Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Trauma

The foundation of learning Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is built through studying its application to healing trauma and creating wellbeing. Discover a new dimension of effective therapy with SP by going beyond the verbal story and tapping into the wisdom of the body. The SP method enables collaboration with your clients to uncover their unique healing path. You will learn a framework to engage your clients, including tracking dysregulation, contacting and framing experience, and co-developing mindfully aware experiments with physical actions and body sensations, to resolve trauma in a way that words can’t. 

Learn how to incorporate SP principles and skills in your practice to support a holistic approach to healing. 

Below, please explore full details of our SP for Trauma courses offered in three different formats: online, hybrid, or in-person. All formats equip learners with the same elemental understanding of SP (Level I).  

Jump to Course Details by Format

ONLINE | HYBRIDIN-PERSON 

Online, Hybrid or In-Person

SPI offers Level I – Trauma training in three course models to support accessibility for as many people as possible.

Consider the best course model for your situation and goals. Take into account factors such as your learning style, needs for flexibility, format(s) for practice and engagement, and forum(s) for community. Training location or time zone, schedule of modules, and financial requirements are also important considerations as you explore the Calendar of upcoming courses.

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Infographic created by Jenae Cohn, PhD; shared via CC BY-NC-ND license.

Online – SP for Trauma Themes

Advances in digital learning technology as well as modern online course pedagogy have enabled the world to reconsider what can be learned online, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy! Our online format has proven to be effective for a broad range of students across diverse backgrounds, age groups, and levels of technological skill.

This 100% online learning course is designed to make the most of your time. Benefit from live-online sessions held in real-time with course facilitators and colleagues, while also having the flexibility to work through the conceptual course materials independently. Enjoy freedom to learn from your own home or office, or even from your phone, on the go!

Learn skills to notice and process the residues of traumatic experience that are held in your clients’ bodies. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy helps you to work with your clients beyond words, with the often-implicit somatic patterns related to traumatic experience to help inspire lasting change from the inside, out.

In this six-module course, you will learn the foundations of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for working with traumatic experience, develop new skills that you will be able to apply immediately with your clients who are distressed or traumatized, and explore adaptations of SP skills for more complex clinical situations.

Watch a brief introduction to SP for Trauma Themes

This Level I SP course is 93 credited hours divided into:

  • Three independent online learning modules (20 hours each, self-paced during a 7-9 week period)
  • Three 2-day live-online modules (Two 6-hour days, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)
  • A live-online Orientation (2.5 hours, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)
  • A live-online Closing (2.5 hours, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)

Alongside the course*, you will also need to complete the following:

  • 6 hours of Individual / Group Consultation with a SPI Approved Consultant to help integrate the theory and skills
    • at least 2 hours must be Individual Consultation
  • 3 hours of Individual SP Sessions with a Certified SP Practitioner to experience the method for yourself

*Fees for required consultation and session hours are paid independently outside of course tuition.


Successful completion of an SP for Trauma – Level I course is a prerequisite for Level 2: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Developmental Injury

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Foundations

What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?

  • Working with the Organization of Experience
  • Stages of the Process
  • Phases of Treatment

Considerations for Telehealth (and other environmental factors)

Well-being & Trauma

  • The Dissociative Continuum
  • Procedural Learning
  • Types of Trauma
  • The Trauma of Oppression

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Skills

  • Tracking
  • Contact
  • Framing
  • Steps to Mindfulness

Somatic Experiments

Modulating ANS activation

  • Somatic and Embodied Resourcing

Somatic Skill for Transformation and Integration

Somatic Processing of Traumatic Experience

  • Sensorimotor Sequencing
  • Reinstating Active Defense

Meaning Making & Trauma

  • Affect, emotions, and belief systems

The Therapeutic Relationship

  • Potential for healing
  • Enactments

Introduction to Relational and Developmental Processing (the focus of SP for Developmental Themes)

Case Conceptualization

  • Assessments
  • Professional Development

View Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Development Documents

This course is conducted through SPI’s online learning platform. It is an interactive and accessible gathering space where you will find all your course materials, all of the links to your live-online modules, and ways to connect with your colleagues and facilitators.

The course is provided through a blended online format so that students enjoy the benefits of two styles of learning…

Asynchronous

online learning on your schedule

Synchronous

live-online group learning at set times

In the self-paced online learning modules, you will work through a variety of course materials:

  • Readings
  • Videos
    • Lecture videos
    • Demonstration videos
  • Interactive assignments
    • Forum posts
    • Knowledge checks
    • Skills practice

You will have the opportunity to get to know your colleagues by engaging in forums and other collaborative opportunities, and will get direct feedback on your work from course facilitators.

