Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a somatic therapy that 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 engage with themselves and others.   

Where traditional Cognitive approaches offers a top-down, think-your-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 adaptive.  Using both approaches systematically can be helpful for identifying issues, shifting experience, and exploring meaning.

 

The therapist and client work together to notice and contact what is happening in session;  the therapist uses social engagement to help the client to regulate; 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, functions as an auxiliary neocortex -  mirroring, reflecting, and supporting curiousity and exploration.

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 therapist and the therapeutic alliance offers space to process unhelpful beliefs, difficulty in being with the self and with others, and trauma, providing missing attachment experiences, facilitating act of triumph, and reorganizing the client's unhelpful strategies and habits to build a more conscious, intentional, helpful system of responding.