what is brainspotting?
Where you look affects how you feel.
Yes, seriously. Not in a if you look to the right you’re lying kind of way. It’s more of a neuroscience way.
Our eyes and brain are very closely connected, and not just because they’re both part of our head.
Your visual field is an important tool helping your brain get information about your surroundings in order to keep you safe.
Brainspotting uses this close connection between our brains and our vision to bring relief from symptoms of anxiety, shame, overwhelm, trauma, and many other ways we, as humans, can feel emotionally and physically stuck.
how does brainspotting work?
We spend so much of our lives operating from our neocortex, or “adulting” brain, that sometimes memories and experiences get filed in the wrong file in our mental filing cabinets (that’s assuming it didn’t just get dumped into our mental junk drawer).
These mis-filed memories and beliefs can then influence our responses to current day events causing symptoms of anxiety, self-doubt, overwhelm, or compulsive behaviors.
With brainspotting, we can unlock the mis-filed memories and then re-file them in a place where they’ll be less intrusive.
In sessions, we also incorporate the brain-body connection by finding where the activation around this anxiety or issue is showing up in your body (and trust me, it IS showing up in your body, even if you don’t notice it).
but how does brainspotting actually work?
in layman’s terms, please
It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds.
There are no scanners or wires. The tools we use are headphones, a pointer, and maybe some glasses that help you focus on one eye or the other.
In a brainspotting session, you first get to decide if you want to use the bilateral sound or not.
Bilateral sound is music or nature sounds played through headphones that alternate back and forth between your left ear and your right ear.
Many people find the bilateral music helps them to stay calm and focused during the session. (some clients like to wear the headphones even during non-brainspotting sessions).
Next, we find the spot.
This can happen in one of many ways, but the main idea is that together, we locate a spot where you can look that is connected to whatever memory, issue, thought, or feeling, we want to work on that session.
Yup, that’s it. It’s just focused activation (or staring at a specific spot) while you process the issue.
The brain really is amazing when we give it the space to do it’s job without distractions.
If it’s that simple, why can’t I do it myself?
Great question! It’s best to learn how to brainspot with a therapist who is trained and available to ground you in the here-and-now while your brain processes.
Once you’re comfortable with it, your therapist can teach you how to do it on your own.
should i try brainspotting?
Some people seek out brainspotting because they feel like they “know” they “should be over it” when something triggers their anxiety. Others are just tired of feeling “stuck.”
The thing is, you can’t just out-think your basic instinctual self when your deep brain feels threatened.
*Cue sighs of relief…. It’s not your fault that you can’t “get over it” or “just move on.”
Your brain is working very hard to protect you and keep you safe.
In this particular situation, maybe your brain is just going a little overboard on doing it’s job.
what issues does brainspotting work for?
With brainspotting, we can help the brain tell the difference between times when the anxiety really is needed and serves you well, and those times when your brain could really back off a little and let you enjoy the moment.
Anxiety isn’t the only issue brainspotting helps to alleviate symptoms for.
It’s also been shown to be effective in working with performance anxiety (sports, stage fright, presentations), traumatic experiences, assault, grief & loss, ADHD, and more.
find a brainspotting therapist
Carolyn is the only clinician at The Joy Effect currently offering brainspotting. Hopefully soon other clinicians will begin to offer brainspotting in the Woodlands and surrounding areas.