In the live-online learning modules, you will connect with your course facilitators and colleagues in real-time for in-depth discussions and small group practice. Live-online modules feature:

  • Review and in-depth discussion of the asynchronous material; the opportunity to share, ask questions, and explore Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in different applications
  • Movement & visualization exercises to experience the somatic elements of the course
  • Live demonstrations for analysis, application of skills, and to support practices
  • Case studies and recorded clinical sessions for analysis and skills application
  • Live small group practice of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills
  • Feedback to support the development of skills during class exercises

Didactic

Readings and Lecture Videos

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

Clinical Examples

  • Case studies
  • Recorded clinical sessions

Discussion

  • Course forums offer opportunities to explore topics in depth and ask didactic and technical questions
  •  

Experiential

Demonstration

  • Demonstration videos of concepts and skills

Experiential Exercises

  • Movement and visualization activities
  • Vignettes and exercises to practice Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills
  • Virtual peer partnerships and study groups to practice skills

Case Consultation

  • 6-hours of required (not included in training) Case Consultation to assist the integration of SP into clinical practice

Feedback

  • Knowledge checks help support development of skills

Enrichment

  • Practice exercises, maps, and worksheets may be provided to facilitate clinical understanding and application of course content
  • Helpful links to articles and videos for deeper exploration on relevant topics in the field

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

System Requirements

This course is held in Open LMS (a platform for online courses) using Collaborate (a web-based video meeting tool).

This course is accessible from a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or phone. Note: not all of the course materials are available through the mobile app. For the best experience, accessing the course through a computer or tablet is best.

Meeting live-online in a large group, especially when sharing video feed, is a great demand on your computer system. Strong and reliable internet connectivity is necessary to participate in this course—and plugging into an internet source is best.

For the best experience in the course:

  • Ensure your computer’s operating system is up-to-date, as well as your internet browser.
  • Locate a quiet space for live-online practices that has strong and reliable internet.
  • Close any unnecessary programs running on your device prior to live-online modules.
  • If you are able to, consider using a wired-ethernet connection (note: newer MACs may need an adaptor to do this), rather than relying on wireless internet.
  • Consider using Google Chrome as your browser to access the course, as the Open LMS and Collaborate function best in Google Chrome.
  • Consider using a headset with microphone for participation in live-online modules.

Tuition for SP for Trauma Themes is listed by training in our course calendar >

Fees for required consultation and session hours are paid independently outside of course tuition.

Application requires a non-refundable fee of $25.00. Once accepted, a deposit of $500.00 is due to provisionally secure a place in the training (deposit is not due at time of application).

Learn more about tuition, discounts, financial aid and refund policies on our Admissions webpage

Hybrid – SP for Trauma Themes

Our hybrid course is an ideal option if you desire the flexibility of learning online and also value the experience of gathering in-person. Blending online with in-person learning can bring together the best of two worlds for many learners. Enjoy the freedom and flexibility to study conceptual course materials independently in our resource-rich digital environment. Then, benefit from live-in-person sessions, held in real-time with course facilitators and colleagues, to deepen connection and practice.

Learn skills to notice and process the residues of traumatic experience that are held in your clients’ bodies. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy helps you to work with your clients beyond words, with the often-implicit somatic patterns related to traumatic experience to help inspire lasting change from the inside, out.

In this six-module course, you will learn the foundations of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for working with traumatic experience, develop new skills that you will be able to apply immediately with your clients who are distressed or traumatized, and explore adaptations of SP skills for more complex clinical situations.

This Level I SP course is 93 credited hours divided into:

  • Three independent online learning modules (20 hours each, self-paced during a 7-9 week period)
  • Three 2-day, live-in-person modules (Two 7-hour days, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)
  • A live-online Orientation (2.5 hours, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)
  • A live-online Closing (2.5 hours, hosted by course facilitators in real-time)

Alongside the course*, you will also need to complete the following:

  • 6 hours of Individual / Group Consultation with an SPI Approved Consultant to help integrate the theory and skills
    • at least 2 hours must be Individual Consultation
  • 3 hours of Individual SP Sessions with a Certified SP Practitioner to experience the method for yourself

*Fees for required consultation and session hours are paid independently outside of course tuition.


Successful completion of an SP for Trauma – Level I course is a prerequisite for Level 2: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Developmental Injury

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Foundations

What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?

  • Working with the Organization of Experience
  • Stages of the Process
  • Phases of Treatment

Considerations for Telehealth (and other environmental factors)

Well-being & Trauma

  • The Dissociative Continuum
  • Procedural Learning
  • Types of Trauma
  • The Trauma of Oppression

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Skills

  • Tracking
  • Contact
  • Framing
  • Steps to Mindfulness

Somatic Experiments

Modulating ANS activation

  • Somatic and Embodied Resourcing

Somatic Skill for Transformation and Integration

Somatic Processing of Traumatic Experience

  • Sensorimotor Sequencing
  • Reinstating Active Defense

Meaning Making & Trauma

  • Affect, emotions, and belief systems

The Therapeutic Relationship

  • Potential for healing
  • Enactments

Introduction to Relational and Developmental Processing (the focus of SP for Developmental Themes)

Case Conceptualization

  • Assessments
  • Professional Development

View Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Development Documents

This hybrid course is conducted through SPI’s online learning platform, SPILO, as well as through in-person classroom instruction. SPILO is an interactive and accessible gathering space online where you will find all your course materials and ways to connect with your colleagues and facilitators when outside the in-person classroom.

