Sensorimotor Psychotherapy | Central London
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that draws from a number of theoretical approaches including cognitive, analytical and mindfulness based approaches but importantly and unlike many ‘talking therapies’, this approach integrates somatic awareness and attunement. It is a type of therapy that has been shown to be particularly useful for symptoms of Trauma and PTSD or other mental health complaints that have a physiological element to it such as anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue. It can also help with symptoms of dissociation, psychological flatlining, issues of hyperarousal, fight or flight and freeze responses.
Sensorimotor psychotherapy combines and integrates cognitive, emotional and bodily processing. Facilitating this kind of process with a variety of techniques, including some focus on what is happening in the body, with the breath, exploring bodily movement and urges and experimenting with actions fundamentally assists with cognitive and emotional processing. It is a gentle trauma therapy approach yet one with the potential to offer a powerful and positive effect on calming and regulating the nervous system and our physiological and psychological functioning and wellbeing. This also helpfully affects thought processes and habits in cognitive functioning.
Many talking therapies such as pure cognitive and analytical approaches are helpful for making sense of our experience and to develop understanding, awareness and insight. This growth in self-awareness is almost always helpful to varying degrees, and can also be helpful in facilitating positive behavioural change in our lives. However, I see many clients who may have previously tried these types of therapies and are left with a feeling that it just didn’t quite reach some ‘thing’… a part that feels is held much deeper. Perhaps that is because it is held on a bodily level that cognitive or intellectual approaches simply will not be able to reach. World leading experts in trauma such as Bessel Van Der Kolk and Dan Siegel would argue that is most likely because that ‘thing’ is held much more deeply, in our body, in our nervous system and in our physiology. Somatic or body-based psychotherapy approaches are known as bottom-up processing. We use bodily sensations, impulses or urges as a starting point to explore from, and thus avoiding spending months, years or even decades intellectually analysing the experience. In sensorimotor therapy sessions we focus on what is happening in the here and now as we recall past experiences or memories, or when we think and talk about people or situations in our lives. There is a grounding in the moment and in the body. Because this approach works from bottom-up processing there is much less need to talk about all the ins and out and details of the experience and therefore there is less likelihood of being retraumatised or a re-experiencing of trauma in the session.
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