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Counselling for adults,

children and young people

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Brainspotting

What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a powerful form of therapy that involves the processing and release of emotion and body-based (somatic) experiences or feelings through location and mindful focus of eye positions. It is based on the idea that what goes on inside our brain is directly related to where we focus our eyes. It allows your body to tap into its natural ability to heal itself, to reduce and eliminate the impact of unresolved trauma, negative beliefs, and emotional distress.

Put simply: “where you look affects how you feel”.

It was developed in 2003 by Dr David Grand, Ph.D evolving from his EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) practice. He initially described it as Natural Flow EMDR, before developing it further and renaming it Brainspotting.

What issues can Brainspotting be helpful for:

Brainspotting can be helpful for any issues that you would normally want to explore in therapy, such as:
  • Trauma including PTSD, Complex Trauma, Developmental Trauma, History of Emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
  • IMental Health issues including Anxiety, Phobias, Depression, Stress, Sleep Issues, Anger and Emotional regulation, Self-Sabotage, Low Self Esteem, and many others.
  • Health Issues and Chronic Pain
  • Addiction and Substance Abuse
  • Performance Anxiety including Athletic and Professional performance; Public speaking.
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Grief and Loss

How does Brainspotting work?

According to the theory behind Brainspotting, various eye positions help to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain. These eye positions correspond to certain feelings or painful memories, and that feelings from trauma can become stuck in the body. This can lead in turn to both physical and emotional problems. Its aim is to access the deeper, subcortical emotional and body-based regions of the brain by bypassing the conscious, neocortical thinking part. It is believed that the brain’s memory of a particular trauma or incident is processed and “reset” in the body and brain through Brainspotting, as opposed to remaining stuck, as is the case with unresolved traumas or issues.

What does a Brainspotting session look like?

The therapist will ask the client to describe an issue or something they want to explore or are struggling with. When discussing or thinking about the issue, the therapist will ask the client to describe it briefly as well as any instances of "activation" in their body, such as tense hands, tightness in the chest, difficulty swallowing, etc. Next, on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest intensity, the client is asked to rate the level of this activation. There are different ways of locating and working with Brainspots. The following describes one way. The therapist holds their pointer and slowly moves it around the client’s field of view. If a point seems to point to that stressful memory or provoke an unpleasant or painful physical reaction, the therapist encourages the client to focus on that point and notice what is "coming up” for them in their brain and body, concentrating on this point. The therapist and client talk through the experience at the end of the session. We can discuss other ways to work with Brainspotting in the sessions.

How long do sessions last for?

Brainspotting takes place during the normal session length. Some people will Brainspot for a few minutes, others for a large chunk of the sessions. If you feel you would like longer sessions, we can work for up to 90 mins with Brainspotting taking part of this time. This additional time would be at an additional pro-rata charge.

For more information, please visit: brainspotting overview