The course is provided through a hybrid online and in-person format so that students enjoy the benefits of multiple styles of learning…

Asynchronous

Independent learning on your schedule

Synchronous

Group live-online and live-in person learning at set times

In the independent online learning modules, you will work through a variety of course materials:

  • Readings
  • Videos
    • Lecture videos
    • Demonstration videos
  • Interactive assignments
    • Forum posts
    • Knowledge checks
    • Skills practice

You will have the opportunity to get to know your colleagues by engaging in forums and other collaborative opportunities, and will get direct feedback on your work from course facilitators.

In the live-online Orientation and Closing, you will join with your course facilitators and colleagues in real-time through digital video conferencing.

In the three (3) two-day, live-in-person learning modules, you will connect with your course facilitators and colleagues in real-time, face-to-face in a traditional classroom for in-depth discussions and small group practice. Live-in-person modules feature:

  • Review and in-depth discussion of the asynchronous material; the opportunity to share, ask questions, and explore Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in different applications
  • Movement & visualization exercises to experience the somatic elements of the course
  • Live demonstrations for analysis, application of skills, and to support practices
  • Case studies and recorded clinical sessions for analysis and skills application
  • Live small group practice of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Skills
  • Feedback to support the development of skills during class exercises

Didactic

Readings and Lecture Videos

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

Clinical Examples

  • Case studies
  • Recorded clinical sessions

Discussion

  • Course forums offer opportunities to explore topics in depth and ask didactic and technical questions
  •  

Experiential

Demonstration

  • Demonstration videos of concepts and skills

Experiential Exercises

  • Movement and visualization activities
  • Vignettes and exercises to practice Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills
  • Virtual and in-person peer partnerships and study groups to practice skills

Case Consultation

  • 6-hours of required (not included in training) Case Consultation to assist the integration of SP into clinical practice

Feedback

  • Knowledge checks help support development of skills

Enrichment

  • Practice exercises, maps, and worksheets may be provided to facilitate clinical understanding and application of course content
  • Helpful links to articles and videos for deeper exploration on relevant topics in the field

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

Location Requirements

Participants must be able to attend the three (3) two-day, live-in-person modules held during the training. Any travel and overnight accommodation required will be the responsibility of the participants. For more information about attendance policies, please contact studentservices@sensorimotor.org.

System Requirements

Parts of this course are held in Open LMS (a platform for online courses) using Collaborate (a web-based video meeting tool).

This course is accessible from a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or phone. Note: not all of the course materials are available through the mobile app. For the best experience, accessing the course through a computer or tablet is best.

Meeting live-online in a large group, especially when sharing video feed, is a great demand on your computer system. Strong and reliable internet connectivity is necessary to participate in this course—and plugging into an internet source is best.

For the best experience in the course:

  • Ensure your computer’s operating system is up-to-date, as well as your internet browser.
  • Locate a quiet space for live-online practices that has strong and reliable internet.
  • Close any unnecessary programs running on your device prior to live-online modules.
  • If you are able to, consider using a wired-ethernet connection (note: newer MACs may need an adaptor to do this), rather than relying on wireless internet.
  • Consider using Google Chrome as your browser to access the course, as the Open LMS and Collaborate function best in Google Chrome.
  • Consider using a headset with microphone for participation in live-online modules.

Tuition for SP for Trauma Themes is listed by training in our course calendar >

Fees for required consultation and session hours are paid independently outside of course tuition.

Application requires a non-refundable fee of $25.00. Once accepted, a deposit of $500.00 is due to provisionally secure a place in the training (deposit is not due at time of application).

Learn more about tuition, discounts, financial aid and refund policies on our Admissions webpage

In-Person – SP for the Treatment of Trauma

This course is designed in the model of traditional classroom, in-person* instruction. This format is ideal if you prefer learning in a synchronous classroom (everyone together, learning at the same time on the same schedule).

*Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, this format is being adapted in some locations to be provided online. It is different from our Online – SP for Trauma Themes course. Please review the Topics and Teaching Methods of both courses to better understand the differences. If you have questions, please contact us.

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.

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 an SP for Trauma – Level I course is a prerequisite for 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-up

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

Boundaries

  • 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

Didactic

Lecture

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

Clinical Examples

  • Case studies
  • Recorded clinical sessions

Discussion

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

Experiential

Demonstration

  • Demonstration of concepts and skills

Experiential Exercises

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

Case Consultation

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

Feedback

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

Enrichment

  • 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

Tuition for SP for the Treatment of Trauma is listed by training in our course calendar >

Application requires a non-refundable fee of $25.00. Once accepted, a deposit of $500.00 is due to provisionally secure a place in the training (deposit is not due at time of application).

Learn more about tuition, discounts, financial aid and refund policies on our Admissions webpage

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

Admissions

Faculty

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!

Roseann Lynch, LPC

Level I Alum