Trauma is a person’s emotional response to a distressing event. Unlike ordinary hardships, traumatic events tend to be sudden and unpredictable, involve a serious threat to life and feel beyond a person’s control. Most importantly, events are traumatic to the degree that they undermine a person’s sense of safety in the world.

Traumas are experiences that have not been fully processed by the brain.

The good news is that most traumatic events can be reached and cleared through nonverbal means.

Both EMDR and Brainspotting are useful in clearing away these unprocessed experiences, freeing the client from the trauma’s aftermath.

How EMDR and Brainspotting are similar:

  • These therapies do not require talking in detail about the distressing event or completing homework between sessions.
  • Each process leads the client to locations deep in the emotional part of the brain that is nonverbal and can’t be accessed through talk therapy. (Talk therapy may support your overall journey, however, so your therapist may use it as well.)
  • Clients report relatively quick and positive results that are lasting.
  • Both may make use of bilateral movements in order to stimulate both sides of the brain.
  • In both cases, if the client feels overwhelmed, the processing can be slowed down to a more comfortable pace.
  • The client is always in control.

Here is a little about each therapy technique:

EMDR Therapy

EMDR Therapy has been around longer and is more fully studied and researched.

EMDR Therapy focuses on the brain’s ability to constantly learn, taking past experiences and updating them with present information.

Therapist and client follow a specific protocol that uses a set of procedures to organize positive and negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and then uses bilateral stimulation as the way to help you effectively work through those disturbing memories.

EMDR Therapy uses bilateral stimulation, which are back-and-forth eye movements with added tapping or tactile stimulation.

EMDR Therapy processing allows you to break through emotional blocks that are preventing you from living an emotional healthy, adaptive lifestyle.


Brainspotting was discovered by therapist Dr. David Grand in the midst of an EMDR session and is a natural extension of what EMDR offers.

Therapist and client together use a pointer to identify one or more spots in space related to the material being worked with. The client keeps eyes focused there until feelings and memories settle down or cease.

Clinicians are encouraged to be flexible and intuitive in their use of the technique and to adjust according to the client’s experience.

Brainspotting tends to proceed with less talking. Talking leads the client back processing speech instead of staying with the nonverbal, emotional parts. Processing can flow with very few interruptions at all, and the client is encouraged to share only as much as they want to.

Brainspotting is, at heart, a mindfulness practice. The client is invited to keep their eyes focused on a spot while noticing without judgment what is happening in their mind and body.

Amy Robbins Counseling is proud to be able to offer each technique and has confidence that either can be helpful to you on your healing journey.

You cannot go wrong with either approach.

Please reach out or call 706-406-3404.