I Did Brainspotting for Anxiety

Trigger warning: In this post, I am sharing some information about medical trauma. PTSD and symptoms of anxiety and Treatment.

I Did Brainspotting for Anxiety

My son has a condition where he needs brain scans once or twice a year. If you have any health condition where you have to wait on scans, you know the physical anxiety that can come along with the waiting.

In the summer of 2021, I was waiting on results of the scan, which would determine whether my son would need a surgery or not. During the waiting period, my body was in  hypervigilance. Hypervigilance is when you are on guard and your body is in hyperarousal. It’s a symptom of PTSD. (If you or someone in your family has had a health condition or medical diagnosis, you could have PTSD around the medical trauma).

Panic Attack

I stood up too fast, got dizzy and I believe because of the state of hypervigilance that I was in, my body spun out into a panic attack (first one ever but I am a therapist, I knew what it was). Panic attacks can look different for different people but generally your breathing is off, your heart rate is rapid, you may feel out of control or scared. I was able to get out of the attack with a lot of grounding, etc. and I knew what caused it. However, I was also aware that I needed to detox the trauma that I was carrying in my body. My son did end up needing surgery that summer. I dealt with the surgery and got him through it (as we do as moms). I later circled back to myself with the intent to detox the trauma that was stored in my body.

Brainspotting – What is it?

It is a brain and body-based therapy that provides breakthroughs for many clients. In traditional talk therapy, we access the neocortex, where language and cognition is stored. Brainspotting accesses the subcortical brain, which stores emotions, memories and trauma. It is a great tool for processing and releasing symptoms that we cannot access through cognition and language. It has been proven that trauma is stored in the body. BSP uses the visual field to access these parts of the brain.

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How does it work?

Brainspotting is based on the idea that where you look determines how you feel. A typical session involves finding an eye position to tap into what a person wants to work on while listening to music that provides bilateral stimulation. Brainspotting utilizes points in the visual fields that help to access unprocessed trauma.

EMDR and Brainspotting

Brainspotting originated from EMDR. They both use the eye as an access point and they both use bilateral stimulation. EMDR uses eye movements as a form of bilateral stimulation, while brainspotting focuses on the eye on a fixed gaze position. They are both used in treating a variety of things, including anxiety, trauma and addiction. Brainspotting can also be used to work on growth in certain areas of your life. They are both evidence-based therapies.

When is it used?

  • Emotional/ body pain
  • Processing decisions
  • Sports Performance issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • All forms of trauma
  • Stress
  • Emotional reactivity
  • Substance Abuse
  • ADHD
  • Chronic pain
  • Grief / Loss
  • Panic attacks

My experience

I did an intake session with the therapist to describe the healing that I was looking for. She explained what the session would be like. After that, I went in for the brainspotting session. I used earphones for bilateral stimulation. I was listening to music and she also used a laser to have me follow the red light and she found the eye position where the trauma was stored. I felt calm and safe. I experienced sensations from the stored trauma and memories which allowed me to release them. It was incredibly powerful, and it worked. I am grateful for research-based techniques that work for deeper healing.

It is incredible that somatic therapies are becoming more mainstream. If you are looking for a somatic therapist or someone who offers brainspotting, know that there are some who offer it in the New Orleans area virtually or in person. Relief is typically experienced within a couple of sessions. If you already have a therapist, that is okay. Brainspotting is a different modality. You can typically go to a brainspotting therapist just to work on one particular issue and continue with your long-time therapist.

Kelley Lockhart-Delaune
Kelley Lockhart Delaune was born and raised In Metairie, Lousiana. She is married to her husband and has two boys, Roman (10) and Remy (8). Kelley received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from LSU and her Masters in Social Work from Tulane in 2002. Kelley is a psychotherapist in private practice. She owns Modern Therapy and Wellness, a group practice. Her and her team focus on helping others to heal themselves and their relationships. You can find her mental health and wellness blog at: https://moderntherapyandwellness.com/. In her spare time, you can find her working out, drinking coffee, going to the beach, cursing too much, staying up too late and writing.


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