What Is Brainspotting and How Does It Benefit Health?

Releasing and transforming suffering is part of the objectives of brainspotting, a therapy that helps heal emotional wounds resulting from traumatic events.
What Is Brainspotting and How Does It Benefit Health?
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 11 June, 2023

Brainspotting works as a fast and effective therapeutic approach that complements the treatment of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). The technique is used to address emotional trauma.

According to the Journal of Psychotraumatology, Psychotherapy Sciences, and Psychological Medicine, this option is effective for traumatic events or post-traumatic stress disorder. But this isn’t the only field of Brainspotting (BDP). At the same time that patients control the intensity of their feelings, it’s possible for them to resolve certain health conditions.

Why do we block negative emotions?

The accumulation of stressful experiences could turn into traumas. When you go through difficult situations without the guidance to handle them, the brain blocks them out to protect itself and you.

However, the events are recorded. Even if they seem to be isolated, there’s a risk of activating them, damaging the physical and emotional balance.

Responses range from sadness to anguish, anxiety, and anger, varying in intensity. If you don’t process the painful experience correctly when remembering it, excessive physiological arousal occurs, worsening the reaction.

What is brainspotting?
Post-traumatic stress syndrome finds in BSP a suitable technique for its approach.

Ideally, the trauma should be released and made part of the life history.

What is brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a useful method in psychology to confront deep-seated suffering and reform it. The therapy helps to heal emotional injuries resulting from a disturbing event.

Psychotherapist David Grand described the technique. During a session, the expert noticed that by reducing eye movements, the patient processed the trauma with greater tolerance.

He claims that people manifest unusual reflexes when their eyes are in specific positions. This is how the specialist worked on the connection of current emotional and physical reactions with past impressions.

In the process, the cerebral point is identified, which facilitates the release of blocked feelings. The Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology explains that the BSP approach accesses innate capacities for self-observation and self-healing in a neurobiologically attuned clinical relationship.

As evidence of efficacy, a study reviewed by the same publication emphasizes that brainspotting significantly reduced memory-related distress in the sample used for such an exploration.

Health benefits of brainspotting

An inquiry by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which included BSP among several therapeutic techniques, asserts that it causes beneficial effects on the processing of overwhelming memories in healthy adults.

Whenever an emotion is disproportionately expressed, it’s due to the activation of something old stored in a neuronal capsule. Hence, the BSP serves to attack physical ailments and somatization associated with certain events, such as those mentioned below:

  • Phobias
  • Addictions
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Speech disorders
  • Aggressiveness and impulsivity
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity
  • Physical or emotional trauma due to wounds, accidents, or injuries
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity

In addition to addressing negative contexts, brainspotting favors the development of internal resources and the strengthening of positive experiences. The method helps to promote mood and preparedness in patients planning surgical interventions.

BSP is also a beneficial therapy that stimulates creativity. Another area that appeals to this method is sports, to improve the performance of athletes.

How to apply the brainspotting technique?

The psychotherapist’s procedure is based on finding a precise position of the eye and linking it to the neural circuit that stores information about life. While the patient moves his eyes, the psychologist traces the point and inquires about the emotions.

You may see anguish, anxiety, increased blinking, or body gestures. When the therapist finds the brain spot, the work on the emotions begins.

You will always look in the same direction so that the brain can retrieve the memories. Strong psychological and physiological reactions are likely to arise, but you shouldn’t lose focus.

The expert seeks emotional healing and guides you to practice self-healing skills, reprocess the original trauma and release the burden.

Crying woman.
Eye movements seem to have a reflex that connects them to certain brain points associated with past traumas.

Contraindications of therapy

Initially, therapies covered only adult survivors of trauma. Now there are psychotherapists who treat children and other population groups. However, some recommend focusing on individual patients, due to the delicacy involved in handling emotional flows.

As a contraindication it could be mentioned that attending sessions influenced by alcoholic or psychotropic substances hinders the observation process and implies ineffective results.

Duration of sessions and results

From the first time you’ll notice that tension and anxiety decrease. Likewise, the fear of unpleasant memories decreases. You’ll perceive that something has changed in you during the consultation and in the following days.

The number of BSP sessions is determined by the degree of complication of the patient’s history, apart from its severity. What the encounters guarantee is that after each one you’ll release burdens and gain self-knowledge.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.