As we’ve seen in this video, Brainspotting is a powerful brain-based therapeutic modality which allows access to the subcortical layers of the brain; which consists of the limbic system and the brain stem —the areas of the brain where emotional, sensory experiences are stored and processed, and instinctual primal energies stem from. True healing requires that these regions of the brain and, therefore, of the mind, be facilitated in the language they “speak”: sensations, emotions, smells, sounds, visual stimulus, thwarted bodily movements or functions, and stunted instinctual responses. When we access and facilitate the involvement of the subcortical brain regions we give “voice” to all of the different languages the brain “speaks” to communicate with itself, ourself and the world. This is particularly important when the events that negatively affected us —aka traumatized us— still impact our physical and mental health and our relationships, long after these events have passed.
Without a brain-mind-body approach to therapy, clients can easily get stuck in trying to heal traumatic experiences through a logical, rational, sequential narrative, all left hemisphere activities. While our left hemisphere faculties are needed and often a necessary part of the therapeutic process, in most cases they are not sufficient to truly release and move beyond the mental, emotional and somatic charges involved in traumatic experiences.
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People who are polarized in such a heavy left brain approach often say things like, “I understand why things happened the way they did, why I feel and think the way I do, nevertheless I don’t FEEL much better!” or “this happened a long time ago, it is in the past, there is nothing I can do to change what happened, so I have no choice but to leave it alone, forget about it and move on… but it’s not really working”. While these statements show a strong intent and desire to move beyond one’s difficult mental and emotional challenges, they dismiss the right hemisphere reality: clock time doesn’t heal all wounds; comprehending doesn’t mean feeling better, relieved and relaxed on a gut level; and emotional triggers that get us out of our resiliency zone can not be “willed away” or powered through if we are to find deep and genuine relief. In brief, therapeutic approaches which access both the right and left hemispheres of our subcortical brains are required if we are to attain profound and sustainable resolution and healing of our emotional and mental traumas. Brainspotting is such a modality!
As Dr. Grand states in this video, the neocortex is very limited in its ability to influence the subcortical layers of the brain because there are less brain fibers going from the neocortex into the subcortical brains then there are coming from the subcortical brains into the neocortex. In other words, the stories we make up, or the good advices our friends or therapists offer to help us feel better have a limited ability to influence and change the wiring or our subcortical brain.
Neuroscientist Dr. Damir del Monte has studied how Brainspotting affects the whole brain. In one of his lecture on the subject he sates: “The brains is a self-referential, self-organizing and a complex non-linear neuronal processing system.” Let us dig a bit better to help us better understand what he means by self-referential, self-organizing and non-linear and why it matters when it comes to mental health.
The brain is self-referential. By this he means that the brain mostly talks to itself. For every single neuron that comes from our senses into the brain (the words we hear, the visual stimuli and facial expressions we see, the sensorial experiences we have, etc.), there are more than one hundred thousand neurons inside the brain communicating between themselves. Talk about a highly complex web of neuronal interconnections!
The brain is self-organizing and a complex non-linear neuronal processing system. Since every input of a neuronal connection influences countless other neuronal connections, each neuronal connection contributes to create the stories and meaning we make of our experiences. In other words, the events of our lives are less about the events themselves and the people involved, but more about how the brain organizes and interprets all of these connections and the stories it creates about them. As we keep in mind the ratio of one neuron transmitting information from the outside world into the brain itself, competing with hundreds of thousands of neurons exchanging information with thousands, to hundreds of thousands of other neurons, we soon realize that in order to truly promote the resolution of traumatic experiences, and therefore change the neuronal plasticity of the subcortical brains, we must help the brain have an efficient, resilient and adaptive internal self-dialogue.
When bilateral stimulation —which increases communication between both brain hemispheres— is incorporated to the eye position corresponding to an increased felt sensations in the body when recalling a disturbing or traumatic event, we tap into a holistic and an organic process which accelerates and amplifies the efficiency of the internal self-dialogue the brain needs to heal itself. The discovery of finding the specific eye position when working with traumatic memories is, in essence, Dr. Grand’s profound contribution to the field of trauma work.
Clinical experience of real people whom have been painfully affected by real traumas confirm that Brainspotting is a very powerful modality to help them un-root and free themselves from their highly disturbing PTSD, C-PTSD and addictive symptoms. As a therapist with more than 35+ years of clinical experience in the healing field, I can attest —along with thousands of Brainspotting therapists around the world— that for countless clients, Brainspotting is one of the most efficient rebooting brain methodologies there is!