Amanda Spriggs is a Phase 2 Brainspotting practitioner and currently working toward certification.
What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting (BSP) is a brain-body and mindfulness based approach to healing developed by Dr. David Grand in 2003. Trauma or prolonged stress and overwhelm the nervous system, leaving us feeling physically and emotionally stuck. It is hypothesized that Brainspotting accesses the deeper layers of the brain (subcortex) and brain stem, which talk therapy cannot access. Accessing this part of the brain allows for deep, rapid and prolonged emotional healing.
How does Brainspotting work?
To begin to understand how Brainspotting works, it is important to know about two parts of the brain and how they function. The cortical part of the brain is the outermost layer and is in charge of logic, reasoning and language. The subcortex is located deeper in the brain and is houses the hypothalamus, which is where emotion is processed. Many challenges in our lives can be thought through to change perception and behavior. This is the basis of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But often times there are issues we need to work though and this strategy is not effective, or has only short term relief. Enter Brainspotting!
Brainspotting is founded on the premise that, “Where you look, affects how you feel.” Just as the eyes give us information about the world around us, they also tell us a great deal about our inner neurobiological world. The eyes contain neurons and brain tissue, which can allow for direct access to the subcortical part of our brain. If you’ve ever asked someone a question and noticed they look up as they consider the answer, you are seeing the eyes being a window as the person searches the subcortical part of their brain for the information they are looking for.
In Brainspotting, the client and therapist work together to find a relevant eye position, or Brainspot. Remaining on a relevant Brainspot allows the client to process the issue from the inside out, moving it in the direction of discharge and healing.
What can Brainspotting help with?
One of the amazing things about Brainspotting is that it can be combined with other treatment modalities and is useful for a wide range of experiences. In addition to trauma and PTSD, Brainspotting can help with the following:
- Stress, panic and anxiety
- Specific fears (flying, public speaking, etc.)
- Grief and loss
- Relationship challenges
- Performance anxiety
- Anger management
- Chronic pain from physical injury, accident, or surgery
- Compulsive behaviors
- Negative beliefs and critical self-talk
- Any situation or challenge in which you feel stuck or your mind is on a loop and you can’t find resolution
The central website for Brainspotting: Brainspotting.com
Non-profit association of therapists utilizing Brainspotting: Rocky Mountain Brainspotting Institute
A 2 minute video: What is a Brainspot?
A 3 minute video: Why Choose Brainspotting?
A 23 minute video: Dr. David Grand explains Brainspotting
A 43 minute presentation: Dr. David Grand explains why/how Brainspotting works