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Healing the Body, Healing the Mind: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Treating Complex Trauma

Healing the Body, Healing the Mind: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Treating Complex Trauma

Trauma leaves behind a host of easily re-activated somatic responses and an inadequate memory record. Through this lens of body-based responses, the traumatised individual makes meaning of all subsequent experience. This seminar will cover recent neuroscience research that explains how traumatic experience becomes deeply embedded in both mind and body. Participants will learn how to assess and make sense of trauma-based symptoms and how to apply neurobiological informed treatment techniques in clinical practice. Using a multimodal approach integrating lecture, videotapes, and experiential exercises participants will be introduced to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a simple body-centred talking therapy that addresses such trauma-related challenges as: dysregulated autonomic arousal, overwhelming affects and sensations, intrusive images and memories, impulsivity and acting out, dissociative phenomena, numbing and disconnection.

Seminar Outline

DAY ONE

SESSION 1  How the mind and body respond to threat and danger; The neurobiological legacy of trauma: autonomic and affect dysregulation, inhibition of cortical functioning, implicit memories, inability to feel safe in the body, animal defence responses
SESSION 2  Neurobiologically-informed trauma treatment; Intrusive memories: remembering situationally, not deliberately; Psychoeducation and re-framing; Treating the nervous system rather than the event or behaviour
SESSION 3  Introduction to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy; How the body keeps the score: trauma and procedural learning; Tracking the body as a source of information Including the body in talking therapy treatment modalities
SESSION 4  Mindfulness and neural plasticity; Therapeutic uses of mindfulness in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy; Video and experiential demonstration of techniques

DAY TWO

SESSION 5  Addressing the challenges and complications of trauma treatment PTSD = persistence of animal defence survival responses; Secondary symptoms of PTSD: substance abuse, self-harm, suicidality, aggressive behaviour, disabling depression or anxiety
SESSION 6 Capitalising on somatic resources for addressing Dysregulation Therapy as a laboratory for the practice of new actions developing new resources that address specific trauma symptoms
SESSION 7 A new approach to understanding traumatic memory; Ways of addressing invited and uninvited memory; Somatic resolution of traumatic events
SESSION 8  Neural plasticity and interpersonal neurobiology; How a Sensorimotor approach changes the therapist’s role; Right brain-to-right brain communication; Dyadic dancing

Areas of Interest / Categories: Memory, Mind and Mind-Body, Neurobiology, Psychotherapy, Trauma