You may be thinking “What the heck is this Brainspotting thing you keep mentioning?” Great question. Brainspotting is a highly flexible brain- and body-based therapy that allows us to access the parts of the brain below our conscious/cognitive awareness and clear out the “gunk” that gets stuck in there from trauma, unhelpful patterns and thoughts, and, ya know, life. We access that mysterious underbelly of your brain via “Brainspots”, which is areas in your visual field that your eyes tend to lock when thinking about or remembering memories, problems, or tough moments in the past. Basically, “where you look affects how you feel”. I like to think of Brainspotting as having three “buckets”/more specific types:
You select an issue that causes some “activation” or distress for you, and we talk about it as much or as little as you want (no reliving details of trauma here!). Then we find the Brainspot (I use a pointer or my “magic wand”, as I affectionately call it, here, usually). Then, your job is to get curious and observe what’s taking place in your mind and body with as much non-judgmentalness as possible. Over time, your nervous system gets more regulated (which can show up internally and externally), and the “gunk” gets less sticky and distressing. There are a ton of variations on this theme, but this is a general idea of the process.
A very similar process to Classic Brainspotting, but this type works really nicely for stuff that gets held in your body, like chronic pain, illness, muscle tension, and the like. We get your brain and body talking to each other more effectively which often reduces symptoms and overall stress. As the popular book states, “the body keeps the score”, and we can help it learn to unwind and relax better. This type is also really effective for people who get stuck in a “freeze” or shutdown response (as opposed to fight, flight, or fawn/people-please – we are certainly capable of all of the above, though!).
Last, but certainly not least, is Expansion. Expansion Brainspotting focuses on enhancing what we already have and want more of, or adding something we don’t have that we want. Examples might be confidence, assertiveness, creativity, better communication – let your imagination run wild! Expansion supports our brain in more freely accessing these qualities, values and states, and helps resolve blocks or mental barriers. Best of all, you don’t have to decide between these three “buckets” – they’re all available on whatever timeline feels good to your nervous system, and we can move fluidly through different types.