My preferred way of working with trauma is Somatic Trauma therapy (Peter Levine) and Brainspotting (David Grand).
Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment.
"Brainspotting is based on the profound attunement of the therapist with the patient, finding a somatic cue and extinguishing it by down-regulating the amygdala. It isn't just PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) activation that is facilitated, it is homeostasis."
Robert Scaer, M.D., The Trauma Spectrum
Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological and psychological tool that supports the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage the client in a safe and trusting relationship where she/he feels heard, accepted, and understood.
Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences. A "Brainspot" is the eye position which is related to the energetic/emotional activation of a traumatic or emotionally charged issue within the brain. Located by eye position, paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form.
Brainspotting stimulates and promotes deep processing, integrating, and healing activity within the brain. This appears to take place within the brain's emotional centers at a reflexive and cellular level. Brainspotting typically results in a de-conditioning of previously conditioned, maladaptive emotional, psychological, and somatic responses and patterns.
Brainspotting appears to stimulate, focus, and activate the body's inherent capacity to heal itself from trauma.
It is theorized that Brainspotting taps into and activates the body's innate ability to process and release "traumatic capsules" which are frozen in primitive survival modes. This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and sometimes eliminate the pain, struggle, and tension associated with physical/medical conditions. Brainspotting processes and dismantles the symptom, the underlying trauma, the somatic distress, and the dysfunctional beliefs at the reflexive core.
Brainspotting is also very useful to access and develop internal resource states and experiences. These resources allow the therapist and patient, where necessary, to "pendulate" between resource or positive states and trauma states during Brainspotting to enable more gradual, graded processing and desensitization of intensely traumatic and emotionally charged issues and symptoms.
Brainspotting is a "body to body" approach. The distress is activated and located in the body which then leads to the locating of the Brainspot based on eye position. Everything is aimed at activating, locating, and processing the Brainspot.
Brainspotting is most powerful and effective when done with the enhancement of BioLateral Sound CDs. Biolateral sound enhances the brain's processing abilities by alternately stimulating each cerebral hemisphere. (Text by Lisa Schwarz)
Brainspotting provides a neurobiological tool for accessing, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of somatic and emotionally-based conditions. It can be an effective and efficient treatment tool for:
- Physical and emotional trauma
- Recovery from injury and accident trauma
- Trauma resulting from medical interventions, treatment and surgery
- Stress and trauma-related medical illness
- Performance issues, including sexual dysfunction
- Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions
- Trauma resulting from war and natural disasters
- Anger and rage problems
- Anxiety and panic
David Grand, Ph.D. is the developer and trainer of Brainspotting. For more information on Dr. Grand and Brainspotting visit his website