Brainspotting is a recent development of EMDR discovered by Dr. David Grand, renowned EMDR specialist and trainer. A number of years ago, Dr. Grand noticed that when an eye position was held in place, the client was able to deeply and comfortably, process painful emotional and traumatic material.
This process is similar to EMDR processing, using bilateral stimulation, but much less eye movement. Eye position provides direct access to the limbic system within the body’s central nervous system where traumatic and emotional memory are stored. The containment of the held eye position allows for safety and ease with processing difficult material. Because this process works in the reflexive areas of the brain, holding the eye position seems to serve to de-condition previously conditioned, maladaptive emotional and physiological responses.
Brainspots are discovered together as client and therapist observe the effects of eye position as the eyes move across a visual grid. Once a reaction, or reflexive movement is discovered, that spot is held, with the help of a pointer, to access and process the information stored there. Client and therapist work together in processing. Bilateralmusic or sound recordings may be used in conjunction with Brainspotting to enhance the processing. Brainspots are also helpful in accessing and developing internal resource states which are often used in conjunction with the processing of traumatic wounds. Developing resource states is an emotional and physiological process that can become a permanent part of a person’s sense of self.
Brainspotting can be used to process and integrate many different issues and experiences, including trauma. Often, stubborn emotional and physiological issues have roots in one or a number of traumatic events. Unprocessed and unintegrated physical and emotional trauma stays in the body as chronic tension, hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, mood disorders, phobias and general anxiety.
Dr. David Grand and colleagues worked with many of the Sandy Hook community in the wake of the tragic school shooting. The members of the community gathered data from the more than 8 therapeutic modalities that were used to treat them. In their report, they discovered Brainspotting was the most effective treatment modality.