Our eyes meet out outside world and also reach back to our brains. Brainspotting uses this connection. Brainspotting was discovered in 2003 by David Grand when he helped a 16 year old figure skater master the triple jump. This was done by tracking her visual field and holding a gaze spot where her eyes spontaneously reflexed. Holding this spot brought new material and resolved the issues that previous long term therapy before had not been able to do. The next day and for every time after the figure skater preformed a flawless triple loop. This began David Grand's development of BSP or Brainspotting - noticing that any eye reflex showed the presence of a brainspot.
Brainspotting helps locate relevant eye positions in the visual field and the accompanying facial expressions or reflexes indicate brainspots. David Grand teaches that the client is like the head of the comet and an attuned therapist like the tail - who follows the comet.
Brainspotting uses dual attunement, which means when you are attending to two things at the same time – this way the brain is more open to change - to developing new neural pathways when faced with the same experiences. This allows processing and change, integration or learning to happen. Brainspotting is a parts approach, the brain will try to maintain homeostasis in the body.
Brainspotting is a “brain – body based” relational therapy which seems to access the right brain limbic system and brainstem (subcortical brain).
Trauma symptoms are held in both body and brain. It seems to promote coherence between the sympathetic and parasympathetic activation.
Trauma overwhelms the brains processing, leaving pieces of unprocessed experiences frozen in space and time, held in capsule form in the brain. (See trauma section). The brainspot is seen as an eye position that correlates with the physiological capsule that holds traumatic experience in memory form. Brainspotting means to observe with curiosity and give the self, time and space to see what happens. This appears to neutralise or resolve the trauma “hotspot”.
Brainspotting is integrative and creative - it can identify activation (distress) or resource (calm) spots. The level of activation pairs with the location in the body of the issue. It is a body and brain focussed therapy.
Once the issue is identified and the level of activation measures in Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs) then I ask you to identify the location of activation in your body and we track the highest activation trajectory by using X axis, Y axis or Z axis to pinpoint the brainspot to use. Next we use focused mindfulness to help process. Things will come and go – thoughts, feelings, and sensations, images, memories. It’s hard to but important to try to let whatever happens and trust our deep brain to know how to heal.
With Brainspotting you will choose the issue and we measure subjective unit of distress 0-10 to identify the location in the body and the eye position and then observe the internal processes in the body in a focussed, mindful way. Brainspotting invites you to observe your inner process without judgement whoever it leads you. Like EMDR things will change. Clients report that activation eases and their body calms through the process. The client leads and the therapist follows. Listening to bilateral music also helps processing. As your therapist I endeavour to “hold the frame” within which Brainspotting can happen and then I remain attuned to you – noticing reflexes or changes, saying with the tail of the comet.
Source Brainspotting David Grand 2013.
David Grand has a useful short video - https://brainspotting.com/about-bsp/what-is-brainspotting/