“Brainspotting Therapy™ (BSP) is a therapeutic process [developed by Dr. David Grand] that uses specific points in the client’s visual field to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain. BSP uses relevant eye positions, somatic awareness, focused mindfulness and the therapist’s attunement to process and release the stored traumas which underlie a wide range of emotional and physical problems. It is a brain-body based treatment which integrates well with other types of therapies.
Often Brainspotting is used in conjunction with Biolateral Sound - music or nature sounds which move back and forth between right and left ears, which balances activation of the right and left brain hemispheres and activates the parasympathetic, or calming, part of the nervous system. […] BSP uses the brain’s and body’s natural ability to self-scan and to self-heal, or move back to a state of equilibrium. When a brainspot is activated, the deep brain appears to reflexively signal the therapist that a neural network holding unprocessed trauma has been found.
Trauma can be processed while connecting to either distressed or calm areas within the body. BSP can allow the client to move quickly through processing of the trauma in a contained and supported way. Because the processing occurs mostly in the subcortical brain, this may happen with less talking than in traditional talk therapy. It is common for clients to experience both rapid relief of distress and profound insights.” (https://www.brainspottingcanada.com/brainspotting-explained).
Below is more information about Brainspotting and how I use it in my practice. Reviewing this information in advance can allow in-session time to be used for more meaningful process. If there are any hiccups or questions, please feel to reach out to me for support and assistance.
My Use of Brainspotting for Trauma Processing and Integration
I am a Certified Brainspotting Therapist. I absolutely love the beautiful process of Brainspotting. I have experienced the healing power of Brainspotting first-hand, and have had the honour of supporting clients on their healing journeys by incorporating Brainspotting into sessions along the way. In this deeply somatic experience, it isn’t uncommon to cry, tremble, shake, cough, yawn, stretch, or simply stare and blink. This is how implicit body memory can be released sometimes, and it is welcome in the therapy room where I hold you with close attunement, providing emotional safety and healthy attachment. At the same time, you are never out of control. It is the client who guides the way once processing starts, and I simply follow your lead as you process as slowly or as quickly as you feel ready. It can feel strange and awkward at first, but rest assured, your brain knows what it needs and you can’t do it wrong!
"First, the client identifies what they want to work on. Sometimes it’s a specific fear or memory and other times it’s not planned so much as it is discovered as they begin talking. Then we move to the bodily awareness. I ask what they are noticing in their bodies and where they are feeling it. The result of this part of the session is the hardest to explain, because each session looks very different, and the direction of the session is always led by the client. Dr. Grand describes it as “being in the tail of the comet.” We are following the client’s innate, nonverbal knowing towards healing. And, that can’t all be done in the language centres of the neocortex. By following what the body is feeling and doing – just noticing that – permits a release. " - https://rockymountainbrainspottinginstitute.com/why-brainspotting-is-effective
Brainspotting through a telehealth medium such as video conferencing can be just as effective as in-person Brainspotting. However, it requires you, the client, to do some setup on your end before a session takes place. The environment around you should be as distraction-free as possible. On the device being used, notifications and other noises should be turned off or muted, e-mail and messaging apps should be closed, etc. A desktop or laptop with a camera works best if you have access to one. This is to allow as big a field of vision as possible during the session. If a tablet or cell phone must be used, it should be stationary (not being held in your hand) and set up to be eye level or close to it.
You may want to make the following available:
Sticky notes to help mark spots in your field of vision outside of the tele-health screen
Water (for drinking)
A blanket, weighted blanket, sweatshirt, or some other means for temperature control and sensory support
A sleep mask, bandana, or something else to cover one eye if the Brainspotting session involves isolating vision to one eye.
Bi-lateral / Bio-lateral Sound can be effective in supporting relaxation and regulation during a Brainspotting session. Many choose to forego this option, but if you wish to consider it, be sure to prepare the following in advance:
A device that can play audio (a cell phone with app capability, iPod, etc.), other than the one used for the tele-health session.
Headphones that do not limit environmental sounds (i.e., ear buds, not noise-cancelling). This will allow me to talk to you through the tele-health platform while the Brainspotting audio track is running. Note: for the track to be effective, both ears need to receive the audio equally and the audio sound needs to be in stereo.
A Bilateral / Bio-lateral audio track, downloaded or otherwise prepared on the device being used for the session. These can be found on the Apple store, the BioLateral Sound website, Spotify, YouTube, etc. (note: if you don’t have a subscription to these platforms, your music may be interrupted by ads, so be sure to find a longer track).
The volume of the BioLateral Sound should be quite low; barely audible, more aligned with dim background music. It should be easy to hear me through the tele-health session over the soundtrack.