In this podcast, I give an overview of Brainspotting and why talk therapy alone will not resolve issues (or is the best treatment) for your anxiety. And as you’ll see brainspotting goes beyond the mind to get direct access to the brain just as the eyes naturally scan our environment for information, the eyes can also be used to scan our internal environment.
Rafael is in his 30’s, married with no children. Rafael came into see me after a recent blackout from alcohol. During this blackout, he was physically aggressive with his wife. Then got into a car and drove into a tree sustaining multiple injuries-non however were life threatening. The outcome after 1 session: Rafael was able to make some great connections about how he never felt “like he belonged” in his household. His worth he surmised was from major caregiver shaming and emotional abuse mostly by his mother but his father did nothing to protect him which Raphael holds resentment towards. He shared “My wife often guilts me into things and I do it because her happiness comes before mine…not unlike doing everything possible to make my mother happy but always falling short.”
So as we know, anxiety has physiological responses to threats on our well being and survival and it’s either actual or imagined. And brainspotting according to its founder, Dr. David Grand, is a physiological therapy with psychological consequences. So it makes sense that talk therapy alone won’t do the heavy lifting of resolving or at least minimizing to the best extent possible your anxiety. A little anxiety is always good, but it should never be a functional impairment.
Rafael decides after hitting emotional rock bottom that he needs help not only with his drinking but with subsequent behaviors and emotions, like anxiety, that would lead to the drinking.
Through brainspotting, Rafael identified a strong shame cycle with his partner-he pulled a lot from his past experiences and hurt growing up that he had brought into his current relationship. Brainspotting helped Rafael identify these unhealthy patterns. Patterns he used as a tool of protection much like the drinking.
Brainspotting is not a magic elixir but it does work. You will go much deeper than you can ever go with talk therapy alone. Talk therapy reaches only the areas of the brain that use language, not the areas where the deepest of emotions and body experience are held.
As for Raphael, he’s doing great! After 3 months of gradually decreasing the frequency of our meetings, he is resolving those old traumatic memories that were stuck in his brain & neural network. The pain has gone from a 9 to a 2 which is fantastic! Raphael is even able to do internal brain scans.
Hi, I’m Dr. Adina Silvestri, the founder at Life Cycles Counseling. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Certified Brainspotter in Richmond, Virginia.
As a therapist, I specialize in treating women with substance abuse and eating disorders and men with depression. I like to refer to myself as equal parts Shame Fighter and Hope Merchant!
(Disclaimer: This transcript is using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope and recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:12
Bonjour Atheists in Recovery, and welcome to Episode 94 of the Atheists in Recovery podcast. And we are back from our April pause, this being April 2021. And it is good to be back. I thought I would hit you with a very unusual podcast that talks about brain spotting and addiction. But before you do, I want to tell you a little bit about the Atheists in Recovery podcast just in case you are new here. The Atheists in Recovery podcast addresses the scientific and spiritual beliefs of people in long term recovery in order to deconstruct limiting thought patterns, and introduce new behaviors and routines you can use and who doesn't like a new ritual or routine. Okay, so today's podcast, as I mentioned, is all about brain spotting. And we are going to take a very wide lens here because I feel like brain spotting is still pretty new to individuals. I know, it's very new to a lot of my colleagues. And so it's probably incredibly new to a lot of my listeners. But before we do, I want to mention a little project that I have going on in the background. As we embark upon a new milestone here at the air podcast, I want to take a moment to say thank you, I made a little YouTube video. For as we're embarking on our two year anniversary, a milestone and going forward, I want to be intentional about the direction of the podcast. And so I would be incredibly grateful if you could take 45 seconds to share some feedback with me. The survey is quick and relatively pain free and you can find it in the show notes page. Below, just go to Atheistsinrecovery.com/Episode94 or you can go to the survey link which is atheistinrecovery.com/springsurvey and once you complete it, you will receive a little gift from me a little spring gift from me. Okay, on to the show. Let's do a overview of brain spotting and how it relates to how you can overcome your anxiety and with anxiety. Today we're talking about generalized anxiety disorder and also social anxiety, two of probably the most common anxiety disorders that I see in my office. So as we know, anxiety has physiological responses to threats and our well being and survival and it's either actual or imagined. And brainspotting according to its founder, Dr. David grande is a physiological therapy with psychological consequences. So it makes sense that talk therapy alone won't do the heavy lifting of resolving or at least minimizing to the best extent possible your anxiety a little anxiety is always good, but it should never be a functional impairment. So brainspotting therapy is best known as a dual attunement process. It's the attunement between the client and the therapist as well as the attunement of the client to their neuro physiology. So within the relationship The technique is used. So it's a very much a relationship based technique. And as you know the problem that brought you to where we are today started in the brain and the neuro system. The solution actually is there as well and so all the brain spotting therapist needs to do to help the clients brain body heal itself is work with them from the inside out. Pretty easy right? Simple Idina brainspotting goes beyond the mind to get direct access to the brain just as the eyes naturally scan our environment for information that could also be used to scan our internal environment. I know this is a little trippy, but it's so cool guys. Brain spotting is is the visual field to turn the scanner back on itself and guide the brain to find loss information and ultimately resolution. And so like
