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What is Brainspotting? Definition, Benefits and Disadvantages

Brainspotting works as a quick and effective therapeutic approach that complements treatment with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). The technique is used to deal with emotional trauma.

According to the Journal of Psychotraumatology, Psychotherapy Sciences, and Psychological Medicine, this option is effective for traumatic events or post-traumatic stress disorder. But that’s not the only area for Brainspotting. At the same time that patients control the intensity of their emotions, it is possible for them to solve certain health problems.

Why do we block negative emotions?

The accumulation of stressful experiences can turn into trauma.  When you go through difficult situations without guidance to deal with them, the brain blocks them out to protect itself and you.

But the events are recorded. Although they appear to be isolated, there is a risk of activating them and damaging the physical and emotional balance.

The reactions range from sadness to anxiety and anger, and they vary in intensity.  If you do not process the painful experience correctly when you remember it, excessive physiological arousal occurs and worsens the reaction.

What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting (BSP) is a useful method in psychology for confronting deep-seated disorders and reforming them. The therapy helps to heal emotional damage resulting from a disturbing event.

Psychotherapist David Grand has described the technique. During one treatment, the expert noted that by reducing eye movements, the client processed the trauma with greater tolerance.

He claims that humans exhibit unusual reflexes when their eyes are in certain positions. This is how the specialist worked with the connection between current emotional and physical reactions and previous impressions.

In the process, the cerebral point is identified which makes it easier to release blocked emotions. The Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology explains that  the BSP approach provides access to innate capacities for self-observation and self-healing in a neurobiologically attuned clinical relationship.

As proof of its effectiveness, a study reviewed by the same journal emphasizes that brainspotting significantly reduced memory-related distress in the sample used for such exploration.

Health Benefits of Brainspotting

A study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which included BSP among several therapeutic techniques, claims that it has  beneficial effects on the processing of overwhelming memories in healthy adults.

When an emotion is expressed disproportionately, it is due to the activation of something old stored in a neural capsule. Therefore, BSP is used to attack physical disorders and somatization associated with certain events, such as those mentioned below:

In addition to dealing with negative contexts, brainspotting promotes the development of inner resources and the strengthening of positive experiences.  The method helps promote mood and readiness in patients planning surgical procedures.

BSP is also a beneficial therapy that stimulates creativity. Another area that appeals to this method is sports to improve the performance of athletes.

How to use the brainspotting technique?

The psychotherapist’s procedure is based on finding a precise position for the eye and connecting it to the neural circuit that stores information about life.  While the patient moves his eyes, the psychologist traces the point and inquiries about the feelings.

You may see anxiety, worry, increased blinking or body movements. When the therapist finds the brain point, work with the emotions begins.

You will always look in the same direction so that the brain can retrieve the memories. Strong psychological and physiological reactions are likely to occur, but you should not lose focus.

The expert seeks emotional healing and guides you to practice self-healing skills, process the original trauma and release the burden.


Originally, therapies only included adult survivors of trauma. Now there are psychotherapists who treat children and other population groups. However, some recommend focusing on individual patients because of the delicate handling of emotional currents.

As a contraindication, it can be mentioned that participation in sessions under the influence of alcohol or psychotropic substances hinders the observation process and leads to ineffective results.

Duration of the treatments and results

From the first time, you will notice that tension and anxiety are reduced. Likewise, the fear of unpleasant memories is reduced. You will find that something has changed in you during the consultation and in the following days.

The number of BSP sessions is determined by the degree of complication in the patient’s history, apart from its severity. What the meetings guarantee is that after each meeting you will free yourself from burdens and gain self-knowledge.

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