Neurobiological Attunement

attunement in brainspotting brain healing brainspotting neurobiological attunement reflexes Sep 09, 2023

Have you heard of Neurobiological Attunement? In Brainspotting, this is a concept of utilizing attunement within the context of neurobiology & interpersonal relationship to hold the presence for a client to process deeply in subcortical.

When breaking down Neurobiological & Attunement, Neurobiology combines principles & techniques from neuroscience, biology, physiology, genetics, & psychology. Information about neurobiology helps to understand underlying neural development, organization & function of neural circuits, & sensory processing.

During a Brainspotting session, the clinician is attuned to their client’s responses & may observe various reflexes or involuntary reactions. The client may exhibit these responses as they process memories & sensations including:

  1. Startle reflex

    The client may exhibit a quick, involuntary startle response, characterized by a sudden flinch, widening of the eyes, & a rapid increase in heart rate when processing memories in which they were startled or surprised. 

  2. Blink reflex

    The client may instinctively close their eyes or blink in response to processing during the Brainspotting session. This may be due to a memory or sensation from their past. The client may also be “editing” the prior information as they process in the present moment. To coin a phrase utilized in Brainspotting, “We don’t need to know what it is to know that it is.”

  3. Pupillary reflex

    The pupillary reflex refers to the automatic changes in the size of the pupils. The pupils may constrict (become smaller) or dilate. These changes occur involuntarily and are regulated by the autonomic nervous system.

During a Brainspotting session, a client may exhibit one or more of these reflexes which further assists the clinician to know that the client is processing deep in the brain.

Attunement refers to the process of connecting & resonating with another person at a neurobiological level. It involves the ability to understand and respond to another person's emotional & psychological states, to synchronize & regulate one's own emotional and physiological responses in relation to the other person.

Attunement is often associated with the concept of empathy, which is the capacity to understand & share another person's feelings. It involves perceiving & accurately interpreting emotional cues, such as facial expressions, body language, & vocal tone, & responding with sensitivity and understanding.

From a neurobiological perspective, attunement is thought to involve the activation of mirror neuron systems & the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when we perform a particular action and when we observe someone else performing the same action, enabling us to "mirror" or simulate the experiences of others.

Neurobiological attunement, therefore, refers to the process by which individuals establish a neurobiological connection with others, enabling them to understand, resonate with, & respond to the emotional experiences of others. It plays a crucial role in the formation of secure attachments, the development of social bonds, & the maintenance of healthy interpersonal relationships.

During a Brainspotting session, the clinician utilizes neurobiological attunement & is very aware of the client’s neurobiological system. The clinician resonates with the client & observes the client’s reflexes, movements, & other neurobiological responses during a Brainspotting session. This further assists the clinician to know that the client’s nervous system is responding to the Brainspotting experience.

The neurobiological attunement by a Brainspotting clinician is crucial in a Brainspotting session & allows for deep healing for the client including:

  1. Emotional Release

    Brainspotting can help individuals access & release deep emotions associated with traumatic experiences. After a session, people may experience a sense of emotional relief or catharsis. They may feel lighter, calmer, & more at peace.

  2. Increased Insight & Clarity

    Brainspotting can facilitate insights & provide a deeper understanding of oneself and the experiences being processed. People may gain new perspectives, fresh insights, and a clearer understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

  3. Relaxation & Reduced Stress

    Brainspotting can help individuals relax & reduce stress by releasing tension & emotional blockages. After a session, people may experience a sense of deep relaxation, improved sleep, & an overall reduction in stress and anxiety levels.

  4. Integration & Reorganization

    Brainspotting can support the integration & reorganization of traumatic memories & experiences. After a session, people may notice a sense of greater coherence & integration within their thoughts, emotions, & memories.

  5. Increased Resilience

    Brainspotting can enhance a person's resilience & ability to cope with challenging emotions & experiences. After a session, individuals may feel more equipped to handle difficulties & have a greater sense of self-empowerment.



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