What am I doing staring at a spot?
“Areas of the brain that serve vision receive increased blood flow when the person gazes at, for example, a painting, a movie, or the face of a loved one. They may also “light up” on a scan if the person imagines a picture of, for instance, the battle scene where he was wounded in combat. The areas of the brain that control our response to threat or danger receive more blood flow if the person tells a story or reads a script describing an assault, car accident, or rape.”
When the therapist says “Go inside, and do whatever you have to do to activate yourself around that issue”……. can we speculate that this is causing the blood to flow to the threat response areas?
1. “Trauma” gets stored in the brain–the brain and body are in constant contact, each one is constantly altering the other. The brain runs the show, but also changes based on what the environment is doing to the body’s sensory system, which then informs and changes the brain.
2. The crucial link here is procedural memory, or conditioned somatic and visceral memory. Trauma depends on post-traumatic procedural memory stored because the act of escape was never completed, usually because helplessness prevented the polar bear from shaking all over [freeze discharge response, see link for video example.]
3. Procedural memories are conditioned responses and require the process of extinction to be extinguished. Brainspotting is a unique tool and the “Brainspot” represents a procedural memory for a traumatic event, accessed through a uniquely attuned fashion which makes it so safe. Within the resulting therapeutic container, the amygdala will be inhibited (for what it’s worth, by the OFC, the anterior cingulate and the insula) and anything that comes up will be extinguished. It is both chemical and electrical.
*The above three points are based on quotes from Robert Scaer, MD (personal communication, 04/16/2011).