Brainspotting Music in Therapy

We often use Brainspotting music in therapy to help people with emotional processing. The main types of Brainspotting music are Bilateral or Biolateral sounds or stimulation. The healing sound enters the brain directly through the auditory nerves while the eardrums are vibrated bilaterally. Used at a low audible level during session, it serves as a background music which most people find calming and grounding. Brainspotting music can be used as continual stimulation throughout the therapy session, especially during the talking part. Brainspotting therapy is most powerful and effective when the experience is enhanced by Bilateral or Biolateral sounds.

For highly dissociative or fragile clients, Brainspotting therapy can be initiated without any bilateral sounds. The music can be added later as the client becomes more integrated, more flexible, and ready for a change in intensity. 

Bilateral Music

Bilateral music is incorporated into Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting therapy. Bilateral sound alternates between the left and right sides of the head in a steady, rhythmic pattern. The rhythmic shift is predictable, but can be alerting to some people.

Biolateral Music

Biolateral music was created by Dr. David Grand, the founder of Brainspotting therapy, and is used in Brainspotting therapy sessions. The sound is hand-panned to increase in volume in the left ear, then decrease in volume before slowing; then increase in volume in the right ear, then decrease with slowing, and continuing back and forth, as it rocks gently between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The sound is intended to be played through headphones at a very low, almost imperceptible volume during sessions. Many people find it calming and experience deeper processing as they access the subcortical or limbic (emotional) area of the brain.

The Benefits of Bilateral Stimulation

Bilateral stimulation is any left and right auditory or visual stimulation. It could be watching a hand moving backwards and forwards or it could be listening to tones. When the brain detects bilateral stimulation, an evolutionary mechanism kicks in designed to help us survive. For example, anxiety comes out of the emotional part of the brain, which is the deepest structure of the brain known as the subcortical or limbic system. That part of the brain generates the fight or flight response in our autonomic nervous system, which is the key to anxiety. This subcortical or limbic area in the brain is not easily changed by thought or insight; it responds best to sensory stimulation.

  • We are bilateral mammalian creatures, and bilateral sound feels organic to our physiology
  • The sound becomes part of the session processing as it gets woven into the experience
  • Soothing nature of the sound assists our internal coherence
  • The sound supports subcortical (midbrain) processing and accesses additional layers of the brain
  • The sound balances between the hemispheres
  • The sound support dual attention to both – bilateral sounds and processing awareness

The effects of bilateral music may include:

  1. A relaxation effect including decreased physiological arousal.
  2. Increased attentional flexibility – the person’s thoughts become less ‘stuck’ on whatever was bothering them.
  3. Distancing effect – the problem seems smaller and further away.
  4. Decreased worry.

Where To Find Bilateral Or Biolateral Music?

Bilateral and Biolateral music can be found online and through popular music platforms. I recommend trying it first with an attuned therapist to determine how your brain will respond. If you and your therapist believe it supports you, you may choose to listen to the music at other times during your week or only while working with your therapist. I recommend searching for “David Grand”, “Brainspotting”, “Bilateral”, or “EMDR“. A free option is also available.

Please note: we do not use binaural beats in Brainspotting therapy. Binaural beats is a way of combining two slightly different sound frequencies, one in each ear, to create the perception of a single new frequency tone in the brain. Different frequencies are used to promote relaxation and positivity or concentration and alertness. Please proceed with caution if trying binaural beats.

Brainspotting with Elaine Korngold

I am a Certified Brainspotting Therapist and an Approved Consultant and would be happy to talk to you about Brainspotting. I completed all levels of Brainspotting training, assisted in various trainings, and presented a workshop at the 2021 International Brainspotting Conference.

Brainspotting therapy accesses the genius of our deeper emotional brain where the trauma is stored. The processing that occurs during sessions with clients focused on a Brainspot is deep, rapid, and unpredictable. With your focused vision and my attuned presence and verbal guidance, emotional Brainspots can be released in a gentle and non-invasive way. There is no need to experience chronic emotional pain. Please contact me for a free consultation.