Brain Based Somatic Healing 

At Moonridge Academy, we provide effective and comprehensive treatment. This requires evidenced based treatment. Moonridge Academy is proud to be engaged in research in best practices for adolescent treatment using outcome tools and other measures. In addition, the treatment we provide must be rigorously researched and shown to be effective. Brain based treatments understand the impact of physical, emotional, and relational injuries on the brain and it's development and seeks to heal our student's injuries from the "bottom-up". This language reflects the way a brain develops from the brainstem and inner components to the frontal lobe. Emotional reactions, survival instincts, and defense systems are all located in the lower parts of our brains. Students in need of treatment often respond with these parts of their brains without recognizing the impact on their relationships, gaining insight, or using cognitive reflection. Brain based and somatic healing helps our students connect the lower parts of their brains to the parts that include this insight and learning. This results in our students learning how to cope and manage their raw emotions and impulsive reactions. While a "top-down" clinical approach focuses on helping clients to think differently, that technique for our young population at Moonridge often falls short and is one of the reasons traditional talk therapy may have failed for them in the past. Developmentally, young adolescents' frontal lobes and upper parts of the brain are still forming and growing. Young adolescents need the experiential and somatic work that addresses the parts of their brains impacted by their previous experiences.

EMDREye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that is designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.  EMDR helps students at Moonridge Academy heal as they process difficult traumatic events and life experiences.  Studies have shown that psychological or emotional trauma can be stored in our brains just like physical trauma can be stored in our bodies.  The EMDR Institute explains (, "When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similiar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using specific and detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR session, clinicians help their clients activate their natural healing processes".

BRAINSPOTTING: Brainspotting, like EMDR, is a brain-based somatic treatment. From "Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms." Using biolateral sound, brainspotting engages deep parts of the brain to release stored traumatic memories and experiences. Key to brainspotting success is the relationship between therapist and client. Attunement in that relationship provides a safe, nurturing therapeutic presence for clients to feel heard, accepted, and understood while allowing their brains to process hurtful and overwhelming content. Again, from "Brainspotting gives us a tool, within this clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity. Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences."