What controls you? We think that our behaviors stem from our conscious awareness, but often, we are under a greater influence whose main job is to ensure our survival. I am not talking about an outside entity. I am talking about our unconscious mind.
Our unconscious mind is where we hold parts of ourselves that we’d rather forget. It is where we store experiences that may threaten our day-to-day functioning. Because our unconscious oversees our survival– by way of containing our most traumatic experiences – it also ensures the smooth operation of our organs and bodily systems, such as our heart rate, digestion, and breathing. All the things that keep us alive.
You may be wondering – how is it that we can use the same space to contain our negative experiences and manage our bodily systems without potential consequences? One of the beautiful things about our unconscious mind is that although it is the “keeper of our secrets” it is also honest and authentic about them. Avoided or suppressed emotions/negative experiences affect our biology – our heart rate, digestion, and breathing, etc. The nervous system that regulates our bodily functions communicates to the part of our brain where our unconscious resides. Therefore, when we are anxious, our heart rate goes up (sympathetic/fight or flight) or when we are depressed, we lose our appetite and feel fatigue (parasympathetic/freeze or fawn).
It is in our unconscious that we may find the source of our trigger responses, impulsive behaviors, irrational reactions, outbursts of anger, anxiety, or depressed state. It is in our unconscious that our experiences (from birth till today) leave their imprint and may impact us in ways unknown to our awareness.
Fortunately, there are techniques and methods, such as Brainspotting that target suppressed emotions. Brainspotting is a neurobiological tool which allows the therapist to locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically not within the conscious mind. A “brainspot” is the eye position related to the energetic or emotional activation of a traumatic or emotionally charged issue within the brain. Typically associated in the amygdala, the hippocampus, or the orbitofrontal cortex of the limbic system, they are revealed by eye position, paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses. A brainspot is where the physiological emotional experience is held in memory form. It is a therapeutic modality that can have profound healing outcomes for individuals suffering from complex or severe trauma.
It may seem as if the unconscious mind is a place that holds doom and gloom, but I actually believe it’s where the “magic” happens. In this space we can find our greatest healing. In this space our adaptive abilities shine. In this place we connect to ourselves and with others in ways that cannot be described with words or formed by our cognition.
It is a place that deserves our utmost respect, awe, and gratitude…for ensuring our survival.
If you desire to give your unconscious the space to speak, to be heard, and to heal, Brainspotting might be the right therapeutic modality for you. Contact Kat Sciacca for a free consultation. “Together, we can work to achieve your greatest healing possible.”
Kat Sciacca is an Associate Licensed Therapist who is passionate about the ability of Brainspotting to heal deep-rooted trauma and attachment wounds. She is a brain-based therapist who utilizes the brain (and the body’s) ability to heal itself. She is trained in both EMDR and Brainspotting and is working towards being a Certified Trauma Professional.