Brainspotting: Where You Look Affects How You Feel

For clients struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, chronic physical pain, athletic performance anxiety, or behavioral problems who feel "stuck" and unable to make progress with traditional talk therapy, Brainspotting Therapy may be an intervention that can break through frustrating barriers. Nicole Parker, MA, LPC is trained in Brainspotting Therapy and describes it in easy-to-understand- language below. Read on to discover whether this tool might be for you!
            Perhaps there’s an area of your life you feel stuck in. Perhaps this area of your life holds confusion, pain, and fatigue from working on it without seeing change. Perhaps you’ve opened up about this area in therapy or with trusted friends and remain stuck. Or, perhaps you’re terrified to discuss it all. If any of this resonates with you, you might be a great candidate for Brainspotting.

Brainspotting is an alternative form of therapy that allows clients to process their pain in a unique, safe, and effective manner. It also requires significantly less talking than traditional talk therapy which makes it a great option for people who feel stuck or scared to discuss details of their trauma. Trauma can be defined as any experience in which you felt intensely helpless or experienced deep distress. It is a powerful emotional and physical experience and can get “trapped” inside of us, affecting our lives often times without us consciously realizing it.

Brainspotting was discovered in 2003 by Dr. David Grand. The catch phrase of Brainspotting is “where you look affects how you feel.” In other words, trauma can get locked up inside your brain, and Brainspotting allows networks in the brain to release that trauma. With trauma, the part of your brain that senses your place in time gets shut off, which is why when you’re “triggered” by trauma, it feels as though it has just happened. Broca’s area, where language and the narrative part of the brain reside, locks up as well. Our limbic system activates much more quickly than our cognitive reactions, hence why we experience fight, flight, and freeze and aren’t able to think clearly during an intensely distressful experience.

As I lead my clients through Brainspotting, together we find “the spot” or eye position that is related to frozen or unprocessed trauma, typically located in the amygdala (where emotion is held) or hippocampus (where part of experienced memory is held) in the limbic system. We hold that eye position for a period of time, allowing for deep, subcortical emotions and body-based parts of the brain to be processed and released. The goal of Brainspotting is to identify held trauma in the brain and allow it to be fully and deeply released from the inside out.

It's helpful to know that language and emotion are held in two different parts of the brain. This may help explain why some people struggle to access emotion while thinking critically and talking about their problems. Accessing emotion is a critical and important part of healing in order to allow our bodies to release held trauma. Brainspotting bypasses our prefrontal cortex in the brain, where critical thinking and language is held, and goes straight to our limbic system, where emotion, sensory processing, memory, and fight, flight, freeze is held. Brainspotting allows deep, unconscious areas of our brain to be accessed in order to begin to create a full narrative of language and images, reducing our automatic bodily reactions to triggers. In order to heal and grow from our trauma we must be able to access held pain and emotion in our bodies. This allows our brain and body to release what has been locked up inside.

For those who struggle to be in tune with their bodies or to access their raw emotions, Brainspotting may be a great treatment option. Brainspotting can be used to treat trauma as well as the symptoms that develop from trauma, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, performance-related issues, etc. Brainspotting can also be enhanced with Biolateral sound. For clients who are comfortable with using Biolateral sound, I provide Biolateral music to assist your brain in fully engaging the Brainspotting process. I practice Brainspotting with teens, individual adults, and couples.

If you’d like to learn more about Brainspotting and how it works, you can find more information here. If you’d like to see if Brainspotting could be the right treatment for you, I’d love to meet with you and see if we’d be a good fit to work together. If you are interested in a session with me or another therapist, please contact our office.
Nicole specializes in treating couples with relationship concerns, and adults and teenagers who struggle with anxiety, trauma, abuse, self-harm, self-esteem, depression, and grief.

Nicole uses an eclectic and creative approach to therapy, blending Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Brainspotting Therapy with more expressive forms of therapy, such as art therapy and walking outdoor sessions. By offering multiple therapeutic mediums of professional counseling services, Nicole aims to help clients reach their goals by understanding and meeting each person's individual needs

For specific questions email Nicole at