A Pilot Study of Body-Oriented Group Psychotherapy: Adapting Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for the Group Treatment of Trauma

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Abstract

Research suggests that trauma has a profound effect on the body by disrupting normal physiologic responses leading to a broad range of trauma-related symptoms. In this paper, we describe a stage-one trauma group based on the clinical rationale and techniques of Pat Ogden's (2006) sensorimotor psychotherapy (SP). To date, there has been no empirical research to support the efficacy of this treatment approach. Ten women with a history of childhood abuse participated in 20 weekly sessions of SP-informed group therapy and were assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment, and at 6-month follow-up. Participants demonstrated significant improvement in body awareness, dissociation, and receptivity to soothing. This study of an SP-informed group therapy for women provides preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of SP in reducing trauma-related symptoms.

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