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  • Writer's pictureElliot Huemann

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Healing Body & Mind

Over the past 5 years being a therapist I've learned so much. While I'm so grateful for the education I got at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, I've also realized that to meet the needs of my clients I had to get some further training. There are so many great modalities out there, but I've been drawn to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) because of its integration of body work and Attachment Theory. Unfortunately, most people have never even heard of SP, so in this blog I'd like to introduce you to this way of working and how effective it can be!

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the body and its role in our emotional and psychological experiences. This approach, which was developed by Dr. Pat Ogden, is based on the idea that our bodies hold the key to understanding and resolving many of our psychological difficulties.

According to Dr. Ogden the body is a primary site of emotional experience and regulation. Our sensations, movements, postures, and facial expressions all provide valuable information about our internal states and our relationships with the world around us. If can learn to connect and stay with our body experience it can lead us to insights and freedoms we need to become whole. There's a great quote from her that I love,

"The body always leads us home . . . if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling."

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy seeks to help individuals become more aware of their bodily sensations, movements, and postures, and to use this information to gain insight into their emotional experiences. By paying attention to the body, clients can begin to understand the link between their physical sensations and their emotions, and can learn to use their body to regulate their emotions and manage difficult feelings.

One of the key principles of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is the idea of "bottom-up" processing, which means that the body and its sensations are given priority in the therapeutic process. This is in contrast to more traditional forms of psychotherapy, which tend to focus on "top-down" processing, or the analysis of thoughts and beliefs. While both can be helpful, I find that in certain situations reversing the direction of attention and engaging directly with the body can free up feelings of stuckness or chronic overwhelm.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy can be helpful for a wide range of psychological issues, including trauma, anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also be beneficial for individuals who have difficulty regulating their emotions or who have a history of physical or sexual abuse.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy has totally changed how I approach my work. It offers a unique approach to psychotherapy that focuses on the body and its role in our emotional and psychological well-being. By paying attention to the body and using its sensations as a guide, we can gain insight into our emotional experiences and learn to regulate our emotions in a healthy and effective way. I've seen it change people's lives, offering insight and freedom that we just couldn't get to with traditional talk therapy.

If you're interested in learning more about SP or any other part of my work I'd love to connect. I believe that therapy offers one way to rediscovering your life and feeling fully alive!

*This post was written in collaboration with generative AI.

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