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Brainspotting is a relatively new type of psychotherapy designed to help people access, process, and overcome trauma, negative emotions, and pain, including psychologically-induced physical pain. Brainspotting was developed by David Grand.

How Does Brainspotting Work?
During brainspotting, therapists aim to help people position their eyes in a way that enables them to target the sources of negative emotions. A brainspot is an eye position that tends to activate a traumatic memory or painful emotion. Practitioners of the procedure argue that it allows therapists to access emotions on a deeper level and to target the physical effects of trauma.

There is increasing evidence that trauma is “stored” in the body and can alter the way the brain works. Trauma can, for example, interfere with emotion, memory and even physical health. Brainspotting therapists attempt to access both the physical and emotional aspects of negative emotions. There is some evidence that brainspotting works primarily on the limbic system. The limbic system is a collection of brain structures; it plays a role in emotion, long-term memory, cognition, motivation, impulse control and several other psychological factors that can effect well-being.

Is Brainspotting Effective?
Brainspotting is similar to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). Both therapies attempt to help clients reprocess negative events and retrain emotional reactions. EMDR is the older of the two therapies and has therefore been more intensively studied. However, therapists are increasingly practicing brainspotting and reporting positive results.

Brainspotting has been reported to help with a variety of psychological problems. It is primarily used in trauma therapy and the treatment of PTSD, but also helps some people with recovering from injuries and health problems, developing motivation, overcoming attention problems, and moving past stress and other negative emotions. Some therapists argue that many everyday psychological problems, such as anger, procrastination, and difficulty with concentration can be caused by trauma, and so brainspotting might be particularly effective with people whose psychological concerns are caused by trauma.


  1. Brainspotting: What the heck is it and how does it work? (n.d.). EMDR Works. Retrieved from http://www.emdrworks.com/brainspotting.html
  2. Terrell, D. (n.d.). What is brainspotting? How does it compare to EMDR therapy? San Diego Trauma Therapy. Retrieved from http://www.sandiegotraumatherapy.com/emdr-articles/terrell-brain-spotting.htm
  3. What is brainspotting? (n.d.). Brainspotting. Retrieved from http://www.brainspotting.pro/page/what-brainspotting


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Last updated: 06-09-2015


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