Miriam Schacter Registered Psychotherapist, CTP Dipl. RP, BA
In our sessions, we may opt to combine meaningful dialogue with something termed the sensorimotor approach. Sensorimotor psychotherapy is essentially a form of therapy that includes the practice of mindfulness and a gentle awareness of the body.
"Sensorimotor Psychotherapy blends theory and technique from cognitive and dynamic therapy with straightforward somatic awareness and movement interventions... that promote empowerment and competency."
- Dr. Daniel Siegel, Executive Director, Mindsight Institute
Sensorimotor approaches are often used in treating situational trauma, such as car accidents, assault, abrupt life-transitions and other shocking events. It can also be used in the process of uncovering important resources that may not have been accessed or developed due to developmental and relational-trauma, such as long-term family conflict, and/or abuse. Clients with developmental trauma often express feelings of being stuck, depressed, overwhelmed, numb, "floaty", enraged or flooded and hijacked by sensations or "feeling-states" such as fight, flight, submit or freeze. In this form of work, we engage in a safe and slow process of integration and transformation en route to nurturing experiences of stability, centeredness, and healthy vitality.
I sought out further education in sensorimotor psychotherapy partly due to my belief in the importance of non-verbal expressions of experience within a dialogue-based approach, but also in effort to continue co-sculpting a comprehensive "tool-box' for working with clients who seek assistance with traumatic memory, emotional processing, meaning making, and attachment repair.
The following video offers a somewhat traditional explanation of trauma and the nervous system from a polyvagal perspective; sensorimotor psychotherapy provides an excellent opportunity or pathway to help you regulate your ANS (autonomic nervous system) after situational/event or developmental/childhood trauma.