Is Brainspotting Evidence-Based?

Is Brainspotting evidence-based? Learn more about the evidence, benefits, and impacts of brainspotting.

Is Brainspotting Evidence-Based

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Brainspotting Treatment

Brainspotting is an exciting new treatment for helping people to overcome trauma and negative memories that have become ingrained into the psyche.

Developed by a practitioner of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) who noticed unusual reactions to specific eye positions, this treatment is valuable for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Brainspotting therapy may even prove helpful with various other mental health conditions.

What Is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting therapy is a treatment process based on the observation that people feel the effects of trauma more distinctly when looking in a specific direction.

Brainspotting therapy training teaches clients to reprocess those memories and associate those spaces with more productive feelings. Proponents say that it can help people overcome past trauma and regain their quality of life after therapy sessions.

How Does Brainspotting Work?

The Brainspotting technique is simple to understand. The Brainspotting process uses a pointer to shift the client’s focus around their field of view, looking for areas where trauma or negative emotions are felt more intensely. These areas are called “brainspots.”

When a brainspot is focused upon by a person experiencing the effects of trauma, the midbrain is activated. This sends people into a fight-or-flight response to protect them from further harm. Fight-or-flight responses cause emotional and physical reactions, such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hyperarousal

Breaking this connection is the goal of the brainspotting process, and practitioners will talk their clients through the intense emotions and help them reprocess them.

Is Brainspotting Harmful?

Brainspotting risks are virtually nonexistent. This treatment is completely non-invasive, safe, and trauma-informed.

Is Brainspotting Evidence-Based?

Early clinical evidence from Brainspotting practitioners has shown it to be an effective tool for healing trauma after therapy sessions, providing greater precision than EMDR treatment and helping people work through their traumas quickly and effectively.

There are over 13,000 Brainspotting therapists in the United States today, and this treatment is continuing to grow in popularity.

As of yet, there is still limited research into data on the efficacy of Brainspotting. The Brainspotting technique was introduced in 2013, and academic research often lags behind clinical practice.

The current evidence does show that Brainspotting is effective in helping people process distressing memories. In addition, the theoretical mechanisms of Brainspotting are well-grounded in scientific evidence, and detailed neurological explanations of the Brainspotting process have been discussed widely in the academic literature.

Benefits of Brainspotting Therapy

There are several benefits of Brainspotting therapy. Clients who undergo the Brainspotting process may experience the following benefits of Brainspotting after therapy sessions:
  • Reductions in pain
  • Less distress when thinking about traumatic memories
  • Reduced negative thought patterns
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Less reactivity
  • Reduced anxiety
Put simply, Brainspotting therapy can help people overcome the negative effects of trauma or post-traumatic stress much more rapidly than they could on their own.

How Effective Is Brainspotting?

brainspotting therapy training

In one study on Brainspotting, clients who underwent treatment with a Brainspotting therapist had a reduction of traumatic disturbance of greater than 50% after therapy sessions. This is a remarkable success for treating trauma, which has historically been challenging to treat with psychotherapy and behavioral techniques.

Another study showed that Brainspotting for PTSD was just as effective as EMDR, another cutting-edge psychotherapeutic approach to helping people heal from trauma.3

While research remains slim on this novel treatment, clinical experience has shown that brainspotting therapy training is an effective treatment for helping people to get past distressing memories and negative past events.

In clinical settings, helping people overcome their difficulties matters much more than peer-reviewed papers, and Brainspotting is a valuable tool for accomplishing this task.

Is Brainspotting More Effective than EMDR?

Choosing EMDR vs. Brainspotting can be a difficult choice. Both treatments focus on trauma stored in the body and use advanced techniques to tease it out.

To get traumatic thoughts “unstuck” in the brain, EMDR uses a tool known as bilateral beats. EMDR therapists use this device to guide their client’s vision from side to side, thus activating both sides of the brain while processing difficult memories.

In comparison, the Brainspotting technique uses the pointer tool to find specific eye positions associated with trauma. This tool can also be used for bilateral stimulation, but it focuses more on finding particular positions that the therapist and client can work on to integrate traumatic experiences.

Currently, the evidence for Brainspotting and EMDR efficacy is similar, and it’s difficult to suggest one treatment over the other. Brainspotting therapists claim their treatment method is more targeted, allowing them to treat the trauma more directly. Still, the general nature of EMDR may be more beneficial for some people.

Brainspotting Treatment at Iris Healing

Iris Healing focuses on bringing the best clinicians with Brainspotting therapy training and cutting-edge psychological treatments to help people overcome addiction and mental health disorders.

Our comprehensive, holistic treatment model ensures that you get every chance of success at overcoming your mental health challenges, and we strive to incorporate new science into our curriculum constantly.

Brainspotting is just one of the novel techniques to help people overcome addiction. Addiction and trauma are often interlinked, whether the client is aware of it or not. The harmful effects of trauma can lead people to substance use, culminating in an unhealthy addiction that can be hard to recover from.

By using Brainspotting to overcome past traumas, people can heal from the root cause of their addiction and achieve recovery.

How Can Brainspotting Help You?

Anyone who struggles with the experiences of trauma or stress can benefit from Brainspotting treatment. With 61% of men and 51% of women reporting experiencing a traumatic event in their lifetime, Brainspotting therapy can be a valuable tool for millions of people. Brainspotting therapy for anxiety may also be helpful for many people.

Learn More with Iris Healing


If you want to learn more about how Iris Healing uses a holistic model of health to help people recover from addiction and mental illness, reach out to our expert team today.

Recovery from addiction is possible and addressing underlying trauma with Brainspotting is just one of the many treatments we offer to help you to heal. You don’t have to go through this alone — Iris Healing will be there to support you every step of the way.

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