- The 13th century poet Rumi wrote, “the cure for pain is in the pain”.
The “FreeSpoting” self help technique is an easy to learn technique that is highly efficient and effective. It will defuse almost any unwanted emotion in a very short time (less than 5 minutes). Any unwanted emotion! It’s not simply a coping strategy – it can be transformative!
This maybe the most important discovery in mental health field of the 21st Century! If you want to learn an easy to learn self help technique for controlling your emotions – This is it!
All that is needed is spending four to five minutes (or less!) focusing on an outside object as you experience the feelings of the emotional issue that is bothering you. You have to feel that unwanted emotional state for this technique to be successful. The object could be a spot on a wall, a marked spot on your finger, or the tip of a pen or pencil. I find it easier to stare on a spot on the wall or ceiling. It takes just two or five minutes of staring on the object and allowing those memories, thoughts, and feelings to be processed.
Watch this 2 minute video example of me having Damian Mark Smith in the UK apply this technique in a segment of his 2022, podcast Therapist to Millions:
FreeSpotting is a recent discovery (2017) made by Fiona De Vos, a therapist in the Philippines. She named the technique “FreeSpotting” , because it is free. FreeSpotting is a spin-off from BrainSpotting (created in 2003), which was itself spun off from EMDR (created in 1987).
While brainspotting usually requires the guidance of a therapist, Freespotting is a simplified version that you can do on your own, provided your emotions are not overwhelmingly intense.
I have successfully used this technique with clients experiencing an emotional feeling of ten on a scale of one to ten (10), with one being neutral and ten being the worst, most overwhelming feeling.
Think about what we humans do to avoid painful emotions. We fall into addictions, including alcohol, drugs, gambling, excessive food, meditation, or distractions like reading fictional books, video games, sex, and movies. Workaholism is a common coping mechanism, as it’s easier to ignore one’s inner demons when you’re working and don’t have time to think about them. The list is endless. We will do almost anything to mask, avoid, or desensitize these painful thoughts and emotions.
What would happen if we confronted our unwanted emotions for a few minutes rather than avoiding them? The results could be miraculous! I hope the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will use this lifesaving procedure in the future, because it will save the lives of people experiencing hopelessness.
If I were experiencing intense emotions and had little time to process them, I’d choose the FreeSpotting technique first. Just a few days ago, I successfully used it on myself. When doing the procedure, I repeatedly tell myself in my mind “It’s okay to feel this,” while experiencing the feeling or feelings.
What might you want to change? Counterproductive states like helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, powerlessness, and self-judgment are good candidates.
1. Use freespotting on something you are embarrassed about, such as a negative memory, experience, situation, or even an annoying person. It could be a belief like, “I’m not good enough”, or “Nobody loves me”. It could be a life-threatening situation like a car accident or someone saying something unsettling to you. It could be the grief you feel from losing a loved one. It could be interrupting a panic attack. It could be an unwanted emotion you want to change.
2. If your emotions are not intense enough, imagine the details of the experience. What happened? What did you see, hear or feel? What did someone do to you? How did you feel when you knew something terrible was about to happen? Point to where you feel it.
3. Scale your feelings from 0-10, with 10 being the strongest possible feeling and 0 feeling neutral. If your feelings are above an 8, see a brainspotting therapist for help.
4. Stare at the tip of a pen, a spot on your finger, or a spot on a wall. It’s okay to feel the emotions of the memories, thoughts, or feelings that come up, as long as you don’t judge your thoughts and feelings as bad or wrong. Just remember to keep focusing on that spot for 2-5 minutes.
5. When the emotions are no longer intense, and no other memories or thoughts come up, you can stop. You can do this anywhere, as long as it is safe to focus on being more resourceful.
Fiona De Vos wrote: “My own experience is that trauma from experiences from teenage years and later, as well as from one-time events, are quick to change and stay healed (no triggers, no emotional pain) for at least five years (and counting). However, trauma from early childhood, repeated trauma (C-PTSD), and trauma from unknown sources (perhaps from parents/ancestors or collective experiences) may need more work.
I wouldn’t describe the change (whenever the pain comes back) as something that “quickly goes away” though. I feel it simply means there are more in the reservoir of negative emotions to process. And if we keep going the negative emotions will eventually run out”.
FreeSpotting with Kids
Fiona talks about this German psychological study in 2016, comparisons with a well-known trauma procedure (EMDR) that uses multiple eye movements with a fairly new procedure (brainspotting) showed that movements have no advantage compared to visually fixating on a nonmoving hand.
The mentioned study:
Women have been using a focal point during labor for many years. FreeSpotting might have made your entry into this nonaquatic world easier for you and your mother.
In a world where distractions abound, perhaps dedicating a few minutes to our emotions could yield miraculous results. So, next time you feel overwhelmed, find your spot and engage in some FreeSpotting. Your emotional well-being might just thank you! 🌟