Brainspotting is a type of therapy that uses a person’s vision to help them process trauma. The area of our brains responsible for motion, consciousness, and emotions is the subcortical brain. Using certain spots in your vision to help you tap into this part of the brain allows you to work through past trauma. 

Traditional therapies like talk therapy work with the conscious mind. This method works with the subconscious mind. The general theory behind brainspotting leans into the idea that our bodies store trauma physically. Therapists can use a person’s visual field to access and help reset how we store that trauma in the brain. 

What Can Brainspotting Help?

The primary focus of brainspotting therapy is to ease the trauma. It can be helpful for other issues as well. This is especially true since trauma can have many co-existing illnesses, like:

  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Depressive disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

To get treatment for these illnesses and trauma, it’s essential to find a trauma-informed therapist. They’re equipped to help you through the emotional path toward healing. 

How Effective is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is highly effective for several mental health conditions. There are a few reasons brainspotting is an effective approach:

  • Trauma and stress activate our fight-or-flight responses. Our cognitive and conscious experiences are closely linked with our sensory and emotional experiences. 
  • We have a hard time letting go of stress by only talking. Our more primitive parts of our brain live in the subconscious mind, and brainspotting taps into that. 
  • To fully release trauma and stress, we must access our subconscious, emotional minds. Brainspotting accesses this primitive part of the brain and helps us fully process trauma.

What is A Brainspot?

Brainspot is how we refer to an eye position that helps you access your emotions, bodily sensations, and paste traumas. We all have these subconscious spots for different emotional states. Keep in mind, that this is not a conscious reaction. It’s just a place that we tend to look at when we feel sadness, anger, and other intense emotions. 

During the processing of trauma, we subconsciously use these brain spots while we’re working through things. For example, if we’re processing the death of a loved one, we might have different brain spots for our grief, hurt, or anger. While we’re working through those emotions, a therapist can help re-engineer the thoughts surrounding that grief. 

What Happens in A Brainspotting Session?

During a brainspotting session, you speak with your therapist about what you’re experiencing. The therapist asks questions to help them tap into their self-awareness and help them reframe their thoughts about the event. This talk stops if the client becomes severely emotionally triggered. If you’re emotionally triggered, you’re no longer absorbing the benefit of the session. 

As emotional reactions come up in a session, therapists give space for the person to process those emotions at their own pace. If someone feels they can’t fully speak through the trauma, the therapist might ask them to notice the bodily sensations and thoughts that come up. When a brain spot is located, a therapist directs you through processing the trauma. 

What Happens After A Brainspotting Session?

A single trauma can take several sessions to fully process. After you’ve fully processed the trauma, your therapist can help you talk through your next steps. Maybe you have more you need to process. 

Brainspotting works with a single event at a time so you can fully reprogram your thoughts surrounding the event. Even if you feel you don’t need further brainspotting treatment, regular check-ins with a therapist are still recommended. Your mental health, just like your physical health, needs a little regular maintenance. Please read more about trauma therapy and contact us soon, we’re here to help.