SP for the Treatment of Trauma

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for the treatment of trauma equips therapists to better understand the symptoms and issues related to trauma and traumatic attachment and to work with them in a more effective way. With a neurobiological understanding of the presenting problems of these clients and equipped with interventions that speak directly to how the issues are driven by the body and the nervous system, students will be able to work with clients with a range of challenges from stabilization to resolution and integration.

This course presents simple, body-oriented interventions for tracking, naming, and safely exploring trauma-related somatic activation, creating new competencies, and restoring a somatic sense of self. Students will learn effective, accessible interventions for working with disruptive behavioral patterns, disturbed cognitive and emotional processing, and the fragmented sense of self experienced by so many traumatized individuals. Techniques are taught within a phase-oriented treatment approach, focusing first on stabilization and symptom reduction. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy℠ can be easily and effectively integrated into psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and EMDR-focused treatments.

Level I: SP for the Treatment of Trauma consists of approximately 80 contact hours divided into 3 or more multi-day modules, for a total of 12-13 days. Modules are typically spaced 4-6 weeks apart; trainings typically complete within 5-7 months.

Successful completion of this course qualifies graduates to continue on to Level 2: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Developmental Injury

Introduction to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy℠

  • Foundational theoretical principles
  • The importance of the body in trauma and attachment treatment
  • Beginning skills of tracking the body, describing what is observed, and naming present moment bodily experience in the form of a contact statement

Introduction to Working with the Body

  • The role of the body in perpetuating symptoms of trauma and early attachment failures
  • How to work with physical action to harness the wisdom of the body in resolving symptoms

The Role of the Body in Procedural Learning

  • Survival resources and responses
  • Implicit and explicit memory
  • Sensitivity to trigger

Embedded Relational Mindfulness™

  • Working in the present moment
  • The use of mindfulness within the therapeutic alliance
  • Directed mindfulness intervention

Core Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Skills

  • Tracking
  • Contact statements
  • Framing present moment experience
  • Mindfulness questions and directives
  • Mindful experiments

Hierarchical Information Processing

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Sensorimotor top-down & bottom-u

Introduction to Phase Oriented Treatment

  • Stabilization and symptom reduction (developing resources)
  • Working with memory

The Five Stages of the Process

  • Container
  • Accessing
  • Processing
  • Transformation
  • Integration

Somatic Resources for Stabilization

  • The role of the body in addressing Phase One goals of stabilization and symptom reduction
  • Analysis of survival and creative resources to identify existing and missing somatic resources and employ interventions to help clients develop new resources
    Orienting and Defensive Responses
  • Interventions to reinstate adaptive, innate orienting and animal defensive responses truncated in the wake of trauma
  • The therapeutic use of touch and its pitfalls


  • How trauma and attachment affect boundary styles and techniques to restore adaptive, flexible somatic and psychological boundaries

Trauma-related Dissociation

  • Introduction to structural dissociation
  • The role of the body in maintaining dissociative parts and promoting integration

Memory Processing

  • Interventions to process and integrate implicit and explicit memories
  • Overcoming the fear of traumatic memory
  • Fnding peritraumatic resources
  • Restoring empowering actions

Sensorimotor Sequencing

  • Recalibrating the nervous system through somatic approaches for working with involuntary movement and dysregulated arousal at the regulatory boundaries of the window of tolerance

Integration and Resolution

  • Introduction to the legacy of attachment and loss
  • Primary and secondary emotions
  • The cognitive effects of trauma
  • Phase three themes of self-development, adaption to normal life, and relationships

View Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Development Documents



  • Theoretical underpinnings of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy℠
  • Relevant neuroscience
  • Descriptions of techniques and rationale

Clinical Examples

  • Case studies
  • Recorded clinical sessions


  • Both large and small group discussion offer opportunities to explore topics in depth and ask didactic and technical questions



  • Demonstration of concepts and skills

Experiential Exercises

  • Movement and visualization activities
  • Vignettes and exercises to practice Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills in small and large groups

Case Consultation

  • Opportunities to present clinical cases for feedback on the integration of SP during class discussion


  • Facilitating staff provides feedback to support the development of skills during class exercises


  • Practice exercises, maps, and worksheets may be provided to facilitate clinical understanding and application of course content
  • Peer partnerships and study groups to practice elements of SP method

Supplementary Reading

  • The following two books are suggested to accompany the learning in the training:
    • “Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy” by Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, and Clare Pain
    • “Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment,” by Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher

Training Program candidates must meet one or more of the following prerequisites:

  • Legally authorized in local state/province, or country to practice as a mental health professional
  • Graduate-level student currently enrolled in a mental health discipline at an accredited college or university
  • Post-graduate student actively engaged in the process of qualifying as a mental health professional legally authorized to practice

“I utilize SP as a stand-alone approach as well as incorporating it into my existing repertoire of therapeutic modalities. It has transformed my clients. Not only have they made progress, they have maintained their gains. They typically experience a sense of awe, as they become aware that they already possess the tools to heal. A client with complex trauma summed up the benefits of the SP approach, “There is more correspondence between my body and my brain!”


-Level I Alumni, Roseann Lynch, LLC

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a conceptually elegant, powerfully effective body therapy that involves a broad repertoire of somatic interventions specifically designed to help clients tap into the wisdom of their bodies. The SPI Training Program offers ingeniously taught intensive courses for clinicians seeking to deepen their understanding of the body.

Martha Stark, MD

Author of Working with Resistance and Modes of Therapeutic Action

Upcoming Trainings