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Brainspotting (BSP)

There are various way to uncover and process core issues. Talk is helpful, however to go deeper, brainspotting can help get to what is really going on. Like the analogy of the iceberg, we see what is above the water, but not what is underneath. Brainspotting helps us get to what is underneath.

A brainspot is a visual spot connected to memory or thoughts. For example, if you ask someone where is their favorite place to get coffee, their eyes will most likely look at a spot above your head. If you try to think of the last vacation you took, your eyes will most likely look off towards a spot so you can access the images associated with that vacation.

David Grand, Ph.D. who developed brainspotting says “Where you look affects how you feel.”

By locating eye positions or brainspots that correlate with relevant internal experiences plus an attuned relationship  with the therapist, healing and resolution of issues that are held deeply in the non-verbal, non-cognitive areas of the brain are possible. In general, talk therapy engages the neocortex, or newer part of the brain, which is helpful in processing current events and making decisions and plans. BSP engages the subcortex to process traumas held in the more primitive parts of the brain. BSP utilizes both focused activation and focused mindfulness as its mechanisms of operation. The most important part of part of the brain for healing trauma is the subcortical, where trauma is held. BSP aims at a full, comprehensive discharge of activation held in the brain and body.

A short version of what it looks like in therapy:

Once the client has an awareness of an issue, the therapist asks where the activation (the feeling) is in the body such as in the chest, stomach or throat, then between 0-10 that number they would give the level of activation for this issue. The then therapist moves a pointer across the client’s visual field and asks where the client feels the most activation. They stop on the spot the client chooses and then begin to process the material from there. The therapist checks in with the client as the client processes images, memories, thoughts and sensations as they arise.

Brainspotting can also be used for performance enhancement with musicians, actors and athletes. BSP is an effective method of discharging activation associated with performance and helps them find the focus they need to engage in their professions with a greater sense of freedom and control. 

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Trauma Counseling Center of Los Angeles
8170 Beverly Blvd., Ste 200. Los Angeles, CA 90048