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Brainspotting: Unwinding Emotions Through Eye Positioning

by Skylar DeBruyn, BSW Intern

Have you ever noticed that when thinking of something painful or joyful, individuals tend to bring their eyes to a specific location? Have you noticed this in yourself?

That specific location is often related to an individual’s brainspot and how they process emotions.

What is a brainspot?

A brainspot is the eye position/s that give more connection to certain emotions or physical feelings. Brainspots may not be fixed and can change depending on how an individual is sorting through their emotions. For me, I tend to look down when I am upset and up to the left when I am anxious or annoyed. I even notice a change in my body if I, say, look down when I am not feeling sad. That change causes me to feel a bit of that emotion, even if I was perfectly fine.

How Does a Brainspotting Session Work?

“Brainspotting is a powerful therapy that helps both your brain and body heal from unprocessed feelings, trauma, and negative experiences. It helps you recognize your strengths and resources while beginning to process what your brain and body are ready to work through in a very different way than talk therapy. I have seen very beautiful and powerful growth in many of my clients who have allowed me to go along on their brainspotting journey.”

-Beatriz Jaramillo, LCSW, PMH-C

When your therapist is facilitating a brainspotting session, they will invite you to choose an issue to process. Next, they will ask you to identify on a scale of 1-10 the intensity of the emotion you associate with that issue. Your therapist will then use a pointer of some kind to help you locate your brainspot. They will invite you to keep your gaze on the brainspot that you have worked together to find, and then simply see what your brain does. At this point, you may begin to recall memories. You may also begin to notice different sensations in your body. Your therapist will allow you to take the reins and handle your emotions as they come up rather than just talking in session. Your therapist will be present with you throughout the process to support and guide you, but the majority of the work happens inside your brain!

This process will continue until the client’s issues have been fully processed and reflected on, or the session is ending. A client may feel emotionally exhausted at the end of a brainspotting session, and the effects of brainspotting will likely have the client continuing to process even after the session’s end. The therapist will then gauge whether further brainspotting is desired or necessary.

Brainspotting can be experienced individually or in a session with a brainspotting-trained clinician, and works with a variety of emotional and physical conditions. Many individuals may find difficulty in completing brainspotting successfully on their own as brainspotting can open a door to a whirlwind of emotions. At times those emotions may be difficult to handle or understand on your own. Having a clinician there facilitating your brainspotting will allow you to process heavier traumas. Your clinician can also help you to train to complete it safely by yourself when applicable.

What Comes Next?

Brainspotting is an emotional journey that may be overwhelming at first, but is rewarding for the individual as well as the clinician. Processing trauma is not a journey that has to be experienced alone, and there are many tools that can be utilized to help come to terms with thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings.

If you would like to experience brainspotting, Graceful Therapy has multiple brainspotting-trained clinicians that could help.

Please schedule an appointment today by visiting our website or calling our office at (630) 733-9108.


Dennis, K. [Kenny Dennis]. (2018, March 4). Introduction to Brainspotting [Video]. YouTube.

Grixti, M. [The UPsychle]. (2018, March 29). Brainspotting therapy - Developed by David Grand (PhD) - A sketch animation by Dr Mark Grixti [Video]. YouTube.

What is brainspotting? Brainspotting. (n.d.).

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