In an old fairy tale, a fisherman catches a small, golden fish that speaks to him and asks for its life. The man throws him back into the sea, and the grateful fish offers to grant a wish. The fisherman thinks about it, and then tells the fish he has everything he needs. His wife, however, has many wishes. She repeatedly sends the fisherman back to the fish with demands for more and more wealth and power.
I remembered the fish as I was considering how to teach my clients about a technique I use called Brain Spotting, or BSP.
A development from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, BSP focuses the client’s attention on a spot in the visual field that connects with trauma stored in the brain. By holding attention on that spot and observing thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they arise, the client’s mind/body system can process and resolve trauma. BSP can also be used to build and deepen resources like confidence or even to master behaviors like a backswing or a musical performance.
I’ve done hundreds of BSP sessions, and I have experienced the method myself on many occasions. And while it isn’t scientific language I’m using, I have to say BSP is like standing on the shore and talking with the golden fish.
When the rational self has been unsuccessful at thinking or willing a problem away, it’s time to try a different approach, to consult with another aspect of our intelligence. Like the fish, a brain spot is a different animal that connects us to a world unencumbered, instinctive, more fluid and less plotted. It’s an underwater part of us that is wise and trustworthy in a vaster way than our dry land selves. It solves problems differently in ways that seem haphazard or even magical. But it is the most ordinary of magic.