What is a brain spot? A brain spot is not a literal specific location in the brain which holds a traumatic experience. Rather it is an eye “position,” identified by the therapist or the client, which correlates with activation of felt experiences within the body.
At the identified brain spot, the client experiences in his or her body the sensations which accompany the experience of trauma or emotional arousal, whether that be named as fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, abandonment, hurt, despair, or a host of other identified feelings. In brain spotting, we don’t want to intellectualize your experience of trauma or emotional activation. Instead we want to be there as witness and fellow sufferer with you as you go through releasing the trauma which has been held in your body since the initial experience.
Working with the nervous system: Brain spotting initiates deep processing within the nervous system. This processing often results in integration of split-off memories with their accompanying “trauma capsules.” When these “capsules” integrate in your body/brain, you experience a release in your nervous system. Brain spotting appears to work at the brain’s emotional centers (the midbrain and amygdala) to detoxify emotional, psychological, and somatic responses and patterns. Some examples of these maladaptive responses which respond to brain spotting would be the intermittent presence of a startle response, a pattern of self-sabotage in relationships, or an inability to “get beyond” a specific experience.
The development of brain spotting: The technique of brain spotting was developed by David Grand, Ph.D., who specializes in the healing of trauma and the enhancement of performance. Dr. Grand was working with a top-notch ice skater who was unable to perform the triple toe loop. As Dr. Grand used the techniques of slow eye movements (EMDR) to help this young skater, he noticed through careful observance of her entire body, that at a specific eye position, she began processing and releasing some very painful body-centered emotions.
From this initial discovery, Dr. Grand went on to develop the basic tenets of brain spotting. His has been a lifetime of work in the trauma and performance field which has led to his being featured on a number of television shows on several networks and his work being highlighted in both the New York Times and the Washington Post. Dr. Grand has written about EMDR in his 2001 book, Emotional Healing at Warp Speed. More recently he has published Ignite the Genius Within.
Jean Eva’s work with brain spotting: Jean Eva has recently added Brain Spotting to her cadre of tools which she uses to help heal individuals and couples. She has been an EMDR therapist since 1996 and currently finds brain spotting an excellent protocol for specific areas of trauma and emotional dysregulation. Jean Eva brings her own compassionate attunement to each individual’s challenges.
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