pixel headBrainspotting (BSP) is a new type of therapy designed to help people access, process, and overcome trauma, negative emotions, and pain, including psychologically-induced physical pain Dr. David Grand founder of brainspotting explains it like this, where we look effects how we feel.

A simplified way to understand brainspotting is to consider it in terms of pixels. The word “pixel” means a picture element. Every photograph, in digital form, is made up of pixels. They are the smallest unit of information that makes up a picture. Although our brain isn’t actually made up of pixels, to understand brainspotting it can be helpful to keep the image of pixels in mind. Imagine that our brain was a grid of pixels with each holding information. The information may be verbal, non-verbal, connected to a sensation in our bodies or an emotion long since buried. Depending on where we look we can access the different pixels or more accurently the “brainspots.” Once assessed the traumas can be digested and released.

Before starting the actual brainspotting the therapist may offer the client an opportunity to use headphones to listen to bilateral music playing softly in the background. This subtle bilateral stimulation also helps the brain process as it activates both sides of the brain. During brainspotting, the trained therapist will help a client position their eyes in ways that enable them to target the source of negative emotion or sensation in the body. The therapist will often use a pointer, to slowly guide the person’s eyes across their field of vision to find the appropriate “brainspot.” The definition of a brainspot is the eye position that activates a traumatic memory or painful emotion. Practitioners of the procedure believe it allows their client to access emotions on a deeper level (much more quickly) while also targeting the physical effects of the trauma. There is increasing evidence that trauma is “stored” in the body and that it can alter the way the brain works. Trauma can, for example, have an effect on one’s emotions, memory, and physical health. Brainspotting seems to activate the body’s innate ability to heal itself from trauma.

Who Can Benefit from Brainspotting?

BSP-vs-talk-therapy-600px1Those who have experienced either physical or emotional trauma may obtain benefit from brainspotting. This form of therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for those experiencing:
• All forms of trauma
• Anxiety
• Attention issues (ADHD)
• Anger issues
• Phobias
• Substance abuse
• Chronic fatigue and chronic pain
• Impulse control issues
• Sports performance issues
• Eating disorders

Brainspotting can minimize the influence of trauma, negative emotions and uncover thinking patterns that are keeping a person stuck. Memories are not lost but the “emotional charge” from the memory or the nonproductive thinking pattern will be cleared. Imagine standing in front of a bonfire. As you stand by the fire you would hear the crackling, experience the heat, smell the smoke, etc. This is one level of intensity and charge. On the other hand if you are looking at a picture of a bonfire your senses are no longer engaged and there is a much lower level of intensity or charge. This is what brainspotting can do, reduce the intensity so that a more productive set of patterns and choices can be established.

Brainspotting can be integrated into almost any traditional psychotherapy as well as used in conjunction with other healing modalities such as body-based therapies like reiki, craniosacral, acupuncture, etc.