I said in the beginning that we're taking a pretty wide lens here at brain spotting and if you like this episode, please let me know email me my sent to me and social on Twitter and Facebook and I will do some more episodes on brain spotting that sort of get into the nitty gritty of what the process looks like and maybe even how it's different from traditional therapies that you see and probably utilize right now. Alright, let's look at a case study. And we're gonna call this gentleman Rafael, refer to the male. He's in his late 30s. And he is a brain spotting client. He came for brain spotting, and that's all he basically does. So, before we talk about Raphael, as you know, alcohol, it makes sense to talk about anxiety with alcohol, because alcohol exacerbates anxiety. To the umpteenth level, alcohol really exacerbates any emotion, right? Like, if you're feeling angry, you're that much angry. If you're feeling sad, you're that much sadder. And so again, just looking at anxiety, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety, excessive use of alcohol, will make these symptoms more intense drinking alcohol will affect the brain's neuro systems, neural reward system. So the dopaminergic system, especially, and it affects the brain's stress response system as well. And that's important, right? It's important when we look at Raphael. So Raphael, again, late 30s, came to see me. And his chief complaint was that he had a recent blackout from alcohol. And it's really destroying his relationship with his wife and his family. During this blackout, he was physically aggressive with his wife, then he got into a car and decided to drive off after an argument ensued. And he hit a tree sustained multiple injuries, however, none were thankfully life threatening. And so, you know, Raphael has known he's had a problem for a while, he's just been in denial. He's a very successful entrepreneur, he from the outside, everything looks great, everything looks great. So he finally decides, after sort of being at an emotional rock bottom, and we talked about this in an earlier episode, as well, that's like, he decides to come to therapy. And he's laying everything out on the line. Yeah. So the setups that we use, are the brain spotting gay spot at first. And so that's basically just, you know, talk about this issue that you're having, and just see where your eyes land, you know, where do they or do they land. And I'm going to walk you through another exercise that will be in the show notes. So we do that. And that's sort of the easy way to ease yourself, the easy way to ease yourself, that's sort of the quickest way to engage in brain spotting, because your eyes will will naturally go to a spot in your environment as you're processing a difficult emotion or a difficult situation. So after we did that, we tried a resource spot, and a brain spot. And so again, these are just brief overviews. The resource spot is really where do you feel the most grounded in your body and grounded means when you feel the most come? And as you're focused on your feet, or as you're focused on your ear lobes or you're focused on your hand now bring up that really intense situation that just occurred and kind of vacillate between the two spots. Okay, hopefully, you're still with me. So the outcome after
Raphael's first brain spotting session was, was pretty good. I mean, he was, after one session, he was really able to make great connections about how he never felt like he belonged in his household. His worth he surmised was from his from major caregiver shame and emotional abuse mostly by his mother. But then also, father just took a backseat never really protected rafaelle. And so you know, rafeal hold resentment towards him as well. And he went on to say, you know, my wife guilts me into a lot of things. And I know it and I recognize it to a certain extent, but I'm so programmed for her happiness to come first that I make sure that I do everything possible to take the backseat and it's and so he was able to make that connection between his current situation and how he would do everything possible to make his mother happy so that there wasn't that care. giver shame that he felt early on in his life. And so and of course, he's always falling short of this, right? I mean, that makes that makes sense. So there's a lot of guilt there as well. In between our sessions, Raphael and I's sessions he does some self spotting is encouraged to do self spotting and, you know, process on a gay spot when he feels those uncomfortable feelings. And this is difficult. I'm not saying that it's smooth sailing with brain spotting, especially if you're pretty stoic. And Raphael is pretty stoic, I think he's a good example, because he's not one that would naturally say, you know, let's do some, let's get in touch with our feelings. But on the plus side, brainspotting, you really don't talk that much, you can talk very, very little. So I could see where a lot of people would be attracted to this therapy, in which, you know, talking is just not something they're comfortable with. So he's able to do this hard work, but he's very stoic. And he comes from the lens that, you know, basically, every problem can be solved with just a little elbow grease. That's all it needs a little elbow grease, a little hard work. And so brain spotting really, is the opposite of this. And that it's very intuitive. And that's in our in our Western culture, that's tough, because we've been taught to distrust the intuitive and rely only on the thinking brain and one of our famous phrases, I mean, just look at Nike, just do it right, or just push through it, just, you know, just push through it. And so if you need any more references, you can look you could reference my Elizabeth Stanley's podcast, and I'll put it in the show notes where she talks a lot about stress and how we use stress as a badge of honor, look at how stressed I am, look at how little sleep I I've had, look at all the things I'm doing. And we sort of compare ourselves to these people that are like warriors, and in fact, it's killing us. Okay, sorry for the little sidebar there. So as we wrap up, brainspotting is no magic elixir, but it does work. And it's so interesting, and that it goes so much deeper than talk therapy will ever go because talk therapy only reaches the areas of the brain that uses language, you know, not the areas where the deepest emotions and body experiences are held. And so Raphael is doing great, you know, after three months of therapy, we're gradually decreasing the frequency. And he's resolving these old traumatic memories, and really these traumatic memories that he didn't even know, were still around. He didn't even know that they were still traumatic, I guess, or things that that needed to be addressed. But they were stuck. They were stuck in his brain, and they were stuck in his neural network. And so that's what we use to, to get them free. And you know, the pain from where he started was a nine, we were able to get him down to a two which is absolutely amazing. And Raphael even is able to do internal scans now, which I encourage everyone to try and I'm going to put a doc sheets in the show notes so that you can try it. And you can just go to atheist and recovery comm forward slash Episode 94 to practice internal scanning and maybe that's your maybe that's how you'll figure out if brain spotting is something that you'd want to try.
Okay, guys, I hope you enjoyed facing your anxiety head on the power of brain spotting. If you are interested in learning more I provide brain spotting to individuals in Virginia at my office and via zoom, you can click on the yellow schedule button at the top right of the atheistsinrecovery.com homepage to schedule a free 15 minute appointment today. Thanks again everyone for listening. Please don't forget about filling out the survey at atheistsinrecovery.com/springsurvey and I am so grateful for you. Thanks again. Bye. Thank you for listening to the Atheists in Recovery podcast. For more great info and to stay up to date head over to atheistsinrecovery.com
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