Brainspotting is a neurologically-based treatment to help clients reduce the intensity of emotions around a specific issue or incident. Although it sounds a bit “woo woo,” it is a simple process by which people focus on an issue and let their thoughts and feelings wander in the protected setting of a trained therapist’s office.
As further explained by Marilyn Coonelly, PhD. “It is an effective, focused treatment that works by identifying, processing and releasing the neurophysiological sources of emotional or physical pain. Blocks that interfere with performance are often not in the realm of conscious thought. Brainspotting can find and release these blocks because it acts on the deeper level of the autonomic nervous system as well as the limbic, or emotional brain.”
During a Brainspotting session, the issue is located by noting an eye position where there is more nervous system activity (physical movement, eye movement, or other body activity). This “Brainspot” is then combined with Bilateral Sound (music that moves back and forth to alternately activate each side of the brain). As explained by Dr. Coonelly, “Bilateral Sound has multiple positive effects. It improves binocular vision, it forces blood into the frontal lobe of the brain which facilitates clear thinking, it balances the hemispheres of the brain which improves coordination, and it quiets and calms the deep emotional brain.”
Clients often report feeling “cleaner” and “lighter” about the issue after a few Brainspotting sessions. I have found it to be an excellent supplement to talk therapy meetings to open up an issue that a client may be stuck on, and move the therapy forward.
On rare occasions, people report feeling no change, but it is never harmful. Brainspotting will never leave a client feeling more anxious or overwhelmed by the issue than before.
Abigail Robinson, LCSW