BRAINSPOTTING®; Using your brain to heal your pain

Brainspotting® is a non-invasive therapeutic technique that has the potential to produce profound psychological, emotional, and physical results. It is a unique process that uses the brains own ability to stimulate, focus, and activate the body’s natural ability to emotionally heal itself.

Brainspotting® (BSP) which was discovered and developed by Dr. David Grand in 2003 is an innovative, cutting-edge technique that allows people to access, process, and overcome negative emotions, pain and trauma, including psychologically-induced physical pain. It is also a useful tool that can enhance creativity, improve sports and performance outcomes by shifting negative thinking patterns that result in blocks, performance anxiety, procrastination and self-defeating behaviours.

Have you experienced any of the following?

Trauma results when we find ourselves in situations that challenge our ability to have control over our circumstances or our lives. This includes experiences in childhood or through out our lives of;

  1. physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse,

  2. physical or emotional neglect, or

  3. parental separation/divorce

Or growing up with a parent who;

  1. suffered from mental illness

  2. was substance dependent

  3. had been incarcerated, or

  4. was a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence

Additionally trauma also occurs as a result of;

  1. physical injury

  2. traumatic breakups

  3. death of loved ones

  4. unforeseen redundancy

  5. bulling, or

  6. overwhelming and unexpected financial losses

According to an American study conducted from 1995 to 1997 called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE study) 67% of the American population have experienced at lease one of the above events and it is reasonable to assume these statistics are likewise reflected in Australian culture. Frighteningly they discovered that a person’s cumulative ACEs score has a strong, graded relationship to numerous health, social, and behavioral problems throughout the lifespan including increasing the likelihood of heart disease, cancer, substance dependence and suicide.

So how do negative experiences or trauma affect us?

When a person experiences trauma, the brain becomes overwhelmed and the normal functioning thinking brain is temporarily disrupted as instinct kicks in. In our primitive state this was useful helping us to fight, flee or play dead in the face of threat (this is known as the flight, fight or freeze response). However in our modern lives trauma impacts us very differently, it is often less overt and it is usually persistent, repetitive and invasive.  Regardless, ANY kind of trauma inhibits the usual processing of events by the brain, causing memory to be incomplete with distortions occurring and people will most likely experience some symptoms of emotional distress, hyper-reactivity, hyper-vigilance, anxiety and sometimes physical body-based symptoms.

How does the brain manage trauma?

Humans have a triune brain that has evolved as over time including;   

  1. the reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm

  2. the mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards