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  • Brainspotting

    What is Brainspotting?

    Brainspotting in Towson is provided at Clarity Centers. It is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is can be both a form of diagnosis and a type of treatment. It is often enhanced with Biolateral sound–which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing for people.

    Brainspotting functions as a tool to support the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a mature, nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage another suffering human in a safe and trusting relationship where they feel heard, accepted, and understood. Brainspotting gives us a tool, within this clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.

    Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.


    Brainspotting is a relatively new form of treatment that taps into the body’s innate ability to heal in order to reduce and eliminate the impact of unresolved trauma, negative beliefs, and emotional distress. It accomplishes this by using a unique and powerful combination of specific eye positioning and bilateral auditory stimulation.

    Developed by Dr. David Grand just over a decade ago, Brainspotting is based upon the idea that what’s going on inside our brain is directly related to where we focus our eyes. To quote Dr. Grand, “where you look affects how you feel”. That’s the foundational premise – the motto – of this powerful known as Brainspotting.

    Dr. Grand discovered that there’s a very specific and intimate relationship between our brain and our eyes. Whenever we visually scan our surroundings for information, we’re also scanning our brain for our thoughts, ideas, and emotional responses. We may also be scanning our brain to find where repressed memories and feelings (related to something traumatic or distressing in our past) are stored.


    In order to understand how Brainspotting first, it’s necessary to first understand what a “brainspot” is. The term brainspot refers to the spot or focal point of the eyes – the eye position – that correlates with the area in the brain that holds the traumatic memory. This is the source of the negative emotions – the place where the trauma got stuck. You can have several brainspots.

    The brainspot is used to help you process the traumatic experience. Before this processing can occur, the brainspot must be located. Sometimes a brainspot is located by you noticing an increase in your distress. It may also be located by the therapist observing a reflexive response in your eyes or body, such as a twitch, a sudden change in your breathing, a yawn, or a change in your expression. The reflexive response lets the therapist know that the brainspot has been found.

    The therapist will use a pointer aimed at a specific point in space associated with your brainspot. The therapist will have you focus on that point while simultaneously focusing on something that is causing emotional distress. During this process you’ll also be listening to bilateral sounds.

    Sometimes the therapist will use a “resource brainspot”. Unlike the regular brainspot that correlates with painful emotions, the resource brainspot correlates with a sense of support or a feeling of groundedness, which can ease the intensity of processing if needed.

    In Brainspotting, part of the therapist’s job is to “attune” to you once the brainspot has been located. Together, you observe and process the trauma that has been trapped within you for so long. As the trauma is released, healing immediately starts to occur deep within your unconscious. This will gradually lead to a deep sense of relief as the processing continues.


    Disorders, problems, and conditions that may benefit from Brainspotting include:

    • PTSD
    • ADHD and ADD
    • Addiction
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Phobias
    • Panic attacks
    • Impulse control problems and disorders
    • Anger control issues
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Grief and loss
    • Emotional blocks
    • Stress
    • Relationship problems (including the emotional wounds of trouble relationships)
    • Negative self-esteem
    • Compulsive behaviors
    • Perceptual problems
    • Preparing for and recovery from surgery and other invasive medical treatments
    • Unresolved trauma, including trauma related to:
      • Sexual abuse
      • An accident or injury
      • War
      • Man-made or natural disasters
      • Medical treatments or interventions
      • Physical trauma
      • Emotional trauma
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Stuttering
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chronic pain
    • Headaches
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Asthma
    • Coping with a serious illness or health issue
    • Strokes
    • Performance anxiety
    • Dyslexia
    • Procrastination (associated with trauma)
    • Poor concentration (associate with trauma)
    • Low motivation

    To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Hales, contact him at 800-254-3926, or by email at [email protected]