A New Way In Dealing With Unwanted Emotions
I believe this simple technique/procedure called, “FreeSpotting” is the major breakthrough of this century for psychological self help.
It is my hope that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will use this procedure in the future to desensitize unwanted emotional states. It will definitely save lives.
Think about what we as humans do to avoid painful emotions. Our addictions include alcohol, drugs, gambling, food to the excess, meditation, and distractions like reading fictional books, playing video games, sex, 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 that will mask, avoid, or desensitize these painful thoughts and emotions.
What would happen if we confronted our unwanted emotions rather than avoiding them?
The 13th century poet Rumi wrote, “the cure for pain is in the pain”.
FreeSpotting is a recent discovery (2017) made by Fiona De Vos, a therapist in the Philippines. In my experience this technique will often produce almost magical results in just a few minutes.
All that is required is spending those few minutes focusing on the issue that is bothering you and on an outside object. The object could be a spot on a wall, a marked spot on your finger, or focusing on the tip of a writing pen or pencil.
This is a 2 minute video example:
If I found myself with a limited amount of time and in a highly emotional state, “FreeSpotting” is what I would do first. Just a few days ago, I successfully used it on myself. I say to myself when doing the procedure, “It’s OK to feel this” repeatedly in my mind while feeling the feeling/s.
This technique is highly efficient and effective. It will, in a very short period of time defuse almost any unwanted emotion. This is not simply a coping strategy. It can be transformative.
Since anger, fear, and other “unpleasant” emotions are useful in some contexts, be very careful what you choose to desensitize. Unresourseful states like helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, powerlessness, and self-judgment are good candidates for change.
1. On something you are embarrassed about, a negative memory experience or situation, it could be an annoying person. It could be a belief like, “I’m not good enough”. Or nobody loves me. It could be life threatening situation like a car accident. Did someone say something unsetting to you. It could be the grief you feel from the loss of a loved one. It could be an unwanted emotion that you want to change like hopelessness.
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 the moment you knew something bad was about to happen?
3. Scale your feelings from 0-10. 10 being the strongest possible feeling and 0 feeling neutral. If your feelings are above an 8, see an EMDR therapist for help. https://www.emdria.org/find-an-emdr-therapist/
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 feelings of the memory/memories, thoughts or feelings that come up WITHOUT JUDGING your thoughts and feelings as bad or wrong. Just remember to keep focusing on that spot.
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 in order to be 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 5 years (and counting). However, trauma from early childhood, repeated trauma, and trauma from unknown sources (perhaps from parents/ancestors, or from 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”. -Fiona De Vos
Additional Information on FreeSpotting
This FreeSpotting technique has been around for about five years. FreeSpotting is a spin-off from BrainSpotting (2003) which was a spin-off from EMDR (1987).
On this video Fiona gives some background information on how she came up with this recently new breakthrough on healing :
The mentioned study:
Feedback will be appreciated: