Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

“In sensorimotor treatment, we are taught to become aware of trauma-related tendencies of orientation and to redirect our attention from the past and toward the present moment through our awareness in our bodies.”

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Pat Ogden, the founder of SP believes in the body’s innate intelligence. She became highly aware of the correlation between her clients’ disconnection from their bodies, their physical patterns and their psychological issues. Recognizing the link between the body and psychological issues, she began to form the foundations of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy by joining somatic therapy and psychotherapy into a comprehensive method for healing this disconnection between body and mind. SP draws on the “wisdom” of the body and draws from somatic therapies, neuroscience, attachment theory, and cognitive approaches.

How can SP help?

Traumatic experiences can damage implicit processes such as regulating emotions, being able to engage with others and defense mechanisms against threat. After experiencing a traumatic event, an individual’s relationship with their body may be impacted causing feelings of vulnerability or being overwhelmed.

Trauma not only affects our mind and emotions, but our physical selves as well. From dissociative symptoms, sleep disturbances to autoimmune disorders, healing often starts with the body. When words are not enough to help a client heal, a somatic approach to trauma treatment can be highly effective. SP works with developmental trauma, attachment wounding, abuse and other traumatic experiences. Using SP, therapists work on mindfulness and collaboration with the client, to attune to what the body is telling them and releasing “thwarted” responses stuck in the central nervous system. Clients are able to develop resources within themselves to be able to self regulate their emotions, and to move out of the flight/fight/freeze responses into a higher-functioning mode where they can think and feel clearly, feeling less reactive with an ability to regulate interactively with others.

Healing the body

It is important to understand how trauma is stored in the body physically. Many people experience physical complaints of migraines, stomach and GI issues, muscle tension, inability to sleep or concentrate, pressure in chest, racing heart, shaking in hands or other parts of the body. Many times people will find themselves in the ER for fear they are having a heart attack, to be released later realizing that they were experiencing a panic attack or severe anxiety. Memory and experiences are encoded in the body physically as well as mentally and emotionally. Unresolved and unprocessed traumatic experiences of the past can be triggered in our current day to day life and the body will respond somatically. EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy help the body as well as the brain to process through the unresolved or “stuck” sensations.