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The Girlfriend Doctor w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Sep 29, 2020

Grief is one of the most difficult emotions for humans to process. I’m joined by grief therapist, Deb Antinori, to talk about how you can support yourself with brainspotting, a technique designed to ground and calm yourself.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify what feels good, comfortable, or at least “less bad” in your body, then avert your gaze and try to return to a state of homeostasis. [26:00]
  • Be gentle with yourself right now. The world is going through a collective trauma, so cut yourself some slack. [34:00]

About Deb Antinori

Deborah Antinori, MA, LPC, FT, RDT is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 29 years in private practice. She is a Brainspotting Trainer and Certified Consultant. She has been using Brainspotting since its inception in 2003 as she met the developer of Brainspotting, David Grand, in the late ’90s when he was her supervisor for her private practice of therapy.

As a grief therapist, Deborah holds her FT, Fellow in Thanatology, from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She authored a chapter on Grief and Brainspotting in The Power of Brainspotting: An International Anthology. Deborah is the author and narrator of the double award-winning audiobook, Journey Through Pet Loss. (Audie Award - Audio Publishers Association, ForeWord Book of the Year Award – Silver)

She is a master's graduate of NYU’s Drama Therapy Dept. Originally an actress, she earned her BFA from the Boston Conservatory of Music and is still in the professional actor’s unions, AEA and SAG/AFTRA.

She has begun work on a Ph.D. through the International University for Graduate Studies and is hoping to be able to get to Innsbruck for an EEG study with her mentor, Damir DelMonte, Ph.D., on Brainspotting for her Ph.D. when the travel bans lift.

Grief Is Difficult Whether It’s a Pet or a Loved One

Deb joins me to talk about the intersection of grief and brainspotting. Grief is one of the most difficult emotions for humans to process, regardless of whether it’s from the death of a loved one, a pet, or a different experience of loss.

One of Deb’s specialties is working with people who have lost a pet. The death of our pets impacts many of us just as hard, if not harder than the loss of a loved one. 

We all know how good it feels to sit and cuddle with our pets when times are tough. That sense of comfort and wholeness gets so many of us through difficult times.

That’s one of the biggest reasons losing a pet is difficult. Deb explains what stages of grief look like when our pets die; they’re not altogether dissimilar to when we lose a loved one.

Deb talks us through a practice we can use when we’re settling into our feelings of grief. She explains how this practice can help calm us down. It’s called brainspotting, and Deb has been using it since 2003.

How Brainspotting Helps You Process

Brainspotting helps you process difficult information and return to a state of calm. The three stages brainspotting helps guide you through are survival, homeostasis, and restoration. Our brains are at their best when they’re in homeostasis and restoration.

In this episode, Deb actually guides us through the brainspotting process. We take a few minutes to guide ourselves into the right space and sitting, breathing, and feeling our brains return to homeostasis.

Just like every new technique, brainspotting is something you need to consistently practice in order for it to have a positive benefit on your life and mental health. When you use it regularly, you’ll have a much easier time of returning to that state of calm.

Finally, I really just want to give you permission to be kind to yourself. 2020 has been hard for all of us and it’s absolutely okay if you’re experiencing feelings of grief and overwhelm. I hope that Deb’s advice and brainspotting technique can help you return to your own natural state of homeostasis.

Do something to get yourself out of your comfort zone. Collage, dance, chase your dog, watch a new series on Netflix. Get out there so you can get back into your zone.

As always, you can ask me anything and let me hear your thoughts in the comments on the episode page. If you have questions, email


In This Episode:

  • Why we feel so good when we’re cuddling with our pets [5:30]
  • The stages of grief when we lose a pet [6:30]
  • A quick practice we can use when we’re experiencing moments of grief [12:00]
  • What brainspotting is and how you can use it for yourself [14:45]
  • What happens when you bring your brain back into homeostasis and restoration [17:50]
  • A simple technique to help you return to a state of calmness [24:00]
  • Why you need to practice brain spotting to strengthen your mastery of it [30:00]
  • Why you need to be gentle yourself during these huge times of global trauma and existentialism [34:00]



“Moving with the feeling in the moment is the best way to help things move in a direction where you can get to the better feelings in time about the wonderful memories.” [12:02]

“Each person will do brainspotting differently. They’ll find a way that works for them. Some people find the spot immediately, some other people struggle: that’s where we say, ‘just guess.’ Because, when you guess, you’re using your subcortical brain, and that’s what we really look at in the brain spotting.” [28:46]

“Just have an appreciation for what your core brain and system is trying to put together. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect yourself to be perfect. Don’t put that extra stress on yourself at this time when there are a lot of trauma signals.” [34:24]


Resources Mentioned

Learn more about Brainspotting

Find Deb Antinori Online

You can email Deb Antinori at

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Buy Keto-Green 16

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