Brain-spotting

Today was the last day of my sessions with a brain-spotting therapist, and I thought I might discuss my experience with the practice.

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, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.

https://brainspotting.com/about-bsp/what-is-brainspotting/

In my experience, this involved discussing emotional or intellectual trouble and then ‘hacking’ my brain through finding points in my visual field that elicit a stronger or different emotional reaction. Before brainspotting, I never realized it, but simply moving your eyes around can change how you feel–and that is what my brainspotting therapist made use of, along with biolateral music.

We would start with talking and bringing upsomething, usually something causing me pain, and find a promising spot in the visual field and stay staring there for some time, just letting the emotional response sit there. Occasionally we would check in on how I was doing and talk about what was going through my head. Sometimes we would slowly move around the visual field, which could produce pretty dramatic emotional roller coasters.

For me, being a devout Catholic with a Catholic counselor, it was always as much about finding emotional places and finding ways to bring God into them. Each session was more like an outside-directed meditation, with audiovisual brain hacking to aid it, than a traditional therapy appointment. It wasn’t about vomiting my feelings all over the therapist, as in more traditional talk therapy (a type of therapy I am not particularly well suited to.) Nor was it about talking over problems to re-contextualize them, though we did some of that as well.

To put it analogous to treating a wound, it was less like opening up an infection, and more like stitching up the broken skin. Lancing a wound (traditional talk therapy) is necessary, but leaves the body open to further injury and attack from outside pathogens. Brainspotting was more about letting the mind heal itself, letting internal processes take their course.

With a good therapist (hard to find, but worth it), I used to really enjoy talk therapy because there was a sense of getting the illness out, but during day-to-day life afterward I felt like I was continually bleeding out. There was satisfaction, but without a sense of healing.

With brainspotting it was the opposite, at least during the most productive part of my time with my brainspotting therapist–I did not enjoy each session, because it meant sitting for an hour or longer in continual internal turmoil as I explored each wound internally. The little check-ins we did along the way were like breaths of fresh air, because I could let a little of what hurt the most, but each time I was directed back inward. But in spite of not enjoying the process, I could tell it was working–little by little I been healing.

I am by no means all healed (I doubt that is possible for any of us in this vale of tears), and if my family had infinite resources or I had more time I would continue going. But between the progress I have made with brainspotting and my recent spiritual gains, I am far more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been before.

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