I first learned about this interested up-and-coming neuropsychotherapy called Brainspotting several years ago from a colleague.
It sounded very interesting. Something about finding spots right where something in a client’s brain lives or something like that.
I couldn’t help but associate images of neurosurgeons cauterizing the brains of patients.
I was sure it was helpful but there are many neurotherapies out there such as neurofeedback, biofeedback, EMDR among others. I wasn’t sure if this was in any way on my path.
Last year I learned a very powerful and helpful therapy technique called Eye Movement Integration from two sources. This is a cousin approach to the much more popular EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which is usually used for PTSD and stress experiences.
I love this EMI approach and I’m not sure if it’s in any way more or less effective than EMDR. But I have found it to complement my therapy practice greatly and help accelerate change for specific stress and trauma events in a client’s life.
Fast forwards to early Summer of this year and I hear of an up and coming “Phase I” Brainspotting training retreat near Washington D.C.
I compulsively signed up and paid.
I thought “well it grew out of EMDR and is up and coming and no one knows about Eye Movement Integration, it’ll probably just give me another tool that’s just as effective as EMI but probably no more so.”
I also must add that I still really didn’t know too much about it.
Fast forwards to the retreat, it completely blew me away!
I’m now hooked! I’m now on the path of learning Brainspotting as deeply as I can. While I also continue my deep dive into AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy).
This approach is odd, instead of eye movements, the therapist assists the client in finding exactly where in their visual field the experience or general something “lives.”
Not just a trauma or stress memory, but positive experiences and blocks to higher functioning can be worked with very precisely. It is also not invasive.
The therapist uses a pointer, not pointing at the client but an extending office pointer that moves up and down and left and right.
When the spot is found, the therapist invites the client to sense into their embodied experience and coaching scaling 0-10 with distress or positive states. Then to allow anything to arise at the spot: mental, emotional, somatic…
It’s also practiced with alternating sounds through headphones to help the brain hemisphere’s sync. This helps with relaxing, releasing and allowing more to come and process quicker.
We learned this as in any good psychotherapy training process with practicing it with each other. It was like going through 2.5 hours of intense psychotherapy in three days!
As well as learning from many very powerful demonstrations.
When I was in the client role, and focusing on real life issues and struggles, it took me until about the third session for specific psychological stuff to come up. But even the first time, there was a sense of something just at a very specific place or point.
When I held my gaze at the pointer, it was like a “tunnel” that was a sucked into. It felt very relaxing but strangely intensely present at the same time.
At the end of the last day I felt that I had gone through something very very intense and just like when I practice a deep technique or session or EMI session with a client, it would take me some time for my neurology to recalibrate itself.
But! I must add that the greatest part of this all and this approach wasn’t the power of this “finding the Brainspot.”
Not, it was that I learned how this approach isn’t a cold, clinical procedure. It’s highly collaborative and emphasizes deep attunement with the client. Exactly like with my AEDP approach, I am fully with the client (when on my A game in a session), attuned and present. Even when the client is gazing somewhere else.
I’ll end this by emphasizing that everything I practice is optional and offered rather than mandatory in any way. Some clients do not resonate and do not need a specific neurotherapy. And AEDP does work on these deep neurological levels as well.
Also, there is a strong tendency in the psychotherapy culture to become tribalistic.
I respect any therapist and approach that deeply and consistently helps and respects the magic that is already inside of the client’s mind and body.
I am ecstatic to continue my progression with Brainspotting and to offer it to my clients!