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Brainspotting releases traumatic memories in a non-invasive and healing way. How?

Our modern way of life has taught us to be rational human beings and make decisions in our daily life. We are guided by our rational brain and to ignore some of the sensations/feelings within our bodies. We seem to live in a ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ culture. Our brain stores our memories not just as cerebral thought patterns but also as bodily sensations.

Can you think of an animal or creature that makes you scared? Where do you feel ‘being scared’? I know I’m scared of those coiled, diamond patterned, camouflaged European vipers (adders). When I think about the fact they are venomous and could strike at my legs when I’m out walking, I feel butterflies flying around my abdomen! This is my adrenalin cycle beginning to defend me. We can get physical symptoms whenever we think about memories. Van de Kolk states that humans process this type of information not from the brain down but through a body-based process.

Brainspotting is a new therapy that was developed by Dr David Grand when he was an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) practitioner and trainer. He noticed that when we access a memory, we look at a spot in our surroundings. He felt that although EMDR was very effective to release trauma there were some individuals who were not able to heal using this method of therapy.

Brainspotting works in two ways. It works through the healing relationship between the therapist and client. It also is essential that during Brainspotting therapy my clients feel that I am supporting them, whilst the body and brain communicate with each other. Brainspotting therapy can be a silent or verbal process. Dr Grand states that Brainspotting is led by ‘The Uncertainty Principle’. In Brainspotting this means that the client’s brain can efficiently observe and monitor many internal and external factors unconsciously. As the therapist, I must follow my client’s processing and I am ‘uncertain what is happening’ within my client, unless my client decides to share their processing with me.

How do we do it? Brainspotting uses an eye position, or brain spot, to access memories or thoughts, such as traumatic and/or emotionally upsetting events, as well as the corresponding feelings within the client’s body.

Brainspotting is a therapy that gently processes traumatic or difficult memories. It can also support clients to view addictive behaviour in a different way. Brainspotting can be integrated with other therapies, including person-centred therapy.

I am a fully trained Brainspotting therapist and have used it to help to manage anxiety, trauma, sports injuries and addictive behaviour.