpful. That’s because with brainspotting therapy you can make progress due to the high involvement of nonverbal processing.
- People with long-term addiction problems and recreational substance abuse can also count on BPS therapy. Brainspotting can help in finding the undealt deep traumas that could be the root behind your addictive tendencies.
- Another major targeted group is people that report low motivation levels, anger issues, lack of attentiveness/concentration. Most of these aforementioned conditions can be a response to undealt trauma. Thus, people who struggle with these and try BPS therapy, find it quite fitting. Additionally, BPS is also meant for people dealing with physical injuries, constant numbness, and physical exhaustion rooted in a traumatic event.
5 Reasons Why Brainspotting Therapy Seems To Be Taking The Cake
- It pushes clients towards accepting the impact of their past on their present. It also strengthens the role of healing in a person’s life trajectory.
- It’s a very goal-oriented approach that’s also not that time-consuming.
- It lowers down the exhaustion that comes from the fear of being vulnerable in a closed or open setting. Through the creation of a supportive setting also insists upon the positive impact of timely emotional release
- It turns clients more self-aware of how they withhold trauma, grief, or negative emotions, intentionally and unintentionally.
- It aids in altering reactive behaviors by pinpointing the reasons behind them.
Brainspotting therapy is gradually turning into a trauma therapy that can change the trajectory of people’s life. Wearing off the impact of a traumatic event or injury can be pretty hard without showing resilience. If you or someone you know is struggling to deal with a continuous sinking feeling, it’s time to seek a diagnosis. Find a practitioner that specializes in trauma therapy because recovery’s possible at any stage if you’re willing to return to normalcy. There are a few limitations when it comes to brainspotting therapy because it’s fairly new. So, one can’t really tell whether it’s a more effective means of treatment as compared to other traditional therapeutic methods. One can oy deduce this assumption only when more research is done on the matter at hand.
What Is The Role Of Dual Attunement During Brainspotting Therapy?
First and foremost, dual attunement aids clients in becoming more in-tuned with their mind-body connection. Secondly, it also strengthens the connection between the therapist and the client.
What Kind Of Physical And Emotional Anomalies Are Treatable Via Brainspotting Therapy?
These treatable conditions include;
- Pain resulting from a traumatic injury
- Constant fatigue
- Impulsive Tendencies
- Anger Issues
- Substance Abuse
- Intense Phobias
- Psychological Distress
How Does A Therapist Locate The Activation Sensation During Brainspotting Therapy?
Some people experience a tingling sensation or pressure in a specific region and report it to their therapist. Your therapist will then ask you to rate the intensity of that sensation.