Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (SPI) is a professional educational organization that designs and provides the highest-level trainings and services to serve a global network of mental health practitioners*, and for the public at large. Seeking to enhance human relationships, our paradigm is substantiated by interpersonal neurobiology and impelled by mindfulness applied in interactive contexts.
To deliver an unparalleled state-of-the-art somatic psychotherapy worldwide through education, practice, and research.
To harness the innate wisdom of the body to liberate human potential.
Dr. Pat Ogden, Founder of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a complete therapeutic modality for trauma and attachment issues. SP welcomes the body as an integral source of information which can guide resourcing and the accessing and processing of challenging, traumatic, and developmental experience. SP is a holistic approach that includes somatic, emotional, and cognitive processing and integration.
SP enables clients to discover and change habitual physical and psychological patterns that impede optimal functioning and well-being. SP is helpful in working with dysregulated activation and other effects of trauma, as well as the limiting belief systems of developmental issues.
SP helps clients cultivate their strengths, while providing enough challenge to stimulate growth, long lasting change, and well-being.
The interview below of Dr. Ogden on The Trauma Therapist Podcast features discussion of a composite case, which helps highlight the use of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in practice.
Working With Trauma From the Bottom Up
Ongoing Development of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Dr. Ogden is currently developing Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for children, adolescents, families, and couples with colleagues.
Several research studies to gather data on the effectiveness of SP are underway or in the process of publication at the following institutions:
- Maudsley Hospital (London, UK)
- Womens’ College Hospital (Toronto, Ontario)
- Modum Bad Outpatient Clinic (Oslo, Norway)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can Sensorimotor Psychotherapy help with?
- Having difficulty concentrating due to fear, upsetting thoughts, or unwelcomed physical (body) sensations
- Intense and disturbing emotional reactions that seem out of place with the present situation
- Post-traumatic stress: abuse, attack, accidents, flashbacks, nightmares. Feeling frozen or stuck in familiar circumstances without understanding why
- Difficulty enjoying life, feeling hopeful, and experiencing pleasure
- Relationship related wounds: neglect, harsh parenting during childhood, divorce, child-parent separations
- Persistent and regular negative thoughts about one’s ability to achieve, be successful and deserving
- Difficulty maintaining a job, a family, friendships and other relationships
- Feeling detached from one’s self and the world
How does Sensorimotor Psychotherapy work?
SP uses a three-phase treatment approach to gently guide the client through the therapeutic process – Safety and Stabilization, Processing, and Integration. Therapist and client collaboration are essential to the SP approach. The therapist must pay close attention to the client to ensure that they are not overwhelmed by the process while simultaneously engaging their own abilities and capacities for healing.
It is thought that SP strengthens instinctual capacities for survival and assists clients to re-instate or develop resources which were unavailable or missing at the time the trauma or wounding occurred. Once resources are developed and in place, the traumatic event can be processed with the aid of resources.
SP is a well-developed approach with decades of success in the treatment of trauma and developmental wounds. With positive therapeutic outcomes solidly in place, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute aspires to embark on a program of research to study more closely how SP works and establish a strong, evidence base.
What do clients say about Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?
-R.L. Level I Alumnus
What is SP’s Connection to Ron Kurtz's Hakomi Method?
With Kurtz’s blessing and support, Dr. Ogden founded her own institute in 1981. Initially named Hakomi Bodywork, and later Hakomi Integrative Somatics, Dr. Ogden pursued her interest in trauma, movement, and posture. Inspired by her work with sexual abuse survivors, Ogden developed an interest in trauma work that used the body as a vehicle for transformation, rather than as a means to access psychological issues, and in 2002, Ogden renamed her school, the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute.