I can admit it here—brainspotting blows me away. It’s mysterious how it works, but work it does. I recently did a training here in Boulder at the Rocky Mountain Brainspotting Institute, taught by Dr. Pie Frey.

I had the chance to experience being worked on, and even I, a huge advocate for the transformative power of somatic therapy was surprised by the intensity of the experience. I felt so exhausted by the whole workshop that when it was my chance to have a session I shared how tired I was. That became my target—my “issue.” Minutes later I was apparently nodding my head vigorously, though I had no idea that was happening. When my session was over I felt completely relaxed and resourced, and actually felt like running. When I got home I put on my gear and went for a long, hard run, no trace of lethargy to be found.

Much like EMDR, Brainspotting works with the visual field to help the brain access its self-healing capacities. But in some ways Brainspotting can be more precise than EMDR, and target the trauma that even techniques like EMDR are unable to reach. Once you find the focal point that allows you to process unresolved stress, and you can move through it, a strange feeling of release or liberation can occur. For me, it was almost a feeling of weightlessness.

This work with the visual field, and its impact on consciousness, feels very relevant to me. The watchword for Brainspotting is “Where you look affects how you feel.” In our increasing visual age, and its fragmented graphics, understanding the wisdom of sustained gazing feels almost radical. Meaningful eye positions can correlate to all kinds of emotions beyond the negative: neutral, introspective, peaceful. Brainspotting is a chance to explore how our sense of sight—our insight—can help us move through whatever is stuck or frozen in our brain. Our eyes are not only windows but doors—doors we can enter more grounded ways of being and leave our past traumas behind.