logoM.A., LMFT (MFC 50298), M.S., LAc. (AC 8941)

Brainspotting

Where you look affects how you feel” David Grand, creator of Brainspotting.

Have you ever caught yourself staring in space while replaying in your mind a painful or unresolved memory? Do you find yourself often going back to the same painful thoughts and emotions, hoping they would just go away? The experience of bringing our focus on a specific point in space which resonates with our body sensations and emotions is what trauma therapists, and cutting-edge neuroscientists, refer to as activating a memory capsule; brain neurons which together hold all aspects of a memory: physical sensations, emotions, taste, light, touch, sound, color, smell, etc. Brainspotting taps into this powerful way of accessing our deepest memories and feelings, and allows for deep emotional healing at accelerated speed! 

Adverse experiences, such as traumatic and overwhelming events profoundly dysregulate our mind and our brain. More specifically, they offset our brainstem and limbic system; the oldest parts of our brain, which are dedicated to keep our body regulated (digestion, breathing, hormonal regulation, sleep, etc.), and inform us of our inner experience –or lack thereof– of feeling safe and connected in the world. When these subcortical parts of our brain are flooded with traumatic, unprocessed memories, sensations and emotions, they are left unable to release the “charge” these experiences created and, therefore, to integrate them as part of our life story, without the “charge”.

Contrary to popular belief, our traumatic and overwhelming experiences seldom go away just by talking about them, which is a considerable limitation of talk therapy alone, or by avoiding thinking about them altogether. The bigger truth is that, as long as they remain unprocessed, meaning as long as they keep their “charge”, they keep on affecting how we perceive, feel and act on a daily basis. They negatively transform our experience of the world and of ourselves by either keep us on high alert and anxious (fight and flight response), or numb and disconnected (freeze response), or bouncing back and forth between these extreme ways of being. In doing so, they render us more susceptible to be easily triggered by anything and everything which reminds our brainstem and limbic system of similar past adverse experiences.

It might be important to emphasize that our brainstem and limbic system do not relate to “clock time” as our neocortex does; they are in an “always now” time zone. This is why traumatic experiences never really go away until they are processed and discharged from the deepest layers of our brain. While our neocortex (aka new cortex), which is “only” 75,000 years old, is necessary to help us heal and make sense of the senseless, the deep processing and discharge of our traumatic experiences requires the involvement of our 250 million years old limbic system, and our 600 million years old brainstem. Talk about old brain structures!

Dr. David Grand, a trained EMDR practitioner and the founder of Brainspotting discovered that “where we look affects how we feel”. Neuroscience confirms that our eyes connect directly to our limbic system and brainstem. When our visual field is focused on an active brainspot –a visual place where we feel an emotional charge for no apparent reason– a memory capsule is activated and made available for processing. As the focus on an active brainspot is maintained, and bilateral stimulation is integrated, the inherent ability of our brain-body-mind connection to find adaptive resolutions to core painful memories is engaged. The deep healing of what once were overwhelming and unresolved life experiences begin. In so doing, we are returned to our true nature where our “always now” subcortical structures merges with “clock time”. Once our past is cleared of its pain, our “now” becomes safe again.

As your therapist, I am committed to creating a safe space from where we can process psychological and emotional material which holds you back from living your best life. At your own rhythm I support your processing so that your brain-body-mind can clear the painful memories that could not –to no fault of your own– be discharged when adverse experiences initially happened.

Brainspotting helps process and frees us from our painful past. It allows us to live more fulfilling lives, to be more present. Brainspotting can help with, but not limited to:Addictive and compulsive behaviors   

  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Depression and a sense of being stuck
  • Fear of intimacy and taking on challenges
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Trauma, PTSD and Complex PTSD
  • Sport performance enhancement
  • Taking your acting performance to the next level
  • Public speaking anxiety.

Brainspotting is a powerful modality we can use to help you live the life you are envisioning for yourself, the life you are met to live! 

The music track above is a relaxing bilateral “Oceanic Feelings” soundtrack. Meaning that the sound constantly moves back and forth from one ear to the other, assuming that you listen to it with headphones –which is a must for it to deliver what it is designed to do. Bilateral sound, or bilateral stimulation, sequentially engages one hemisphere of the brain at a time, and is an integral part of working with brainspotting and EMDR. This soundtrack should help you relax when stress or anxiety hijacks your peace of mind. PLEASE remember that you must listen to it with headphones in order for it to work. Sit down or lay down comfortably, close your eyes and give it a try for a minimum of 15-20 minutes at a time, or more if you can. Let your body and mind relax, and your peace of mind return! You can find more choices of bilateral relaxing music at:  bodhitreebilateral.com 

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