So what is Brainspotting anyway?
Brainspotting is a form of therapy that focuses on the brain-body connection and uses spots in a person's visual field to help them access unprocessed trauma and work through it. Many people are more familiar with another brain-based therapy: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). In this blog post, Perissos owner & therapist, Liz Kent LCSW-C will break down the similarities and the differences between the two.
In case you haven't heard of EMDR, let's start there. This is a therapy modality that has been around since the 1980s and was developed to reprocess and decrease distress around traumatic events. Often, people will specifically seek out a therapist trained in EMDR. Brainspotting (BSP) was developed in 2003, by a psychotherapist (David Grand, PhD) who was trained in EMDR. He wanted a therapy modality that would be more adaptable and flexible for individual clients. So, what is the difference between EMDR and BSP?
Both are brain-based therapies, meaning they are different from traditional talk therapy. Both access the brain on a deeper level than talk therapy allows for and tend to yield faster results. They can each be used in conjunction with talk therapy. Both have been shown to work well in treating trauma, anxiety, depression, etc. Both assess the distress level and somatic symptoms of the client. EMDR and BSP both utilize the client’s line of vision to access healing in the brain. Clients often report feeling tired after EMDR sessions and BSP sessions. Both require specific training to implement these practices.
BSP stemmed from an EMDR-trained therapist, so there are a lot of similarities. However, there are some significant differences in these two treatment modalities, as well. EMDR has been around longer and is, therefore, more well-known and researched. EMDR uses eye movement (and sometimes other bilateral stimulation strategies like tapping), while BSP uses eye gaze and docs. EMDR goes through a specific 8-step protocol each time it is implemented. Some people find EMDR to be overstimulating. BSP is more flexible and organic. In Brainspotting, the processing is collaborative between the therapist and client, with the client being the expert and the therapist in a supportive role. The attunement between the therapist and client is one of the key factors to BSP success. BSP can work faster and more deeply and can be used in the first session between a client and therapist. EMDR’s protocol requires working through the protocol, which can take up to 3 sessions before actually implementing with clients.
Both of these modalities are great alternatives to talk therapy. For clients who don’t like to talk or feel like they’re stagnant in talk therapy, these can be great options to try. It is a different experience to tune into the non-verbal areas of our brain and focus on somatic symptoms to start healing.
Liz is trained in the Brainspotting technique and is currently accepting new clients! If you are interested in trying Brainspotting, feel free to email her at email@example.com to schedule a 15-minute consultation.