Our therapists use a variety of treatment methods tailored to the needs of each client. One method that is effective for clients suffering from PTSD or trauma-related disorders is Brainspotting.
What Is Brainspotting?
To understand Brainspotting, it’s helpful to know about a therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR was introduced by a therapist who noticed that certain specific, rapid movements of the eyes were effective in reducing anxiety associated with painful memories. EMDR has been found effective in a number of large clinical trials, and it has been approved by the American Psychiatric Association for the treatment of trauma. It is generally used in combination with psychotherapy.
Brainspotting has many features similar to EMDR. It was developed in 2003 by David Grand, PhD, who was administering EMDR to a client when he observed that EMDR was particularly effective when performed slowly, with the intent of identifying specific fixed eye positions associated with certain painful memories. He went on to develop a protocol in which the therapist works closely with the client to identify eye positions, or brainspots, related to traumatic memories.
How Brainspotting Works
Once identified, the brainspot is stimulated by asking the client to hold the eye position while they focus on the sensory feeling of the problem or memory being explored. The experience of maintaining the eye position while fully engaged in recalling the sensations of the trauma or memory has the effect of de-conditioning previously conditioned physiological and emotional responses.
Brainspotting is not for every client, but anecdotal evidence from the growing number of therapists who are using it suggests that it can be highly effective in the treatment of trauma. At The Ranch mental health and addiction treatment center, Brainspotting may be used alone or used in combination with mindfulness and other practices to provide the most comprehensive care possible.
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