Brainspotting: Beyond talk therapy

Dr. Randie O'Neil has received specialized training for trauma that can quickly and effectively get to the heart of issues. Using eye movement, Brainspotting was developed by David Grand to locate the source of painful memories and emotions that can be stored by the body.

How Does Brainspotting Work?

According to therapist and creator David Grand, the direction in which people look or gaze can affect the way they feel. During brainspotting, therapists help people position their eyes in ways that enable them to target sources of negative emotion. With the aid of a pointer, trained brainspotting therapists slowly guide the eyes of people in therapy across their field of vision to find appropriate “brainspots,” with a brainspot being an eye position that activates a traumatic memory or painful emotion. Practitioners of the procedure believe it allows therapists to access emotions on a deeper level and target the physical effects of trauma.

There is increasing evidence that trauma is “stored” in the body and that it can alter the way the brain works. Trauma can, for example, have an effect on emotionsmemory, and physical health. Brainspotting seems to activate the body's innate ability to heal itself from trauma.

How Effective Is Brainspotting?

Both brainspotting and EMDR therapies attempt to help those in therapy reprocess negative events and retrain emotional reactions. EMDR, the older of the two therapies, has been more intensively studied, but therapists are increasingly practicing brainspotting and reporting positive results.

Reported to help with a variety of psychological concerns, brainspotting is primarily used in trauma therapy and for the treatment of PTSD. It has also been shown to assist in injury recovery and help treat physical illness, inattention, stress, and low motivation. Some therapists believe psychological issues—such as anger, procrastination, and difficulty concentrating, among others—can be caused by trauma. Therefore, brainspotting might be a particularly effective form of therapy for those individuals who wish to address one or more of these concerns.

Who Can Benefit from Brainspotting?

Those who have experienced either physical or emotional trauma may benefit from brainspotting. This form of therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for those experiencing:

Limitations of Brainspotting

Though a large number of individuals report positive results from brainspotting treatments, this form of therapy is still relatively new, and further research will likely be of benefit. It is difficult to compare the efficacy of brainspotting to other approaches because few studies have been done on this particular approach. Brainspotting is still increasing in popularity among therapists and people seeking treatment, but it is still not as well-known as other treatment approaches.


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Contact Dr. O'Neil for more information.

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