skip to content

“FreeSpotting” : An Emotional Reset In Minutes

The 13th century poet Rumi wrote, “the cure for pain is in the pain”.

Amidst the myriad of complex therapies and interventions, a revolutionary technique stands out for its simplicity and profound impact: FreeSpotting. This method is not just another band-aid for emotional turmoil; it is a transformative practice that empowers you to master your emotions with ease.

This technique is so powerful that it warrants a “warning” : Before you use this technique to alter an emotional state, first consider how the change of the emotion will affect the major areas of your life: social, relational, financial, spiritual and health.

The “FreeSpotting” self-help technique is an easy-to-learn method that is highly efficient and effective. It can defuse almost any unwanted emotion in a very short time (less than 5 minutes). Yes, any unwanted emotion! It’s not merely a coping strategy; it can be transformative!

FreeSpotting operates on the principle of focused attention combined with emotional processing. Here’s a simple outline on how it works (read the entire page before you attempt the process):

  1. Selection of an Object: You choose a simple, stationary object to focus on. This could be a spot on the wall, a mark on your finger, or the tip of a pen. The object serves as an anchor for your attention. Your eyes should be focusing up or mid level at the object.
  2. Time Constraint: You set a timer for five minutes. This limited time frame helps to create a sense of urgency and focus.
  3. Emotional Engagement: While focusing on the chosen object, you allow yourself to fully experience the unwanted emotion. This step is crucial because it’s not about distracting yourself from the emotion but rather confronting and processing it.
  4. Processing: As you maintain your gaze and attention on the object, your mind begins to process the emotions and associated thoughts. This can lead to a cognitive shift where the emotional intensity diminishes, and you gain a new perspective on the issue.
  5. Resolution: After the five-minute period, many people report a sense of relief or a decrease in the emotional intensity. The technique can lead to a transformative experience, as the emotion that once felt overwhelming becomes manageable or even neutralized.

The effectiveness of FreeSpotting lies in its simplicity and the user’s willingness to engage with their emotions directly. It’s designed to be a self-help tool that can be used independently, without the need for long-term medication or extended therapy sessions.

“FreeSpotting” may be the most important discovery in the mental health field of the 21st century! If you want to learn a simple self-help technique for controlling your emotions, this is it!

This is me on a 2-minute video with Damian Mark Smith in the UK applying this technique on a limiting belief during 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.

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.

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 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest possible feeling and 1 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 5 minutes.

5. After 5 minutes 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

Additional Information

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!

Before participating in any of the blog’s recommendations, I recommend that you consult with a physician or other Medical and Mental Health Provider.

If you choose to ignore the above advice and decide to use this material for your own or another’s recovery from prior trauma – for instance you are a trained facilitator or therapist – you are accepting full responsibility for your own actions and through this you absolve the author of any liability for any repercussions from your actions.



Back to Top