Trauma and the Body

A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy

Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology


Kekuni Minton (Author), Pat Ogden (Author), Clare Pain (Author)

With a Foreword by Daniel J. Siegel, With a Foreword by Bessel van der Kolk


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.

Topics addressed include: Cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor dimensions of information processing • modulating arousal • dyadic regulation and the body • the orienting response • defensive subsystems • adaptation and action systems • treatment principles • skills for working with the body in present time • developing somatic resources for stabilization • processing

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • October 2006
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70457-0
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“I strongly recommend this fascinating and essential offers clinicians of all orientations a variety of psychosomatic treatment strategies.” — Julia Mueller, Journal of Psychosomatic Research

“This book will be read and valued by researchers and clinicians alike, as well as academics and those who already practice body-oriented psychotherapies. This is a rare achievement. . . . [H]ighly recommended.” — PsycCritiques

“[A]n exemplary collaboration within the village of traumatology….[G]rounded in the whole body of knowledge available to us about trauma….They also offer explanations of new concepts in clear language and couple the technical information with familiar ideas….Although clinicians in particular, will benefit from reading this book, it also will interest clients, researchers, and other mental health professionals….I highly recommend studying this book at a leisurely pace that allows for an integration of all that it offers.” — Clinical Social Work Journal

“[A] significant addition to the literature on…mind-body medicine….[T]his sensible, respectful, non-anthologizing, step-by-step approach helps people create balance in their lives.” — Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy

Also by Pat Ogden All

  1. Book CoverPocket Guide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Articles, Essays, and Conversations


  2. Book CoverSensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment


  3. Book CoverTrauma and the Body/Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Two-Book Set


Also by Clare Pain All

  1. Book CoverPsychotherapy Essentials To Go: Achieving Psychotherapy Effectiveness


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