Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and the Body
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a body-oriented talk therapy developed in the 1980’s by Pat Ogden. It blends cognitive and emotional approaches, talk therapy, and physical interventions that directly address the implicit memories and the effects of trauma on the brain.
The body is the focus of the trauma therapy, rather than the trauma “story.” In other words, we attend to how the body is processing information, and its effects on emotions and thoughts. Therefore, the body is important because a person “remembers” past trauma through the body reliving the traumatic event.
As a therapist who provides Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, I won’t be asking the details of your trauma. Rather, I will pay attention to your movements and gestures, changes in breath, changes in facial color or expression, etc. This will occur while you talk, because the body could be sharing something that the brain can’t make sense of. As a result, you will experience decreased symptoms because the root cause is being addressed.
Symptoms and Conditions Treated by Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
- Panic attacks
- Intense and emotional disturbing reactions that seem out of place to the present experience
- Feeling stuck or frozen in familiar situations without understanding why
- Difficulties concentrating due to fear, upsetting thoughts, or unwelcome body sensations
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulties enjoying life, feeling hopeful, or experiencing pleasure
- Persistent negative self-talk
- Low self-esteem or self-worth
- Conflict in relationships
- Difficulties maintaining relationships
What Causes Trauma
- Car accidents
- Physical abuse/assault
- Sexual abuse/assault
- Emotional Abuse
- Medical procedures
- Experiences of oppression (racism, ableism, heterosexism, transphobia, etc)
- Adverse childhood experiences (growing up with alcoholism or substance abuse in the home, a family member with mental illness, a parent going to jail, neglect, and/or poverty).
“Psychological trauma is the unique individual experience of an event, a series of events, or a set of enduring conditions, in which: the individual’s ability to integrate his/her/their emotional experience is overwhelmed.”
-Saakvitne et al
For more information please visit the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute here.