Can Brainspotting Help with Brain Injuries?

Brainspotting is a form of therapy that combines diagnosis and treatment with bilateral sound to help reduce emotional trauma and pain caused by psychological issues.

Brainspotting has the primary goal of reducing negative thoughts through appropriate eye positioning. But can brainspotting help with brain injuries? Many therapists recommend brainspotting for brain injuries, headaches, fibromyalgia, and strokes, among other conditions.

Today, we’re going to look at how you can use brainspotting to treat brain injuries and explain how brainspotting works as a therapy solution.

What is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting is a newer form of therapy that falls under the category of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy. It was developed by Dr. David Grand, Ph.D., in 2003.

Therapists believe that brainspotting provides a neurobiological way to access, diagnose, and treat various somatic and emotionally-charged issues. It can also be used to reduce physical pain and tension.

Types of conditions that brainspotting can treat include:

  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Trauma (war survivors, abuse, natural disasters)
  • Strokes
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • To prepare and recover from surgery

The motto of brainspotting is “where you look affects how you feel.” Your brain processes what your eyes take in and form it into memories.

The theory is that brainspotting resolves issues by tapping into the brain’s autonomic and limbic systems, which is found in the central nervous system.

Diagnostically, you can assess the neurophysiological causes of emotional and physical pain, trauma, or other issues. Brainspotting then treats the symptoms simultaneously.

How Does Brainspotting Work?

Brainspotting is a form of talk therapy that uses fixed eye positions to tap into a person’s inner turmoils. It is believed that specific eye positions link to a unique “brainspot” or storage area of the brain for your thoughts and emotions.

Memories are stored deep within the brain. For many of us, when we experience a trauma, we lock the painful thoughts away. But ignoring them does not make them go away.

Over time, your damaged thoughts can manifest into physical symptoms. But when you learn how to deal with issues instead of repressing them, you end up with a clear mind, a healthy psyche, and reduced health problems.

In the case of head injuries, brainspotting can help you come to terms with upsetting memories due to the devastation of trauma or injury.

How to Perform Brainspotting

Performing brainspotting requires the patient to find the appropriate eye position. To do this, the patient should move their eyes around until they find a place where they feel the strongest emotions.

You can usually discover your brainspot by paying attention to your body cues. The eyes and body show readiness through signs like body or head twitches, swallowing, yawning, or blinking.

The area of the brainspot relates to the region of the patient’s perception of the traumatic action. It represents the procedural memory for the experience, as explained by Dr. Robert Scaer, a neurologist from Boulder, Colorado.

Sounds Improve Sessions

While you are practicing brainspotting, you should also have bilateral sounds playing in the background. For bilateral sounds, you can use music, sounds of nature, or tones that move from one ear to another, so both brain hemispheres are activated.

Choose peaceful sounds as these help calm the sympathetic nervous system (your flight or fight response) and improve the parasympathetic nervous system’s activity.

While the patient focuses on the brainspot that holds their trauma, they should discuss their thoughts. The great thing about brainspotting is that you don’t have to deep dive into your memories and drag out the painful thoughts.

As you focus on the brainspot, you deep process the thoughts and emotions associated with the eye position. This method allows you to come to terms with the trauma and set yourself free.

After Brainspotting

Many therapists say that after you complete a brainspotting session, it is normal to feel tired or drained of energy. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Uncontrollable yawning
  • Mental fog
  • Mild to extreme emotions
  • Troubled speech
  • Varying levels of exhaustion
  • Crying
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness or light-headed sensations

It can take a few days for your body to fully disperse all the negative emotions and traumas that you brought up during brainspotting. This is normal and expected. Trying to ignore the thoughts can undo the progress you made during your session.

Using Brainspotting for Brain Injuries

TBI (traumatic brain injury) and ABI can cause severe impairments and debilitating symptoms that can severely affect a person’s life.

Therapists have learned that using therapy solutions like brainspotting can help reduce common problems associated with traumatic memories, including headaches and cognitive impairments.

A common symptom of severe TBI is memory loss, including not being able to remember the accident or events leading up to or after it occurred. Confusion and trouble remembering new things are also common side effects that can persist past the time of the accident.

And many times, a person can feel anxiety and emotional distress when trying to remember the incident or when doing the same events that caused the injury.

Incorporating brainstopping into a person with TBI therapy can help reduce the emotional and sometimes physical symptoms associated with the condition.

Brainspotting allows a person to work on recalling difficult memories. It can also help these people come to terms with the emotions that arise with these recalls so you can get rid of them.

But brainspotting isn’t meant to work as a stand-alone therapy. It should be used in addition to other forms of treatment. And this treatment might not work on people who do not want to take part in talk therapy. It does require the patient to talk about their feelings to work.

Many people with brain injuries have rapid mood swings. Using brainspotting as therapy can help a person learn to control their emotions.

Final Verdict

Brain injuries can cause a person to lose their memories, struggle with remembering new stuff, have rapid mood shifts, and headaches. Incorporating mindful-based therapies such as brainspotting can provide multiple benefits for brain injury patients. This treatment can help reduce stress related to the accident and improve the quality of life.

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