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Brainspotting: What is it and can it help me?

Brainspotting therapy targets trauma and helps you reprocess disturbing memories.

Are you struggling with anxiety and depression but haven’t seen enough progress with standard therapy and counseling? You’re not alone. Thankfully, the great news is that brainspotting may be the perfect solution. 

Over 41 million Americans will receive counseling or another form of mental health treatment this year. A growing number of people will turn their attention to brainspotting, and it could be the key to achieving a better understanding of your mind and improved quality of life. 

Before starting any type of counseling or therapy, though, it’s vital that you know exactly what to expect. This quick guide will teach you what brainspotting is and how it works to help determine if it is the right path for you.

What is brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a relatively new type of talking therapy that was created by David Grand, PhD. Using a focused mindfulness approach, brainspotting helps individuals process emotional trauma, which can include delving deeper into issues that have been discussed in other counseling methods or unpacking previously unconfronted problems that have been buried deep in your mind.

It’s a powerful neurobiological tool that can be used to simultaneously build upon your strengths and treat trauma-induced mental health issues. Given that 1 in 13 people will experience PTSD at some stage in their life, brainspotting has seen a huge increase in application for both men and women. If you’ve struggled with other therapies and want help with processing what triggers your negative thoughts, brainspotting is a fantastic solution.

How does brainspotting work?

Have you ever found yourself suddenly thinking about a past trauma or feeling anxious while gazing into nothingness? Your eye positions may be the reason.

Brainspotting is a form of therapy that works on the basis that the brain can heal itself following a traumatic experience. Before you can heal, though, it is necessary to identify the source of your problems. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and brainspotting is a form of psychotherapy counseling that is heavily focused on their relationship with your emotional state of mind. 

Whether consciously or subconsciously, trauma is stored within your mind. With brainspotting techniques, your therapist can locate, focus, process, and release those symptoms and experiences. In turn, it allows you to finally understand your anxiety and depression, or related issues, as well as the triggers and trauma behind them. Some clients experience life-changing results in as little as six sessions.

Brainspotting works on the idea that moving your eyes into certain positions (called brainspots) actively makes you think back to a trauma to trigger negative thoughts and emotions. It may sound like a complex approach, but it is as simple as following your brainspotting therapist’s pen. They will subsequently identify your brainspots to learn more about your mind and how it has been affected by your past trauma.

Brainspotting therapy treats PTSD, anxiety and depression


Brainspotting can be completed on one eye or both eyes while it can also be used as a standalone treatment or alongside other therapies.  There are three commonly used strategies to identify your brainspots. They are;

  • Inside window – this aspect of brainspotting relies on you, the patient, to express how you feel at certain stages. While using this technique to direct your gaze, the brainspotting therapist will discuss your emotions and the intensity of them to locate eye positions that trigger your trauma. By gaining a deeper understanding of internal emotional experiences, a clearer image of how your mind works can be built.
  • Outside window – the brainspotting therapist will use their own observations to note how a brain spot impacts your body and mind. This includes giving attention to non-verbal issues like facial expressions, twitches, and facial movements that are activated or calmed once a brain spot has been unlocked. In short, it identifies the impacts of trauma by working from external clues.
  • Gaze spotting – this is when you actively (consciously or subconsciously) direct your gaze and attention to a position without any prompt from the therapist. It means that fixating on an eye position makes you revisit the traumatic experience that has been locked in your brain. Identifying these situations can help determine the subsequent steps needed to heal from those traumas.

Brainspotting sessions may also use BioLateral sound. Either way, identifying and processing your brainspots will allow you to work with your therapist to develop coping strategies. 

Is brainspotting the same as EMDR?

If you’ve previously tried EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with little progress, you may assume that brainspotting isn’t for you. They do share several aspects such as identifying trauma, setting goals, and developing coping mechanisms by working on the relationship between eyes and emotional responses. However, they are two completely different strategies. 

Rather than being directed in a series of bilateral eye movements (as is the case in EMDR), brainspotting is about holding your visual focus on a field of vision. So, the approach and techniques do vary. Meanwhile, brainspotting usually requires fewer sessions. 

A brainspotting session aims to focus on the mind-body connection as well as the connection with your therapist. To do this, the appointment will;

  • Pinpoint physical feelings
  • Locate negative feelings within the body
  • Note the increased or decreased negative feelings in certain eye positions
  • Recall feelings and memories held
  • Hold a focused mindfulness
  • Process this information.

By the end of your session, you’ll have a far better idea of your triggers and – crucially – how to manage your past to build a better present and future.

What conditions can brainspotting help manage?

Despite being in its infancy, brainspotting therapy has been praised for its quick results and positive impacts on patients who have been significantly affected by trauma. Given that 20% of people who suffer trauma will develop PTSD, that’s quite a lot of people who can benefit from it. If you experience any of the following issues, you could be one of them;

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain syndromes 
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Substance use disorders

Brainspotting can help you in many different ways by processing your thoughts in a conscious manner. It promotes increased self-awareness and confidence, changing thoughts and feelings, a reduced sense of vulnerability, and a greater understanding of how you hold stress and trauma in your body. In turn, you can target unhealthy behaviors and triggers while also treating problems in a goal-orientated way.

To learn more about whether it is the right type of therapy for your issues, get in touch today for a FREE CONSULTATION. 



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