I practice Brainspotting and Eye Movement Integration, which are two powerful “neuro-therapy” practices.
Brainpspotting is a powerful and precise means of change where the therapist works with a client to find a spot to gaze at. This accesses deep places in the brain where the roots of most psychological and emotional struggles are.
In doing so, the place where the client gazes (called a Brainspot or Gazespot) integrates with the rest of the brain and nervous system over the next weeks.
This approach also uses healing sounds called Biolateral or Alternating sounds that the client listens to throughout the process. This helps to sync the left and right sides of the brain and accelerate integration and insight. It also is known to greatly help with anxiety.
It is not what it sounds like. It’s a profoundly humanistic and non-invasive approach to deep brain change.
The therapist remains attuned and emotionally present with the client as they are carefully guided on this inner journey to the root of an issue or positive experience.
Brainspotting is helpful for:
Emotional Struggles and conflicts
Anxiety, Fears and Phobias
Anchoring positive states, emotions and resources
Performance at work or in high performance careers
Self-Exploration in general
And much more…
What to expect from a Brainspotting Session:
Just like a regular therapy session, we begin with a focus on a goal or problem or conflict. Or if we are planning on working with the more positive “resourcing” or “expansion” focus we focus on a positive memory, emotion, sensation of safety in the body or something similar.
As we talk about it, I will begin to instruct the client to focus on the inner experience of this goal or focus. The thoughts, images, body sensations, emotions and so on.
I ask about a 0-10 scale of activation. How in touch the client is with the target goal or memory. This may not happen every session but it is a helpful way for me to gauge how in touch a client is and to avoid overwhelm for difficult experiences.
I will next offer the client to listen to music or sounds through my headphones or headphones that they bring themselves. This music/sounds move from right to left or back and forth gently in each earphone. The point of these sounds is to sync the brain’s hemispheres. This leads to a relaxation response and deepens neuro-integration.
Most of us get stuck in either our left hemisphere (logical, controlled, conscious) or right hemisphere (emotional, embodied, reactive, non-conscious-non-verbal) in therapy and these tones help everything to move smoother and deeper.
At this point I usually offer to bring out the office pointers that us Brainspotters use. We work together to find a specific gaze point where the client feels that the issue or positive focus exists.
Either I see the client’s subtle reactions or they feel it themselves. Sometimes I point out where their eyes look and offer to find a “Brainspot” in that area.
After this co-exploration, I instruct the client to simply gaze at the spot we found and to allow anything to come. As our conscious minds have a difficulty with control and knowing how to allow the healing unexpected to arise naturally.
***Throughout this process I remain deeply “with” or attuned to the client. This is still a deeply human and relational therapy. This isn’t psychological surgery!***
From there on I may reassess the 0-10 score and I become more silent but still instruct and coach as needed and assess for any signs of overwhelm.
If overwhelm of which I call “flooding” happens, I offer further techniques to “regulate” and “ground” to re-establish safety. Some brainspots take time and multiple sessions to fully process. Some process within minutes.
After I tell the client that the time in nearing finished, I instruct them to come back to themselves and to me, as Brainspotting can bring a person into a deeply altered state. This is a side effect of the brain scanning itself internally and it’s safe and natural to occur.
Finally, as time allows, we reflect on the experience together and somatically. After a session is really the most important part as the more conscious brain has a way of putting it all together.
A client may have insights or new motivations arise. New beliefs may happen. In some sessions it’s all physical and emotional and it can take some time for it all to reveal what I call “the fruits” of the session. This processing can come through dreams, insights, memories, new emotions or more subtle ways of responding to life and others.
For Brainspotting and EMI below, it can take weeks to sometimes a month for the full “fruits” of the session to happen fully as it’s unpredictable what happens after a deep session.
Eye Movement Integration is the second eye movement/gazing based neurotherapy approach that I offer to my clients.
Eye Movement Integration is known as a cousin approach to the popular EMDR Therapy. There is also what is called “Natural Flow EMDR” created by Dr. David Grand of whom invented Brainspotting, which is very similar to EMI.
EMI uses the same principle that the eyes both in gazing and moving, bypass the conscious brain to access deeper parts of the brain and body to reprocess trauma and other distressing events. (Also to open oneself up to greater human potential).
It uses slow and soothing eye movements by the therapist while the client is in touch with a distressing emotion, body sensation, memory, or positive self-state.
What happens is that when these movements are used when in touch with an important event or emotion, different parts of the brain or self begin to integrate into the problem area and it changes over time.
New memories may arise. New insights, thoughts, emotions, sensations and motivations may come up. As well as anxiety and the fight-flight-freeze responses of the “trauma brain” may shift and lessen powerfully.
As a therapist, I offer both approaches as different clients may resonate with one more than the other. Some clients may resonate with both at different times in their work with me.
Also as a clinician, I experience these two neurotherapy approaches as deeply powerful and a testament to how powerful a human being’s drive to change can be when the top down control and avoidance structures of the brain-self are out of the way.
A client can request one or both of these approaches any time. Some may receive the same benefit from my experiential-dynamic approach and not use these approaches with me at all.
I keep my work very open ended and tailored to the needs and interests of the particular client.
Please click on the links above for more about these approaches.