An empowering approach to therapy and healing.

You may be reading this title and thinking “what the heck is that?” Well, you weren’t alone! As a therapist, I had a similar reaction when I first heard about this. I will admit, I was skeptical and critical when I started to do research into it, thinking how in the world does this work or even help people. I sure ate my words after I did the training – HA!

Brainspotting is a mindfulness and attachment based therapy approach, which means it uses both the body and brain science combined with the relationship between client and therapist to create deeper understanding, processing, and meaning. I used to hear from long-term clients about their frustration with a variety of symptoms, especially after working so hard in talk-based therapies in the past. I realized the importance of approaching therapy from a whole-body perspective, and it has truly changed how I practice and support clients, along with positively impacting clients and their healing journeys.

Brainspotting works by using what David Grand calls “brainspots”, visual fields that are connected through your eyes to access your allocortex/midbrain. Through research by people who are much more talented and gifted than myself, we know that trauma and other difficult and persistent symptoms reside in this area. These persistent and difficult symptoms create capsules that are then mirrored in our visual field, and David Grand discovered how to access them and help people heal/process unresolved issues through them using gentle, supportive, and grounded activation.

As you may hear me say in therapy when I describe this approach, and what is often quoted about Brainspotting:

Where you look affects how you feel.

By accessing and processing through these “brainspots”, clients can release, reprocess, and regulate their nervous systems – how freakin’ cool is that! I am so often reminded as I grow as a therapist that our brains and bodies are marvelous, miraculous, and mysterious things. Our brains and bodies are literally the keys to healing, and through this approach, clients can access those strengths and abilities.

What does a Brainspotting session look like?

Before I describe what a Brainspotting session may look like, please know that these are general examples, and that each person’s experience in therapy and with Brainspotting may look different than what I may describe.

The aspects to Brainspotting that are most important are as follows:

  • Deep mindfulness. Many clients describe their session as a form of meditation or deep mindfulness. It requires us to be present with our own internal processes, and it requires an open awareness into that. Even if we may not fully understand the why behind what we may be processing, or how our body feels, it’s trusting in our brains and bodies that they know exactly what to do to help us heal.
  • Biolateral music. During your session, you may choose to use biolateral music. This was also created by David Grand, and it can be a helpful strategy in supporting you in practicing the deep mindfulness.
  • Dual attunement. This is the other very important part about Brainspotting – the connection and relationship between you and your therapist. When you are doing this deep mindfulness work, there is a level of trust and connection that is used, and the safety and comfortability that you feel within the therapy space aids in that process.
  • Activation spots. This is where the work truly happens. With your therapist’s support and encouragement, you will locate your activation spots, and within those, that is where you will practice your deep mindfulness. The activation spots are located in your visual field, using either a pointer, your therapist’s hand, or you may even discover your spot on your own as your therapist guides you.
  • Body awareness. Lastly, it is important to note that this is a body-brain based therapy. This means that you will be asked to pay attention to both your mind/thoughts and your body during your session. It’s okay for your first session to feel odd, as most of us don’t always pay attention to our bodies throughout the day, but your therapist will guide you through it, and it will become easier over time.

What can Brainspotting help me with?

This is the absolute wonder that is Brainspotting – it can help support you with so many things! If you are activated by something, it is strongly likely that you have a brainspot with that, and with a brainspot means we can do Brainspotting. Most often, Brainspotting can be helpful with trauma, pain, stress, performance, grief/loss, and anxiety/depression. It can also be helpful when it comes to relearning how to regulate your nervous system. Brain-body therapies can really enhance the healing experience, and we all heal and grow in different ways. If you are curious about Brainspotting, please mention this to your therapist, or seek out a therapist trained in Brainspotting to learn more!

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Journey Through is a mental health counseling and personal wellness clinic supporting teens, adults, and families in the Foley, Minnesota community.

(320) 200-4151

(218) 264-8254

400 Broadway Avenue N
Foley, Minnesota 56329