Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) uses psychodynamic theory, attachment theory, learning theory and conditioning, polyvagal theory and an interpersonal neurobiological approach. SP explores in real time the way in which a client has come to feel, perceive, believe, respond, and behave. SP uses the following principles in action: Organicity, Unity, Mind-Body-Spirit Holism, Non-Violence, Mindfulness and Presence, Relational Alchemy, Resource|Full Perspective, and The Body as Resource.
Where traditional CBT offers a top-down, think-you-way-through methodology, SP offers a bottom-up, sense, observe, feel, and move your way through process for, not just treating, managing, or regulating symptoms but, reorganizing the organism so that healthy and adaptive processes can return, and unhealthy processes are no longer activated, this effects intra- and interpersonal functioning. We are successful in this by moving through material while witnessing the building blocks of a client's here and now experience which is often a revisiting of their then and there experiences. The therapist and client work together to notice and contact what is happening in session; the therapist uses social engagement to help regulate the client; manages the level of consciousness in the room by tracking, directing attention, asking questions; and, inviting experiments, all while modeling a curious, and compassionate witnessing. The therapist therefore is: as an auxillary neocortex - mirroring, reflecting, supporting, regulating, and modeling curiousity and exploration; a safe-other; a collaborator, attuned to the present moment experience and the wisdom of the body; and, in this way helps the client to integrate rather than avoid. The therapeutic alliance offers a safe space to process unhelpful beliefs, difficulty in being with the self and with others, and trauma, it provides a missing attachment experience, facilitates an act of triumph, and reorganizes the client's procedural tendencies and system of responding. The client is an equal partner in this collaborative approach and is considered the expert of their own experience with the innate drive to grow, heal, integrate, unlearn/relearn, and in partnership with the therapist, experience ways in which to bring this about.
The experiments involve cultivating safe space through attunement and curious attention, observing experience, noticing or following sensations and impulses within body, exploring and allowing the way in which emotion is present, understanding in an embodied sense the process of meaning making and the effect of belief, and engaging in experiments within sessions. The shift and transformation for clients happens in the room and so there is opportunity for change to necessarily be witnessed, savoured , and deepened, so that change becomes enduring.