8 Reasons I Love Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) 

Since being introduced to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) over a decade ago, it has transformed my work, and me personally. I have gone on to complete multiple levels of training leading to being a certified advanced Sensorimotor Psychotherapy practitioner. I am thrilled and honored to share this work with other therapists. These 8 reasons are just the beginning of why I love SP. For an introduction to SP, read my post “About Sensorimotor Psychotherapy” (here)

1. The SP Core Foundational Principles Provide Profound Grounding & Guidance

SP has 6 underlying principles that reflect the spirit of SP and support the theories and techniques: Organicity, Unity, Mind/Body/Spirit Holism, Non-Violence, Mindfulness/Presence and Relational Alchemy. These principles have become the foundation for all of my work. No matter what my questions are as a therapist, I can always rely on them for guidance, and they often help shape my approach to clinical interventions or case conceptualization. They have also become integrated in how I strive to live my life as a whole. (Learn a bit more about the principles in my “About Sensorimotor Psychotherapy” post.)

2. Working with Mind and Body Together is a Given

Before training in SP, I already worked from the premise that therapy is most effective when we work with the whole person, using mind and body together and taking into account how conscious and unconscious material weaves together. SP training has deepened my understanding of why and how somatic and bottom-up methods work. SP also emphasizes the importance of bottom-up and top-down approaches together to help clients integrate their work in therapy. Through my SP experience, I have developed more explicit and intentional approaches to my work, giving me more clarity and confidence.

3. Art & Science Together – What Could be Better?

SP blends theoretical and practical guidance. Founded in contemporary understanding of neurobiology, how trauma works in the body, attachment theory, and how the body plays a role in navigating our day-to-day lives, SP provides scientific understanding of therapeutic material and interventions. It also deeply values therapy as a nuanced process that unfolds in present moment experience. Creativity, imagination, spirituality and the power of relational connection are viewed as important elements for healing, growth and transformation.

4. I Get to Move!

Somatic approaches help clients in meaningful and effective ways, but they are also great for me! SP supports being more active even while “sitting and talking” with clients. Incorporating movement in therapy is satisfying to my own body, and can be incorporated in some way into most sessions. On a smaller scale, I can feel more embodied working with breath or posture. I also get up and moving in many more ways when exploring issues with body-based experiential interventions. There is a lot of room for variety and innovation with movement in sessions.

5. SP Values Lightness, Play, Humor and Imagination

SP recognizes that therapy can open us to intense and deeply personal material that can be vulnerable, challenging, heavy and painful. Clients – and therapists – need resources to be able to tolerate and work with these experiences. Lightness, play, humor and imagination can help us pace and balance our work, can facilitate creative change and can spark a sense of new possibility. It is amazing to me how in the midst of working with very difficult issues, therapy can not only feel meaningful, but fun. Tears can facilitate healing, and laughter can be just as powerful.

6. The Many Maps of SP Provide Anchoring and Direction

SP is chock full of “maps”, some theoretical, some practical, that help steer my work. They help me make sense of verbal and non-verbal information so that I can choose meaningful and effective interventions, both in the moment and over time. Some maps help navigate the arc of a session, providing concepts that support clinical choices. Others help conceptualize clients and therapy work in the bigger picture. One of the most important maps in SP is differentiating between trauma and attachment or developmental issues so that we can work with clients safely and intentionally. 

7. SP Plays Well with Others

My earliest clinical training was as a dance/movement therapist, and this set the stage for being a somatic therapist. I also love learning about other approaches in therapy and integrating elements that I am drawn to. I have trained (or dabbled in) in other expressive arts modalities, mindfulness, yoga, other forms of movement, EMDR, IFS, therapy and many therapeutic methods. The flexibility of the SP framework allows me to integrate other approaches and tailor my work to particular clients or situations, or simply to where my intuition or interests lie. Many therapists who use SP incorporate other therapeutic modalities.

8. I Get to Make the Work My Own

There is space for everyone to do SP work in a way that makes sense for them and their clients. This may mean incorporating different therapy approaches into SP or adapting SP to a particular population or context. At all levels of SP training, therapists are encouraged to make use of what they learn and experiment with the methods in their own practices. Therapists are encouraged to explore what they find interesting and effective. SP invites therapists to bring their own unique selves into the work and allow it to develop as a reflection of them as a person and a clinician. SP offers a path, and then invites us to travel it in ways that align with who we are.

I would love to help you find the somatic approaches that you are passionate about!

Join the mailing list (below), take the free mini course on integrating somatic approaches (here), or learn more about  somatic clinical consultation (here) to see how it could support your work and growth as a therapist.

© 2023 Annabelle Coote

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be considered as legal, ethical, clinical, health or any other business or clinical practice advice related to your work as a therapist.


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