Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Because Words Alone Are Not Enough

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) can be thought of as a body-based talk therapy. Traumatic experiences can have an overwhelming impact on the body, manifested as somatic symptoms. SP joins cognitive and somatic therapeutic techniques together to address how beliefs that come out of traumatic or upsetting experiences are held in thoughts, emotions and the body.

We will first work to understand your current Window of Tolerance and through time we will work to expand it. Practicing mindfulness is a part of every SP treatment session. You are first invited to slow down, notice and report on  your present moment experience as you talk about the issues that are bothering you. You might be asked if you are willing to put the story to the side, so that  the story beneath the story that is told by your body can be discovered. Examples might include asking what you notice about the quality of your breath or tension in parts of your body as you recall the fight you had with your friend or partner or something that is still upsetting you now. After inviting noticing, you might be asked if you are willing to experiment with a movement such as pulling your shoulders back to create expansion in your chest, extending your arm with a raised hand in a stop motion, or pushing against a pillow or the wall. Through this experimentation, you may discover a way to complete a movement or action that you now wish that you could have made at the time that the traumatic or upsetting situation happened, but just couldn’t at the time of the event for a host of reasons. This completion often invites an experience of triumph or a feeling of empowerment, which can then be savored and taken into future experiences.

A major emphasis of SP is to support development of resources within yourself to help you more easily shift out of reactivity or shutdown into a mode of higher functioning where you can think more clearly and manage your emotions more effectively. You will learn to recognize cues not only from your thinking and emotions, but also from your body sensations, movements and your five senses. Together we will engage in curious and mindful study of the cues that these organizers of experience offer and we will explore and engage in experiments that lead to healing and transformation within your personal life and your relationships.

Melanie Villanueva, LMSW is trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Level I and she uses it in conjunction with EMDR Therapy.

See Dr. Pat Ogden, developer of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy speak about the SP approach here:

If you would like to learn more about how SP can help you feel free to contact us here.