Brainspotting & Addiction
“Don’t ask why the addiction, ask why the pain”
Dr. Gabor Maté
In my work with people that struggle with addiction or other painful coping behaviours, I use a specific Brainspotting® setup developed by Dr. Roby Abeles (of Abeles Consulting) to reduce or eliminate cravings. Additionally, it is a great method to discover more about the relationship with the substance. Dr. Roby Abeles has 33 of years experience as an addiction specialist and is a certified, international Brainspotting trainer. She developed what is called ‘the crocodile setup‘©, designed on the basis of neuroplastitcity: we can make new connections in the brain and disconnect old ones.
Scientific research (read here) (Connolly, Bell, Foxe & Garavan, 2013) has shown that the brain of an addict has less neurological connections between the cortex cingular anterior (the part of the brain that is active when you experience cravings) and the lateral prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that understands consequences). These two parts of the brain normally communicate about ’cause and effect’ or, in the case of addiction, ‘craving and consequence’. The longer a person is addicted to a substance, the less those two parts of the brain communicate together. This results in someone using even if the consequences are painful or even devastating to their quality of life. At that moment in time, the cravings are strong and the connection with the consequences of using too weak to prevent a person from grabbing for the substance. The ‘crocodile setup’ helps to reconnect and strengthen the connection between those two parts of the brain by using 2 brainspots: one that resonates with the cravings, one that resonates with the consequences.
At one time, the substance helped you cope with life in some way; however, over time its control over you increased and it started to hinder and hurt you more and more. Brainspotting can help us to see this relationship and its impact on your life more clearly and gets to the root of the problem, the WHY for the addiction, the pain underneath.
You can read more about Brainspotting and addiction here (in Dutch):
Check-ins: One of the services I offer are daily/ every few days 15min check-ins to support recovery or to bridge a period where risk of relapse is present.