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Trauma and the Body - A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy

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Trauma and the Body - A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy

Pat Ogden

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The body, for a host of reasons, has been left out of the talking cure. Psychotherapists who have been trained in models of psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, or cognitive therapeutic approaches are skilled at listening to the language and affect of the client. They track the clients associations, fantasies, and signs of psychic conflict, distress, and defenses. Yet while the majority of therapists are trained to notice the appearance and even the movements of the client’s body, thoughtful engagement with the client’s embodied experience has remained peripheral to traditional therapeutic interventions.

Trauma and the Body is a detailed review of research in neuroscience, trauma, dissociation, and attachment theory that points to the need for an integrative mind body approach to trauma. The premise of this book is that, by adding body oriented interventions to their repertoire, traditionally trained therapists can increase the depth and efficacy of their clinical work. Sensorimotor psychotherapy is an approach that builds on traditional psychotherapeutic understanding but includes the body as central in the therapeutic field of awareness, using observational skills, theories, and interventions not usually practiced in psychodynamic psychotherapy. By synthesizing bottom-up and top down interventions, the authors combine the best of both worlds to help chronically traumatized clients find resolution and meaning in their lives and develop a new, somatically integrated sense of self.

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