Ever asked yourself, “What’s wrong with me?”
You’ve committed yourself to healing, mindfulness, affirmations and read a ton of self-help books and despite this, the above question haunts you. You have a vague sense that previous challenging experiences from your past may be at the root, but haven’t you talked enough about these things already?
You already know you can go over and over the trauma or upset in your mind, but nothing shifts. You’re sick of feeling trapped by your own mind and you just want your symptoms of anxiety and feeling numb and disconnected to end.
It’s hard to be present for your life when you’re anxious about the future or ruminating about your past. Thus, life may be just a painful familiar cycle of using avoidance/numbing behavior during the day and having wakeful restless nights.
With all of this, you know that if you could let go of the burden, you would have more energy for your life. You could have more mental space to feel free and do what you love. But you just don’t know how. You know you need professional help.
Great news for you!
You can get the help you need and overcome challenging experiences from your past that may still be holding you back from the life you want for yourself. Read on to learn more about Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and how it can help you feel better!
What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?
Created by Pat Ogden, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy welcomes the body as an integral source of information for processing past experiences relating to upsetting or traumatic events and early wounds from childhood. It integrates current findings from neuroscience to transform traumatic memories into strengths and resources for the client.
Listen to Dr. Pat Ogden on Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to help resolve trauma.
Proponents of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy™ hold that traumatic experiences may become trapped deep within the body. Traditional talk therapies often fail to unearth these unconscious issues.
Per its namesake, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy helps you focus on the bodily experiences of sensations and physiological shifts (sensory-) along with changes in posture and movement (motor) related to earlier, tough experiences.
What can Sensorimotor Psychotherapy help?
SP can bridge the gap when traditional “talk” therapy has not helped. SP can help with trauma and attachment related issues such as:
- Difficulty concentrating due to fear, upsetting thoughts, or unwelcomed physical (body) sensations
- Intense and disturbing emotional reactions that seem incongruent with the present situation
- Post-traumatic stress: abuse, attack, accidents, flashbacks, nightmares. Feeling frozen or stuck in familiar circumstances without understanding why
- Difficulty enjoying life, feeling hopeful, and experiencing pleasure
- Early relationship wounds: neglect, harsh parenting, divorce, child-parent separations
- Persistent and regular negative thoughts about oneself
- Difficulty maintaining a job, a family, friendships and other relationships
- Feeling detached from one’s self and the world
How does Sensorimotor Psychotherapy work?
Sensorimotor psychotherapy emphasizes helping you to develop resources within yourself so you can better regulate your emotions, or to move out of the fight/flight/freeze response and into a higher-functioning mode where you can think clearly and feel less overwhelmed or shut down.
A traumatic experience can damage your nervous system’s ability to feel solid and resilient and to feel socially connected in meaningful ways. After experiencing a traumatic event, an individual’s relationship with their body may also be impacted. For example, the nervous system may not regulate emotions effectively, causing feelings of vulnerability, being overwhelmed, or frightened.
Therapist and client collaboration are essential to the SP approach. SP uses a three-phase treatment approach to gently guide the client through the therapeutic process:
- Establishing safety, stabilization and symptom reduction
- Working with traumatic memory
Establishing safety is considered paramount as it can allow you to have a better sense yourself and your body. Your therapist will help you become more aware of things like body positions, gestures, and breathing patterns. A safe environment helps to highlight the body’s response to specific memories, thoughts, and emotions. As you become more aware of your body, you gain a better sense of what you need to feel safe and grounded and are better able to take actions to ensure this.
In phase 2, if and when you’re ready to speak about the trauma experienced, you and I together will take special note of any emotional changes and bodily responses being experienced. For example, if you report feelings of anger, then I may ask where in the body that anger is felt. “Is it felt between your eyes, in the throat, or in the chest, perhaps? Do you feel your breathing rate increasing?” Details of the trauma do not necessarily need to be recalled for the treatment to be effective.
In Phase 3, as understanding of the body’s language increases, I assist you in the process of reintegration by helping you to complete any survival-based movement or action in order to achieve a feeling of completion and closure. For example, a person who experienced domestic violence this may involve raising an arm in defense, for a victim of childhood sexual abuse it may involve finally saying the word “NO.”
These exercises can help the person in therapy savor a feeling of triumph as it becomes possible to move past these traumatic memories and set aside fears. You will ideally experience the calmness and lightness associated with overcoming trauma.
Can I do Sensorimotor Psychotherapy online? Is it as effective?
Yes, to both questions. With COVID-19 in effect, some people really like online therapy because they don’t have to battle traffic and they get to be in the comfort of their own home. We also support people practicing social distancing as much as possible. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy can be easily done while using a video platform. We encourage using a video platform so that we can at least see your upper body and help you to become more aware of what’s happening inside you.
Struggling in your life doesn’t have to be a life sentence
Unfortunately, trauma won’t resolve on its own and you can’t just think your way out of it. Because trauma is something that happens to the body, it needs a body-centered approach for true resolution. If you could have already thought your way out of trauma, I trust that you would have. However, with the help of a trained and compassionate therapist, you can find relief through Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and you can get back to living your best life possible.
I am a currently in the Level I training for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. I am committed to on-going education and have completed further trainings in healthy and appropriate touch-based methods to support increased nervous system regulation. I operate from a trauma informed lens with a focus on nervous system regulation as a foundational piece to healing.
If you’re interested in learning more about me, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy or what else Somatic Therapy Partners has to offer please reach out be filling in the contact form below.
There is so much love for you here!
For further references and information online about Sensorimotor Psychotherapy go to https://sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/