How to Assess the Role of Brainspotting in Managing Cravings and Triggers in Addiction

Brain spotting


Release Date

Wednesday, June 5, 2024


Addiction can be a challenging and overwhelming struggle, with cravings and triggers that feel impossible to overcome. If you or someone you care about is fighting this battle, you know how hard it can be. While traditional therapies focus on changing thoughts and behaviors, a new approach called Brainspotting (BSP) shows promise in managing these intense feelings. BSP works by tapping into the brain's neural pathways to release stored trauma and emotions. 

Brainspotting can help manage cravings and triggers and provide practical tips and insights to support the journey towards recovery and healing.


How Does Brainspotting Differ from Other Therapies?

Brainspotting is based on the concept that the brain's neural networks are connected to specific eye positions. By identifying these brain spots, individuals can access and process traumatic memories and emotions, releasing stored tension and promoting relaxation.

In BSP, the therapist uses a pointer to guide the client's eyes to specific positions, allowing them to access brain spots related to cravings and triggers. The client then focuses on the brain spot while processing underlying emotions and memories, promoting release and relaxation.

A 2023 study by the American Psychological Association published in Psychotherapy compared Brainspotting to traditional talk therapy for treating anxiety disorders. The study found that Brainspotting led to faster reductions in anxiety symptoms compared to talk therapy.

How to Assess the Role of Brainspotting in Managing Cravings and Triggers?

Assessing the role of Brainspotting in managing cravings and triggers involves the following steps:

1. Identifying Cravings and Triggers

Before evaluating the effectiveness of Brainspotting in managing addiction, it's essential to understand the concepts of cravings and triggers. Cravings are overwhelming desires or urges to use a substance or engage in a specific behavior. At the same time, triggers are external or internal cues that prompt these cravings and can lead to relapse. 

Triggers can be people, places, emotions, or situations linked to past substance use, and identifying them is vital in addressing addiction. By recognizing and understanding these cravings and triggers, individuals can better equip themselves to overcome their addiction and achieve long-term recovery.

Brainspotting victim

2. Initial Assessment

This assessment involves a thorough understanding of the client's history with addiction, including their patterns of use, previous treatments, and specific triggers and cravings. The therapist also conducts an emotional and psychological evaluation to identify underlying issues contributing to the addiction. 

Finally, clear and achievable goals are established for therapy, including reducing the intensity of cravings and developing strategies to manage triggers, providing a solid foundation for the Brainspotting therapy process.

What steps are involved in the Brainspotting Method?

The Brainspotting method involves several steps that help individuals access and release stored trauma and emotions, including:

  • Creating a Safe Space: 

Establishing a safe and supportive therapeutic environment is crucial for practical Brainspotting sessions. Trust and safety allow clients to explore deep emotional issues without fear.

  • Locating Brainspots: 

The therapist helps clients find specific brain spots by guiding their eye movements across their visual field. These brain spots are associated with intense emotions or traumas related to their addiction.

  • Focusing and Processing:

Once a brain spot is identified, the client focuses on it while the therapist supports them in processing the underlying emotions and memories. This process helps release the emotional intensity tied to triggers and cravings.

  • Integration and Reflection: 

The client reflects on their experience and integrates the insights gained after the session. This reflection can help them understand the root causes of their addiction and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

How Can We Measure the Success of Brainspotting in Managing Cravings and Triggers?

To assess the role of Brainspotting in managing cravings and triggers, it’s essential to look at both short-term and long-term outcomes. These might include immediate reductions in the intensity of cravings, increased emotional regulation, and a better understanding of personal triggers. 

Over time, clients should experience sustained reductions in cravings, improved emotional resilience, and a decreased likelihood of relapse. Working with trained therapists at trusted Brainspotting therapy centers like Next Step Recovery, individuals can receive personalized support and guidance throughout their recovery journey.

What Are the Benefits of Integrating Brainspotting and CBT in Addiction Treatment?

Combining Brainspotting with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can enhance treatment outcomes. While Brainspotting addresses the emotional and subconscious aspects of addiction, CBT provides practical tools to manage thoughts and behaviors. 

CBT helps clients identify and challenge irrational thoughts that contribute to cravings and addiction. CBT offers techniques for avoiding triggers and managing cravings in daily life.


Can Brainspotting be used to treat other mental health issues besides addiction?

Yes, Brainspotting is versatile and can be used to treat a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Its ability to access and process deep-seated emotional pain makes it a powerful tool for various psychological conditions.

Is Brainspotting suitable for everyone with addiction?

While Brainspotting can be highly effective, it may not suit everyone. Individuals must work with a trained therapist to determine if BSP suits their needs and circumstances.


Brainspotting (BSP) offers a unique approach to managing addiction by addressing stored traumas and emotional pain. By processing unresolved traumas, individuals can reduce the intensity of triggers and cravings. 

BSP's effectiveness is seen in short-term reductions in cravings and long-term sustained recovery. Its versatility makes it a powerful tool for treating various mental health issues, offering new hope for lasting recovery.

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