Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, Counsellor and Trauma Specialist

Brainspotting

Brainspotting was discovered in 2003 by David Grand Ph.D. (www.brainspottinginternational.com), an internationally recognised psychotherapist, trainer and lecturer and early pioneer of EMDR. He has trained over 4000 therapists in brainspotting in the USA, South America, Europe, the Middle East and the first UK training was held in Edinburgh in February 2012.

How does it work?

brainspottingBrainspotting is an advanced form of psychotherapy that accesses parts of the brain that are often hidden from our awareness and combines psychology with physiology, linking mind and body together to produce profound healing.

Throughout our lives, we experience events which can cause significant physical and/or emotional injury and distress. These can be one off experiences or can be due to exposure to a number of small or large events, which can accumulate in our body over time. The result of these events can have a profound effect on us however and give rise to periods of low mood/depression, anger, anxiety, loss of motivation and a sense that life is just too difficult to cope with. We can spend our lives being visited by these negative emotions having lost sight, or not appreciating that the way we are feeling is linked to those past and distant traumatic experiences.

We can spend years talking about the feelings we’re experiencing and try to make sense of where they have come from. Whilst we might be able to learn methods to help us cope with these feelings we may never on our own be able to identify the source of our distress, which is often attributed to an earlier and forgotten traumatic experience. It should be noted that whether an experience is traumatic for a person, is determined by their appraisal of the event and the meaning they give to it. Onlookers may witness or hear about the event and dismiss it as being “trivial” or “no big deal”. The effect on the recipient however can be profound and alter their view of themselves and their place in the world for the rest of their life.

Finding this source is important because getting to the core issue gives us access to the origins of these feelings, allowing our brains to process these traumatic memories that are at the root of our physical and emotional pain, in order to be free of them.

Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that links current emotional and physical reactions to events that happened in the past. For example, a person who was involved in a car accident years earlier might continue to become highly anxious while driving. When we identify a “Brainspot”, we neurobiologically locate and process past experiences that have, for whatever reason, gotten stuck. Once these past traumas are un-stuck, our bodies will no longer continue to react that in that way.

Whilst we may have a degree of awareness as to what might be at the root of our feelings, there are often painful memories that are beyond the reach of our conscious mind, that are not always accessible through talking. Brainspotting appears to take place at a reflexive or cellular level within the nervous system, which can cancel out these unwanted emotional and physiological responses.

“Brainspotting is based on the profound attunement of the therapist with the patient, finding a somatic cue and extinguishing it by down-regulating the amygdala. It isn’t just PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) activation that is facilitated, it is homeostasis.” – Robert Scaer, MD, “The Trauma Spectrum”.