Pre-Conference Workshops 

October, 9th, 2020

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Understanding Chronic Pain as Inner Communication

Janina Fisher, PhD

We as therapists often encounter clients whose physical symptoms defy medical diagnosis or don’t respond to conventional treatments.  Just as often, these are clients whose early experiences were harsh or traumatic, and our attempts to help them resolve the past are frustrated by the present-day physical issues.  But what if the baffling pain symptoms and treatment-resistance are actually expressions of that early trauma?  Are we missing what the symptoms are trying to tell us?

 

Drawing on the work of Robert Scaer, this workshop approaches chronic physical symptoms in trauma patients as unprocessed traumatic memories held by a structurally dissociated part of the personality speaking through the body.   We have long known that traumatic memory is encoded at the cellular level in muscles, bones, nervous system, and viscera but lacked ways of approaching it directly.   This workshop will demonstrate how the “parts in the pain” can be accessed and helped to re-work the unmetabolized experience of the traumatic past.  Using techniques drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Structural Dissociation theory, and clinical hypnosis, clients are helped to ‘hear’ the communication in the symptom, relate to the child holding the body memory, and provide the “missing experience” for which the part is calling out.

October 9th, 2020

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Embodying Difference: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills for exploring somatic implicit bias and social identities. 

Raymond Rodriguez, LICSW-R

Laia Jorba, PhD

In recent decades, there has been a growing recognition by mental health professionals that clients’ and therapists’ socio-cultural identities are important considerations in the psychotherapeutic process. Although there is a plethora of literature and educational materials attempting to address prejudices and biases, increase socio-political awareness, and help therapist have a better understanding of socio-cultural enactment in therapy, a contextualized embodied understanding of implicit bias and social location in the psychotherapeutic process have largely been overlooked in our field. Most of these educational attempts are limited by their cognitive approach and fail to include the body-in-culture, that is, the procedurally learned patterns that are expressed somatically and are sub-cortical in nature.

 

In our view, knowledge and good intentions on the part of therapists are not synonymous of an embodied awareness and are not enough to challenge procedurally learned prejudices that are somatically embodied. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy offers a vantage point for including bottom-up processes, that, when employed effectively, can challenge socio-cultural prejudices at the somatic, emotional, and cognitive levels. In this experiential workshop, participants will explore their own somatic responses to prejudices and biases in relationship to external cues and other people. Participants will also be guided in noticing their somatic cues for safety and danger and into an exploration of their somatic responses to difference. Specific application and limitations for clinical work will be discussed.  

October 9th, 2020

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Working with Trauma Related Fragmentation and Dissociation in Children and Adolescents 

Esther Perez, LMFT

This integrative workshop revisits the role of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for treatment with our younger clients and their families, addressing issues of development of identity, sense of self, affect regulation, verbal and non-verbal communication and the ability to form and sustain relationships. This workshop will elucidate the significance of the "somatic narrative" in the treatment of children, adolescents-transitioning-to-adults, and family therapy, exploring therapeutic challenges and transformational moments, which will be elucidated through clinical vignettes, case studies and videotaped excerpts of sessions. 

 

This workshop will address the complex and complicated challenges mental health professionals face when addressing these issues with our younger clients, parents and caregivers. Through the lens of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, the workshop will identify (1) Ways recognize dissociative parts in children, (2) How to introduce Psychoeducation to the parent/caretakers and the child(ten) in an age appropriate manner (3) Working with the parts, and the trauma behind the parts to foster integration. 

October 9th, 2020

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Somatic Approaches to Working with Couples – Expanding the Relational Template

Kekuni Minton, PhD

Maria Puliatti

Jennifer Gardner, LICSW

Through interactions with attachment figures, the child forms internal operating models coded in procedural memory. These models become unconscious strategies for modulating emotions and relational interaction. The adult template for body-to-body interaction is informed by these strategies, including the individual’s capacity for attunement, rupture and repair.

 

From the studies on attachment in couples, we understand that the choice of partner often unconsciously re-confirms the perception of self and self in relationship – mirroring the original attachment relationships and repeating one's early relational script.  Using these early attachment strategies to avoid conflict (often for a length of time), some couples can maintain an apparent level of relational connection. In situations of severe stress and / or evolutionary changes (birth of a child illness, highly stressful events in the workplace, traumatic events), couples often come into conflict as the strategies are no longer helpful in navigating the intimate, emotional and sexual dimension of the relationship. As needs change, or the perception of the other changes, missing attachment experiences emerge, leading to a disruption in the relational baseline and significantly impacting the emotional and sexual template.

 

A somatic approach to couple’s therapy helps couples recognize individual and shared somatic experience and how that impacts the moment to moment interactions and provides an expansive space to study, adapt and deepen the body-to-body conversation.

October 9th, 2020

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Addressing Escalating Conflict Collaboratively in Family Sessions through the lens of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Bonnie Goldstein, PhD

This integrative workshop revisits the role of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for treatment with our younger clients and their families, addressing issues of development of identity, sense of self, affect regulation, verbal and non-verbal communication and the ability to form and sustain relationships. This workshop will elucidate the significance of the "somatic narrative" in the treatment of children, adolescents-transitioning-to-adults, and family therapy, exploring therapeutic challenges and transformational moments, which will be elucidated through clinical vignettes, case studies and videotaped excerpts of sessions.

 

The material will lay a foundation upon which we can work with conflict in the family--as it arises in the session-- exploring ways to collaborate as we develop, frame and re-frame our treatment goals throughout the session including (1) identifying familiar patterns of communication (2) introducing new verbal and nonverbal ways to deescalate conflict (3) working to shift impasses and address problematic interactions (4)  elucidate ways to deepen awareness and understanding of the differences in values/beliefs for the therapist and within the family members (5) identify conflicting goals among family members as they arise while communicating implicitly and explicitly our belief in our clients’ abilities to make choices and propel transformative shifts.   

October 9th, 2020

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Creative use of Six Fundamental Movements as a Somatic Resource for Trauma Survivors

Marko Punkanen, PhD

Movement can be very helpful somatic resource for certain traumatized clients. I have been focusing in my clinical practice for six fundamental movements: yielding, pushing, reaching, grasping, pulling and releasing. These movements are interdependent and together they provide the basics necessary for action. Yielding is the basis for experiences of receptivity. Movement of pushing is strongly related to our boundaries. When practicing, and embodying the movement of pushing in creative way, trauma survivors can experience their body as an active agent and source of safety again. Reaching is related to connection and motivation. It is a movement of live embodiment of wanting, needing, desiring and longing. Our reaching will be satisfied by the movement of grasping. Through grasping we are able to sense more strongly what we have reached for. Pulling can be seen as the act of drawing what is object or the other toward myself. Finally the sixth foundational movement of releasing leads us to the experience of letting go of something. Letting go of the held object allows the whole body to reorganise. Practice of these six fundamental movements can be done in a creative way, which will also activate trauma survivors action systems of play, social engagement and exploration.

SPI Logo with Typography Condensed.png
testata.png

© 2023 by Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute

idea congress.png
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon