Sensorimotor psychotherapy (also known as somatic psychotherapy) is a body-oriented talk therapy based on principles of neuroscience research and new discoveries in the field of psychological trauma. There is a growing wealth of knowledge that explains how our painful memories are stored non-verbally and subconsciously in the experience of our body. For instance, many people who develop emotional difficulties after a traumatic event carry a belief that the world is not safe; alternatively, their body shows this belief in symptoms such as hypervigilance or restlessness and feeling on the lookout for something. This is a simple example of how our body hangs onto an upsetting event and continues to carry residual responses long after the event is over. In therapy session, we explore and process painful experiences along with non-verbal psychological information such as the felt sensations, urges, emotions and beliefs evoked in the body. Research is increasingly recognizing that long lasting and holistic recovery is dependent on integrating psychological messages of both the body and the mind in psychotherapy.
For more information on literature about body-oriented psychotherapy, please visit https://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/resources.html
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapy for treatment of emotional difficulties linked to stressful events and memories. EMDR is recommended by American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There is extensive research on effectiveness of EMDR as therapeutic approach for trauma-related distress including PTSD, phobia, panic, stuck grief, anxiety and depression.
EMDR therapy emphasizes that the brain has an innate immune system for healing psychological pain. However, when individuals feel overwhelmed, their brain does not effectively process events and this natural healing process is said to be blocked. As a result, individuals experience emotional distress, somatic symptoms and rigidly hold onto self-deprecating beliefs. In therapy session, EMDR boosts the brain’s capacity to access psychological pain, reprocess and integrate information that was previously stuck. EMDR does this by stimulating communication between the right brain (emotional brain) and the left brain (logical brain). This bilateral brain therapy provides a clinically proven alternative to processing difficult memories even when the individual is not yet able to express it in words.
For more information about research findings on EMDR, please visit https://emdria.site-ym.com/?page=EMDRResearch
When a person has a stroke and experiences nerve damage, they work with a physiotherapist to regain mobility and range of motion. This process involves rebuilding synapses and neural network in the brain and body via repeated physical movement. In a similar way, mindfulness is like physiotherapy training for the brain. Our brain has a bias towards filtering information for what is relevant: our brain is constantly scanning the environment for risks and threats, instead of searching for pleasure and calm. This automatic habit has been a survival mechanism to respond quickly, efficiently and to prevent harm. On the flip side, this tendency can also hijack our whole system and cause considerable distress, anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness trains the muscles in the brain to slow down this hijacking and tolerate difficult emotions, physical sensations and thoughts. For instance, we can’t stop thinking, but we can train the brain to pay attention to our immediate environment instead of being trapped in negativity. And just like physiotherapy, repetition of mindfulness skill builds new neural networks and synapses in the brain that can respond adaptively to psychological distress.
For more information on the research about effectiveness of mindfulness in modulating emotional pain, please visit https://goamra.org/
Integration of two well-established relational modalities including Emotionally Focused Therapy (attachment-based therapy) and Internal Family Systems model (a progressive form of ego states psychotherapy).
For more information on the research about effectiveness of these therapeutic approaches, please visit the following links: