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(A Neurobiological, Short-Term Therapy )


Brainspotting to Heal Trauma

Brainspotting is a new and effective neurobiological, short-term therapy that was discovered in 2003 by Dr David Grand. He noticed specific eye movements in a young woman who was an ice skater. Dr Grand asked the ice skater to focus her eyes on a specific spot and while she kept it there she was able to process unresolved trauma. She processed trauma that kept her from performing a specific jump on the ice. After the session she never had problems with this particular jump again.

According to Dr David Grand Brainspotting is a physiological treatment that gives direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the deep brain and body. During trauma some of the information we experience is stored in a maladaptive form within the brain. During Brainspotting the client’s body has the amazing ability to scan, process, and release this maladaptive information that causes distress in his or her daily life. During this neurobiological process the brain and the body is involved and it is often seen that the process reduce body pain and tension.

According to Dr David Grand: “There is growing recognition within the healing professions that experiences of physical and/or emotional injury, acute and chronic pain, serious physical illness, dealing with difficult medical interventions, societal turmoil, environmental disaster, as well as many other problematic life events, will contribute to the development of a substantial reservoir of life trauma. That trauma is held in the body.”

To read more about Dr David Grand’s explanation of Brainspotting, go to

What Makes Brainspotting Special?

Brainspotting is recognized as an effective treatment for minor and major trauma. It also is effective in treating many other disorders and problems. Brainspotting tend to give relatively quick results that last. It is therefore also more cost effective.

THE BIGGEST BENEFIT of using Brainspotting is that the trauma victim does not have to tell the therapist all the details of what happened during the traumatic event. Many people don’t want to tell about all the gory details because they feel it re-traumatizes them. Others feel they already told the story so many times to other therapists and did not get lasting results. Brainspotting helps the client to work through those kinds of trauma that you cannot put words to.

Benefits of Brainspotting

The following tend to happen for most clients and are some of the potential benefits:

  • Clients describe it as “Stress-detox” therapy and feel it enhances their coping skills and ability to handle stress.
  • Clients tend to experiences much more resilience, joy, and inner peace once the trauma is resolved.
  • Negative and irrational beliefs caused by trauma change.
  • Anxiety is relieved.
  • Improvement in sleep.
  • Concentration is enhanced and clients tend to focus more and seem to be less impulsive.
  • Somatic symptoms decrease.
  • Creativity increases.
  • Improvement in energy levels.

What Conditions, Disorders, and Problems can Benefit from Brainspotting?

  • PTSD
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical trauma
  • Emotional trauma
  • An accident or injury
  • Man-made or natural disasters
  • Medical treatments or interventions
  • Procrastination associated with trauma
  • Concentration difficulty associated with trauma
  • Recurring memories about the trauma (flashbacks)
  • Stress
  • ADHD, ADD, and Impulse control
  • Emotional difficulties associated with dyslexia (learning problems)
  • Anger management
  • Panic attacks, Phobias, Anxiety, Compulsive behaviours
  • Performance anxiety
  • Athletic or academic performance
  • Performance in music, writing, acting
  • Public speaking skills improvement
  • Emotional blocks
  • Low motivation
  • Grief and loss
  • Relationship problems
  • Negative self-esteem
  • Chronic pain that is not the direct result of physical injury
  • Headaches
  • Coping with a serious illness or health issue
  • Depression
  • Many other non-clinical problems

Brainspotting can be used to relieve distress. It can also be used to help you find and use your strengths or resources to help you perform better.

Is Brainspotting the Same as EMDR

No, Brainspotting is not EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Here are the differences:

  • The risk of overstimulation during a session is reduced in Brainspotting because of the manner in which information is assessed and processed.
  • Brainspotting only uses bilateral sound while EMDR make use of back and forth eye movements, touch, sound, or tapping.
  • In Brainspotting the client keep his or her eyes focussed on one specific point while EMDR make use of rapid left to right eye movements.
  • Brainspotting is a more flexible technique while EMDR make use of very specific treatment protocols.
  • In Brainspotting the client does not have to talk and share so much with the therapist while in EMDR the client need to talk at intervals with the therapist.

Why the Name “Brainspotting”?

When trauma is experienced the brain holds the traumatic memory in a specific area in the brain. The client’s eye positions correlates with this area or “spot” in the brain, called a “brainspot”. Unresolved trauma get stuck in these different brainspots. These brainspots is source of negative emotions that may give you a hard time in your everyday life. Hence the name “Brainspotting.”

How is a Brainspot Allocated?

When you share a little of what happened during the traumatic event, your distress levels tend to increase. When this happens the therapist will notice certain reflex responses in your eyes and your body which will indicate a specific brainspot has been found. These reflexes can be something like a yawn, or increased breathing, a subtle twitch and so forth.

When a brainspot is found you will tend to focus your eyes spontaneously in a specific point. To help you hold your gaze at this point, the therapist use a pointer for you to look at. It makes it easier to keep your eyes focussed on that spot. You will at the same time be listening to bilateral sounds (music that alternate between your left and right ear.) You will also be focussing on the specific experience that causes emotional distress in your life.

Brainspotting Does not Make Use of Verbal Language

Brainspotting uses a neurobiological process to help the client locate, focus, process and release traumatic experiences. Many times what we experienced during a traumatic event is hidden deep in the subconscious mind. According to Dr Grand these: “experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacityBrainspotting dismantles the trauma, symptom, somatic distress and dysfunctional beliefs at the reflexive core.” ( It is a known fact that about 90% of your day is ruled by the subconscious mind. Brainspotting can help you work through all the information that tends to hold you back in life.

Thus, Brainspotting access areas in the brain that does not make use of language. This is a therapy process where talking is limited. The therapist works hard to establish a nurturing and supportive presence (attunement) with you as the client. Your brain has the amazing potential to take you and the therapist on a journey where the trauma that has been trapped in your brain will be released and gradually bring about a deep sense of relief. Brainspotting not only heals the cognitive beliefs you had about the trauma, but brings about healing within your unconscious.

What if I get Overwhelmed During The Process?

The therapist can make things easier by helping you to find a “resource brainspot”. This means there is another place to focus your eyes that will decrease the feelings of distress when you focus on that point. This may ease the intensity of distress while you process the trauma. You are all the time in control and the way the therapist is actively present also have a calming effect.

Why Use Bilateral Sounds?

During a Brainspotting session the left and right brain hemisphere is stimulated by using special sound recordings that contain music, nature sounds, or tones. It means that each ear is simultaneously hearing different sounds, almost like when you are listening to stereo music.

The use of bilateral sounds engages your parasympathic nervous system and it also calms you down by calming your sympathic nervous system. This enables you to process painful memories without feeling highly aroused. At the same time you don’t have to talk in detail about what happened during the traumatic event. It makes processing trauma much easier.

What Will You Need to do While in a Brainspotting Session?

  • You decide what problem you want to work on.
  • You identify the emotion the experiences causes you to feel, like anger, fear, or loneliness.
  • You concentrate on where in your body that emotions seems most noticeable, like in your head, your chest, or your back.
  • You identify on a scale of 0 to 10 how intense the emotion is.
  • Then the therapist helps you to find the brainspot which is the eye position that seems to connect to the problem you work on.
  • Then you focus on that spot and let your thoughts and body sensations start to flow. Your brain and body will take you on a journey towards healing the trauma.

What Dos Brainspotting Require of Me as a Client?

You need to be willing to want to be healed. You need to trust your brain and body’s potential to work towards healing. You need to be patient with yourself and trust the process, especially if it is trauma that happened over a number of years.

Brain spotting is a technique that either works or it does no harm.” Dr David Grand


Videos about brainspotting you can have a look at:

What is a Brainspot:

Who does Brainspotting work with:

As a client why choose Brainspotting:

As a therapist, why train in Brainspotting:

What is the future of Brainspotting:

Other Resources used:

Why bilateral stimulation is needed: