EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR therapy integrates elements of many traditional psychological orientations and is based on the adaptive information processing model (AIP). The AIP model hypothesizes that there is an inherent information processing system in the brain that gets blocked when traumatic events occur, causing these events to get locked in the brain with the original picture, sounds, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Whenever a reminder of the traumatic event comes up, those pictures, thoughts, feelings, and sensations can continue to be triggered. Through the combination of focus on distressing stimuli and bilateral stimulation to the brain using eye movement from side-to-side or a device called “tappers” (small objects that an individual can hold in their hands that vibrate and alternate from right to left side), the brain works to heal the emotional wound. Once the brain is able to digest and reprocess the memories stored in the emotional part of the brain in a more adaptive manner, healing can occur and symptoms decrease or disappear. (description adapted from EMDR Institute and Ana Gomez Therapy)
General EMDR Information
EMDR and Attachment Trauma
What is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is a trauma resolution model discovered in 2003 by Dr. David Grand. It is an offshoot of the popular trauma treatment EMDR. Brainspotting is based on the premise that “where you look affects how you feel”. When a person experiences a trauma their nervous system is overwhelmed. Brainspotting works on decreasing emotional and physical symptoms related to a trauma by accessing, processing, and releasing sources of traumatic experiences. The goal of brainspotting is to bypass the conscious and thinking parts of the brain to access deeper subcortical parts of the brain where the trauma is held. In Brainspotting, a person’s activation that is held between the brain and the body regarding a particular issue is paired with a relevant eye and orienting position called a Brainspot This process allows the brain and body and the related neurophysiological systems to regulate and orient to the present time in an adaptive manner. Brainspotting can help free individuals from patterns of behavior and painful emotions that previously appeared to be unresolvable. It can assist in reducing excessive reactions to present day triggers. Brainspotting is a way to process trauma in a safe and contained manner.
What does Brainspotting feel like?
A brainspotting session begins by choosing a topic that holds an emotional charge. You will then be led to identify what feelings and sensations you notice surrounding the topic. Then we work together to locate the brainspot. We enhance processing with the use of bilateral music played through headphones. From there we allow your brain to take over. I help you maintain mindfulness of your body sensations, emotions, and thoughts in a relaxed manner. You may experience an increase in emotions and sensations for a short period of time while your brain processed the information. As your brain reprocess the information the distress you felt surrounding the topic will typically decrease and you will often end at a nice stopping space as the session draws to a close.