Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a body-centered approach developed by Pat Ogden that aims to treat the somatic symptoms of unresolved traumatic events. While traditional talk therapies begin with language as the entry point for treatment, this type of therapy depends on the physical experiences of the individual in the present moment as the entryway to awareness and improved mental health.
After many years of extensive research in the areas of neuroscience and trauma, we now know that trauma is stored in the body. What does that mean? Often there is a disconnect between what is recalled in the form of words and our actual physical and emotional experience. You may cognitively know that an event is over, but your body continues to react as if you are still experiencing the event. When this occurs, it is often more helpful to start from the bottom up, meaning paying attention to what is going on in the body first.
Working in collaboration, the therapist helps the client to mindfully track what is occurring in the here and now from a place of curiosity and compassion. From there, an experience is explored and processed more fully with focus on the entire experience including sensations, emotions, cognitions, movement, and images. While Sensorimotor Psychotherapy can be used to address specific traumatic events and memories, it is also used to develop new resources to regulate arousal of the nervous system and emotions.