What is Brainspotting (BSP) and how can it help me?
Anxiety, trauma, feeling stuck or feeling that you can’t stop. Unprocessed emotion or pain that remains untreated create “capsules” within us that can interfere with those areas in our lives which are the most important in living your most personally fulfilling life.
For some of us, these unprocessed emotions may get in the way of our ability to achieve certain goals. For others, it may be impacting self-esteem, healing of traumatic experiences, improving relationships or just achieving overall peace of mind. By helping you to “download” those obvious or not-so-obvious capsules of emotions that are stored in the mind and body, Brainspotting can help to decrease depression, anxiety, phobias, and addictions.
Brainspotting is a powerfully focused, yet gentle therapeutic tool that is based on the most current neuroscientific knowledge of how the mind-body system stores and processes memories, emotions, and trauma. Brainspotting is designed to help you:
- Access information from a part of the brain beyond the conscious and cognitive level
- Locate, focus, process and release the emotional charge around past experiences, faulty self-perceptions or any other issues that are keeping you emotionally “stuck” much more quickly and effectively than many traditional therapies, including talk therapy
What to expect from a Brainspotting session
Brainspotting uses bilateral sounds (recordings that slowly pan back and forth through headphones from one ear to the other) that are designed to support the emotional healing process. This is provided to you during your Brainspotting session.
With the help and support of your therapist, you will first choose the topic that you wish to begin healing or addressing. Once you have identified your topic, you’ll be guided to check in with your body senses to locate where in your body the emotion is showing up.
Strong negative or trauma-related emotions commonly manifest as headaches, muscle soreness, digestive issues, chest tightness and many other body sensations. Different issues will be stored in different mind-body storage locations. Everyone is unique and reacts differently, and every issue has its own mind-body storage location. Your therapist will check in with you several times during each Brainspotting session, but the Brainspotting process itself requires minimal talk from the therapist.
Using a pointer, your therapist will help you locate your Brainspot for the topic you chose. The Brainspot is found along your field of vision, and correlates with the intensity of the body sensations, and gives you access to the subconscious capsule where the emotional issue content is stored in the mind/body system. Your therapist will hold the pointer in place throughout the next step: watching the internal healing happen and checking in with you. Your only job is to pay attention from the inside and see what comes up around the topic you chose as the processing takes place.
Your mind-body will find its own way of bringing to light your “stuck” areas that need to be released. Some people have very visual/imagery-based processing sessions, with many images coming through, while others experience the body’s physical sensations shift and change throughout the session. For others, the processing is more verbal and they find ways of articulating those things that are coming to their awareness. Your process may be similar or different to any of these.
At the end of the processing time, you and your therapist will gently explore your experience of the Brainspotting session. You’ll have the opportunity to talk about what new insights came up for you, what feels different now versus before the Brainspotting session, what action steps became clear for you and/or how the original topic might have shifted.
It is important to remember that Brainspotting works at a subcortical level (subconscious), which means that, depending on what we are working on and the severity of it, you may not become aware of the healing that is taking place in one Brainspotting session for a few days or even weeks. Most people feel relief after one Brainspotting session while longer term issues may need more processing over time. Brainspotting work can last anywhere from one to twelve sessions for a single topic.
Issues treated with Brainspotting:
- Brainspotting can be used to treat all areas of trauma, including survivors of war, natural disasters, and emotional and physical abuse.
- Brainspotting is also used for certain medical conditions, including traumatic brain injuries, strokes, fibromyalgia, headaches, and preparation and recovery from surgery.
- Brainspotting can also be used for performance enhancement such as sports, acting, public speaking, auditions, and other types of performance-related experiences.
Learn more about Brainspotting from its discoverer and developer, Dr. David Grand:
If your goal is to have a different type of experience with a specific issue, Brainspotting might be an option for you. Contact me to see if we might be a good fit.
Have questions about rates, insurance and what to expect in therapy? Click here for the FAQ page!
I am a psychotherapist in private practice based in New York and I see clients from all over the NYC and NYS area – Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester and statewide within the State of New York. I specialize in helping people who are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, chronic illness, digestive conditions and adult trauma related to childhood family dynamics. We all deserve a chance to be well and have support, and I would love to be there for you during this difficult time.