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A counselor with pale skin and his index finger pointed up moves through his patients field of vision with his finger.

The term “brainspotting” may seem foreign to you. However, it is merely a therapeutic practice that has been gaining popularity as a treatment for addiction. Brainspotting can unlock unprocessed traumas allowing you to achieve a more in-depth insight into your psyche. 

Using cutting-edge psychological techniques and neuroscience, the Begin Again Institute has incorporated brainspotting as a critical tactic for helping those recovering from sex or porn addiction.

Brainspotting

Brainspotting (BSP) is a version of talk therapy. Through subconscious eye/facial movements, you can uncover and begin to process traumas and traumatic experiences. Certified BSP specialists can monitor and help you work through your stored trauma to get results. 

What is Brainspotting? 

You may feel stuck or that you’ve plateaued during traditional forms of therapy. This feeling is exceedingly common. BSP can help you move past that feeling.

Your BSP practitioner can help pinpoint areas in your brain where trauma is stored to unlock the gates of your mind. 

Brainspotting is unique in that you can use it in conjunction with almost any other foundational form of therapy. It can complement the relationship you have already built with your care team to produce lasting results. 

The Development of Brainspotting

Psychotherapist Dr. David Grand initially discovered brainspotting in 2003.

While working with a client using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dr. Grand noticed that something in his client’s eyes.

While processing trauma, the eyes either:

  • Traveled to the same spot 
  • Became fixated
  • Avoided looking at other areas entirely

Deciding to work with this, Grand realized that “where you look affects how you feel.”

Brainspotting, EMDR, and Somatic Experiences

You may be wondering how BSP is different from EMDR or other somatic practices. 

BSP connects the brain to the body through a fixed eye position and can release multiple traumas in as little as one session. By reconnecting the mind, the trauma, and the body, you can remove triggers and cues. It also does not require specific and detailed memories. For many, detailed memories can be difficult to recall for several reasons. 

EMDR relies on reexperiencing a singular traumatic event by replaying it over and over again. For this, you must have a clear and detailed memory of the event, which isn’t always something that someone in recovery has. 

Other forms of somatic therapy rely on focusing on specific feelings or areas within the body and relaxing sensations that you feel there. 

How Does Brainspotting Work? 

Foundational to this technique is the understanding that trauma is stored in the body. There are specific triggers that can allow you to process your past experiences more profoundly. 

A certified BSP practitioner will have established a strong and trusting relationship with you. This will enable you to feel safe during emotional processing and BSP practices. 

The practitioner will invite you first to experience your somatic, or bodily, sensations and try to pinpoint where they are and have you describe them. 

Moving a pointer or their finger across your field of vision, they’ll look for minute movements of your eyes or facial features. These movements can indicate a place where trauma is stored. The area where you twitch or move your eyes is what is called a “brain spot.” You won’t have just one brain spot, but many. 

Your practitioner will focus on these areas. You will need to bring mindful attention to the brain spots. Concentrating your attention on that one area can lead to a deep release. This concentration and processing can open a mental gateway where your trauma was previously stored.

What Brainspotting Does 

By holding this fixated and mindful eye position, you will finally allow your brain to stop scanning your immediate area of threats. You do this subconsciously as a way to protect yourself from harm. 

Removing the focus on external threats allows your brain to begin to scan internally and maintain its focus on an unresolved issue. You can release the stored traumatic energy, allowing you to process and heal.

Skills Learned 

Your experiences become stored in your mind and body. It is your mind’s way of coping with devastating circumstances. This causes your mind to become disconnected from your body. As a means of self-soothing, you then seek out other ways to maintain your equilibrium. 

During BSP treatment, you will learn how to become resourceful and self-regulate your actions and processes. Developing awareness around our self-sabotaging behaviors allows us to notice, feel, and work through our system’s imbalances.

Reconnecting with yourself, feeling safe and comfortable will allow you the time and energy to heal through self-trust. You will develop a healthier relationship with yourself and allow you the empathy and self-compassion to heal. 

 

An abstract brain design floats above an outstretched hand.

A brainspotting practitioner can help pinpoint areas in your brain where trauma is stored to unlock the gates of your mind.

Brainspotting: What to Know Before Starting 

BSP creates the space for you to process unresolved feelings and traumas that you may have been unaware of in your day-to-day life. While this can help you break through addiction cycles and forgive yourself, you and your practitioner should decide and clarify what to prioritize before you begin your sessions. 

You may have some repressed feelings and emotional scars that may come out during your treatment. Being mentally prepared before starting will be very helpful during your therapy.

Painful Revelations 

Brainspotting is a process that allows you to access and understand the previously-stored physical, emotional, and mental trauma of which you may be oblivious.

Discovering or rediscovering painful things that impact your habits and lifestyle can often trigger deep and troubling feelings. These can cause severe emotional pain. 

Knowing that your practitioner will be there to help you process your feelings is critical. You need to trust that they’ll be there for you entirely.

Repressed Experiences 

Repressed experiences and traumas are very real. When something is overwhelming to your brain, especially at a young age, you can often hide those memories from yourself as a way to persevere and survive. 

When you allow yourself to access these stored and repressed experiences, you may uncover things that your brain had chosen to forget. Being prepared to encounter repressed experiences can help you with the healing process. 

Brainspotting Therapy for Sex Addiction Treatment 

As you may know already, one of the key underlying factors in sex and porn addiction is lack of attunement and traumatic experiences, usually in childhood. 

Uncovering and processing these memories and events can allow you to begin the more profound healing faster than you could have imagined possible. 

Brainspotting can also provide benefits for co-occurring issues that often from alongside sex addiction, such as: 

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: By utilizing BSP, you can begin work through the links and cues which cause those triggered behaviors and soothe the triggering factor that causes you to react rather than respond
  • Impulsive Behavior Disorder: Through BSP sessions, you can discover where those things are stored in your body and mind and break the link between the action and the reaction
  • Depression: Brainspotting can create an awareness of the connections you have between where you look and how you feel. By helping you identify trauma and stress, you can gain control over your thoughts and circumstances, leading you to feel more in control of your emotions. BSP can also help validate your pain and suffering. By helping you identify, process, and release the negative emotions tied to your pain, you may find yourself able to work through your depression symptoms. You clarify where your feelings live in your past and your body.
  • Anxiety: Developing mindfulness of how your brain and body are connected can allow you to examine your concerns. Leading you to understand where they are rooted, allowing you to self-heal. 

Brainspotting As a Trauma Protocol: TINSA

Begin Again Institute’s founder, Dr. Michael Barta, wrote a book, TINSA, which lays out our core treatment concepts, including brainspotting.

To develop a clear path to recovery, we must look to the past to build a clear perception of our future. By working through and healing your traumas using techniques such as Brainspotting at our 14-Day Men’s Intensive, you too can begin the journey to recover from your addiction. 

 

  • Category: Sex Addiction
  • By Dr. Michael Barta
  • February 18, 2021

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