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-What is brainspotting and how can it be used to treat codependency?

-How can brainspotting help us move beyond our self-conscious thoughts, especially in therapy?

-Why is it important to incorporate somatic (body) and subcortical (brain) processing?

Welcome to Episode 148! This week, I sat down with Lauren Worley, LCSW, to talk all about b r a i n s p o t t i n g. You’ll hear Lauren educate us on what brainspotting is, how it can treat codependency, and what makes it so unique and different compared to other forms of psychotherapy. Lauren describes the process of brainspotting that she takes with her codependent patients and how it can help them move beyond the people-pleasing, self-consciousness, and lack of boundaries that unfortunately come up in the therapy room. We conclude by hearing Lauren’s observations on how brainspotting has truly helped her codependent patients. It’s a must-listen!

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Lauren Worley, LCSW, is a mental health therapist located in La Crescenta, CA. She is passionate about using Brainspotting to help clients who are stuck in a talk therapy rut. She works with youth and young adults, many who are exploring who they might be in terms of gender, sexuality, and life and career paths. She runs a group practice and has two associates who specialize in couples therapy and sports performance.

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We begin with hearing Lauren’s definition of codependency: an imbalanced dependency that can occur in couples, platonic relationships, professional relationships, etc. Codependents often control others because they have no trust in others. Behaviors include people-pleasing, taking care of others, lacking trust, and being hurt or disappointed when their care is not reciprocated.

Lauren opens up about codependency in her own life where she found herself “being in charge” of her children’s extracurriculars, activities, and scheduling since she did not trust her husband to take care of it. Can you relate?! She admits she was not able to trust him with small tasks and is now making an effort not to parent him nor be in charge.

We shift gears to Lauren’s specialty: brainspotting! She describes the history of brainspotting and it’s connection to EMDR. “Where you look affects how you feel.” Brain spots are defined as where you stare off which can be related to deep trauma. The processing is both somatic and subcortical with an emphasis that the patient knows how to heal themself.

We explore how brainspotting can help treat codependency, including help with boundary-setting, building trust with one self, and processing past events/memories. Lauren is able to work with her patients to identify a gaze spot, a memory, and help them revisit their emotions through their bodies in order to come to more empowering conclusions.

Lauren shares about what is unique and different about brainspotting: one can process memories and past trauma faster; one can let go of people-pleasing and self-consciousness in session since it is a subcortical process; patients often experience deeper and newer insights.

With her new patients, Lauren helps them identify what they want to heal from (front loading), going through the activation process to target past memories, and gain more awareness of where they experience their strong emotional responses in their body. She’s heard from multiple patients who have reported “I responded differently than I did before,” “I was calm when I responded,” and different approaches to previous triggers. Amazing!

Thanks for coming on Lauren! And thank you for listening, my dear listener!
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