Why it works.

Academic research on Brainspotting has begun:  there are several research projects currently in progress around the world.

Consider these words:

“Your intentions entangle with your energy flowing in the meridian/chakra system.  That higher free energy state can drive all processes in our body…when information is created, entropy decreases.  Nature is restoring itself.  Focused sustained human intention can allow us to do things.”  

William A. Tiller, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.  Author of Psychoenergetic Science:  A Second Copernican-Scale Revolution. (used with permission)

Neuroimaging studies showed that when deeply traumatized people try to consciously access and put language to their trauma, their thinking brains essentially shut down, making them mostly unable to profit from standard talk therapy. As Bessel van der Kolk, a champion of a more somatically oriented approach to trauma, explained it,

“The trauma doesn’t ‘sit’ in the verbal understanding, part of the brain, but in much deeper regions of the brain–amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, brain stem–which are only marginally affected by thinking and cognition…To do effective therapy we need to do things that change the way people regulate these core functions, which probably can’t be done by words and language.”

—  Richard Simon, Editor, Psychotherapy 

Brainspotting stimulates and promotes deep processing, integrating, and healing activity within the brain. This appears to take place within the brain’s emotional centers at a reflexive and cellular level. It typically results in a de-conditioning of previously conditioned, maladaptive emotional, psychological, and somatic responses and patterns. .

A Discussion on Brainspotting

You might wonder:

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).

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