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Brainspotting Vs EMDR (Which One Is More Effective?)

Brainspotting Vs EMDR

In this post you’ll learn all about brainspotting and EMDR and the difference between the two.

What Is Brainspotting?

Brainspotting (BSP) is a type of alternative therapy that taps into and harnesses the body’s natural self-healing ability.  

BSP uses spots in a person’s visual field to help them locate, access, and process trauma in the subcortical brain – the area of the brain responsible for motion, consciousness, emotions, and learning.

Related: How to Practice Self-Brainspotting Safely?

What Is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy treatment that was proven to alleviate emotional distress associated with stressful or traumatic life experiences.

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (visual, auditory or tactile) in a rhythmic left-right pattern to activate and integrate information from the brain’s two hemispheres. 

Does It Work?

Since its initial development in 1987, EMDR has been empirically supported by randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and is internationally recognized as an effective treatment for trauma and other disorders.

Repeated studies show that EMDR provided the same benefits of psychotherapy for PTSD that once took year, in as little as 12 sessions. (*)

One of the studies using a mixed sample reported an 84% remission of PTSD diagnosis within 3 sessions of EMDR therapy. (*)

Who Is Not A Good Candidate For EMDR?

If you tend to feel overwhelmed or shut down when you feel an emotion, EMDR might not be ideal for you.

This is mainly because EMDR therapy relies on your body and mind’s ability to process your thoughts and feelings.

Related: 9 Scientifically Proven Trauma Therapy Approaches to Recover From Complex Trauma

Brainspotting Vs EMDR

Both EMDR and Brainspotting are supported by research evidence for the treatment of a variety of mental disorders. However, comprehensive research comparing the two therapies is lacking.

EMDR and Brainspotting both make use of the eyes.

But EMDR uses bilateral stimulation, including movement of the eyes from side to side while you process stressful or traumatic memories, while Brainspotting utilizes a single spot or position.

With Brainspotting, once a brainspot is located, you focus on that spot while you process stressful or traumatic memories.

In terms of duration, Brainspotting takes much fewer sessions (2 to 3 sessions) compared to EMDR (6 to 12 sessions). (*)

One study found Brainspotting to be more effective than either EMDR—and patients even continued to get better after their treatment is over. Other modalities showed that patients’ symptoms returned at the 6-month follow-up. (*)

Related: Why Is Trauma Therapy So Hard? (+Best Trauma Healing Exercises To Support Your Recovery)

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