Other Brain-based Therapies
Brain-based therapies are therapies that shift us out of our thinking / cognitive part of our brain (pre-frontal cortex) to our limbic system. It is a very simplistic process. Many clients asked if they would be hooked up to machine or complex device. That is not the case at all. It is a process to help us sit in the present moment so we can process past or present grief. There are various modalities such as EMDR, Brainspotting and others. I have found that these modalities do the same thing and produce the same results. It comes down to what process the client prefers. The outcome is a sense of relief and closure.
Brainspotting (BSP) was discovered by David Grand, Ph.D. in 2003. Since then, Brainspotting has developed into an in-depth therapeutic process that can be integrated with other healing modalities in either individual or couples therapy. Dr. Grand believes that “Brainspotting taps into the body’s natural self scanning and self healing abilities”. It can help decrease depression, anxiety, phobias and addictions. Brainspotting is used with all areas of trauma, including survivors of war, natural disasters and abuse. It is also being utilized with medical conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, fibromyalgia, headaches, and preparation and recovery from surgery. It is possible to release trauma from either a distressed or calm place in the body. The power of BSP is that one does not necessarily have to relive the traumatic event at the same level of intensity as the original trauma. Because of this, it is possible to resolve the trauma in a more contained manner. Trauma and stress can often overwhelm the nervous system. With the support of the therapist, BSP helps the client discharge the trauma and calm the nervous system.
Generally, the brainspot is located by finding an eye position where the emotion is most strongly felt. A brainspot can also be located from the calmest place in the body. Pinpointing the brainspot is done through noticing an increase in reflexive eye or body movements, such as blinking, swallowing, yawning, head or body twitches. Dr. Robert Scaer, Boulder, Colorado, neurologist, states that the location of the brainspot “is related to the area or region of the patient’s experience or perception of the traumatic event and represents procedural memory for that somatic experience”. Brainspotting is accompanied by the use of bilateral sounds. Bilateral sounds can be music, tones or even nature sounds that move from ear to ear alternately in order to activate each hemisphere of the brain. Dr. Grand developed a series of biolateral CDs that can be used during a Brainspotting session. They were initially developed for use with EMDR. These sounds help to calm the sympathetic nervous system (which is the fight or flight response), and engage the calmer parasympathetic nervous system. Brainspotting is unique from other therapeutic techniques in that it is being used not only in trauma and healing work, but also in the areas of peak performance and spiritual consciousness. Therapists are utilizing BSP with athletes of all abilities, actors, writers, musicians, as well as with public speaking and healing physical conditions. Meditation practices can also be enhanced through the use of Brainspotting. - Excerpt taking from Rocky Mountain Brainspotting Institute
Attachment EMDR uses the structure of EMDR but facilitates corrective emotional experiences specifically around relationships. For more on the basic EMDR structure (click here). Attachment EMDR targets relationships either past or present and helps us process around those relationships. It goes back to the saying "we are hurt by relationship and we become healed through relationship". Attachment EMDR helps facilitate this. The whole point of EMDR is to create new experiences by literally changing the way we experience people or memories. Have you ever found yourself reactive to a particular type of person or found yourself not liking a particular person based on their personality or how they acted? Most likely, this can be attributed to you being impacted by someone in your past that reminds of this person. There is a saying about trauma that as much as we try to forget, our body never forgets and reminds us through our emotions. Attachment EMDR helps us process, grieve, and heath through focusing and restorative relationships and figures that we might not have received in our past. To read more information specifically on Attachment EMDR, the main book and resource for this specific type is called Attachment-Focused EMDR by Laurel Parnell.
Attachment EMDR is also great in couples counseling. I have found that there are moments where we just get stuck and that stuck feeling is based on bad experiences (albeit current or past moments). This process helps us get out of those ruts and reconnect. There is something wonderful in being able to share a deep emotional experience with the person you are closest to and live life with the most. I have often witnessed the non-participating spouse being as impacted by EMDR just by watching the other go through the process. It becomes a shared experience which in and of itself is healing.