Brainspotting / EMDR
“Long after the actual event has passed, the brain may keep sending signals to the body to escape a threat that no longer exists.”
– Bessel A. van der Kolk
The mental health field continues to evolve. An exciting and powerful aspect of this evolution is the attention to the mind/ body or somatic connection and greater understanding of the different parts of the brain and its impact on mental health. Brain based therapies can help clients experience unique breakthroughs. Two of these modalities or “power therapies” are Brainspotting and EMDR. Through these modalities, there is greater access to memories, thought patterns and mental blocks. Both Brainspotting and EMDR can offer a deeper level of healing in the therapeutic process.
Brainspotting can be effective for treating the following issues:
Self Doubt and Negative Self Beliefs
Physical, Psychological, and/or Sexual Abuse
Grief / Loss
EMDR can be effective for treating the following issues:
What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting was developed by Dr. David Grand in 2003. Brainspotting is based on the idea that what’s on the inside of our brain is directly related to where we focus our eyes. Dr Grand states “ where you look affects how you feel”
Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing traumatic memories as well as help reduce or alleviate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, addiction and physical pain.
How Does Brainspotting Work?
By identifying a brainspot, you target an area of focused activation in your brain, directly related to the issue you are working on. While you focus on that brainspot and notice your bodily sensations, you are able to process negative emotions to help rewire your brain to more positive associations and feelings. This processing may be done using headphones and listening to music that rhythmically goes back and forth from left to right side. Engaging both hemispheres of your brain with this music, called auditory bilateral stimulation, can have a very calming effect on your nervous system. Brainspotting attempts to reprocess negative emotions by focusing on your body-based sensations rather than your thoughts. It’s sort of like guided mindfulness in a supportive environment.
What is EMDR therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. EMDR uses eye movements and other types of stimulation to help the mind integrate past events and negative thought patterns into a more positive thought network.
How does EMDR therapy affect the brain?
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. While many times traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, they may not be processed without help.
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. Through EMDR , the experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.