Brainspotting Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Brainspotting (BSP) is a new therapeutic modality developed by David Grand in 2003 to treat a patient by locating the points (spots) in their brain’s visual field that are stimulated because of unprocessed trauma. BSP therapy has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that are caused due to underlying trauma and hidden wounds.

How Does BSP Work?

Brainspotting is often used as a tool in talk therapy to uncover a patient’s untreated traumas by having them focus on specific eye positions, each linked to a specific brainspot, thereby triggering the brain activity in the subcortical brain that is linked to that eye position. By doing this, the therapist can make use of the patient’s body-scanning ability to discover, process, transform and release their repressed traumatic emotions, thereby healing the mental and physical conditions associated with them.

In a BSP session, the therapist moves a pointer to different points in the patient’s visual field, while noticing the reflexive responses. When a brainspot is activated, it indicates an area of the brain where a traumatic or emotionally charged issue has been triggered. BSP therapy can then be used to maintain the focus on the patient’s body’s response to the trauma, helping the body and mind process, integrate and heal itself subconsciously and subcortically, while bypassing the conscious neocortical processes.

Many Brainspotting therapists also use biolateral sounds to enhance the patient’s processing abilities by using their auditory nerves to stimulate specific areas of the brain.

What Is Brainspotting Therapy Used For?

BSP Therapy has been shown to be effective in treating patients with physical or emotional trauma, and other conditions triggered by unprocessed trauma such as:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Depression and Depressive DisordersChronic issues such as pain and fatigue
Addiction and substance abuse disordersCo-occurring Disorders

Why Is Brainspotting Therapy Effective in Addiction Treatment?

Brainspotting is mainly used as a tool in addiction therapy to diagnose the hidden triggers of the patient’s addiction, such as unprocessed traumas. Stimulated brain spots are indicated by the patient’s distress levels, using their reflexive signals such as rapid blinking, twitching, dilation and/or constriction of the pupils, coughs, sniffs, sighs, nods, tics, and others. 

BSP may sometimes be used in combination with other evidence-based therapy modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help patients reprocess and heal their mental and physical behaviors and addictions.

What Are The Benefits of Brainspotting Therapy?

Because BSP therapy is used in subconscious healing of the brain, the benefits may not be specific, however studies have shown that patients can become aware of their mental processes and learn to overcome them. 

Some benefits of BSP may include:

Is Brainspotting Therapy Right For You?

If you are seeking treatment for addiction and correlated disorders, brainspotting provides a valuable tool in your therapy sessions where you may not have had success with other modalities. 

Because BSP therapy is still considered fairly new, the difficulty might be in finding a therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in using brainspotting. At California Prime Recovery, we take pride in using the best treatment practices available for our clients, and our licensed, certified and experienced therapists provide exceptional care and compassionate treatment.

Interested in learning more about how we use brainspotting therapy in our addiction treatment? Call us at 866-415-6313

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.