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Training Program in
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Training Program in Affect Regulation, Attachment, and Trauma

Faculty | Underpinning Theory |Who Should Attend? | Admission |Level I | |Level II | Level III | Specialty Training |Locations

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a conceptually elegant, powerfully effective body therapy that involves a broad repertoire of somatic interventions specifically designed to help clients tap into the wisdom of their bodies. The SPI Training Program offers ingeniously taught intensive courses for clinicians seeking to deepen their understanding of the body.”
Martha Stark, M.D., Author of Working with Resistance and Modes of Therapeutic Action

“Pat Ogden is a brilliant and compassionate clinician who brings deep knowledge and wisdom to her unique contributions to caring for others and helping them in the journey to heal. What a gift to the world she is, and to anyone fortunate to be able to study with her.” 
— Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development.

Level I: Affect Dysregulation, Survival Defenses, and Traumatic Memory

Level II: Emotional Processing, Meaning Making, and Attachment Repair

Level III: Advanced Skills/Certification

Specialty Training in Complex Trauma and Dissociation

SPI courses are taught worldwide by a group of exceptional Trainers who are trained specifically in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® methodology, Certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®, and have completed the SP Trainer Development Program.  Click here for more information on SPI Trainers.

Underpinning Theory

Traditional psychotherapy addresses the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma and early attachment issues but lacks techniques that work directly with the physiological elements.  Research shows that trauma and early attachment profoundly affects the body and that many symptoms of afflicted individuals are somatically driven.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® builds upon traditional psychotherapeutic techniques and principles, but approaches the body as central in the therapeutic field of awareness, and includes observational skills, theories, and interventions not usually practiced in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Theoretical principles and treatment approaches from both the mental health and body psychotherapy traditions are integrated in this approach.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® also draws from body-oriented psychotherapy methodology pioneered by Ron Kurtz (Kurtz, 1990), as a foundation for therapeutic skills and incorporates theory and technique from psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, neuroscience, and the theories of attachment and dissociation.

The SPI Training Program consists of three consecutive levels, each a prerequisite to the next.  SPI students who complete Level I and/or II without completing Level III or becoming a Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist will still take away valuable skills to benefit their professional work/development.

Who Should Attend?

  • Psychotherapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Pastoral Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselors
  • Crisis Intervention Counselors
  • Rape Crisis Counselors
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Dance Therapists

Teaching Methods


  • Lecture: Microsoft PowerPoint presentations focused on the theoretical underpinnings of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®, relevant neuroscience and attachment research, and descriptions of techniques and their rationale.
  • Reading Assignments: Level I and II Training manuals/workbooks issued to each student, to accompany course material
  • Writing Assignments: Online workbooks are provided that contain study exercises and written homework designed to facilitate application of course content
  • Discussion: Both large and small group discussion offer opportunities to explore topics in depth and ask didactic and technical questions (includes Group Consultation)
  • Video: client examples of didactic information


  • Demonstration: Trainers demonstrate techniques through role-play, vignettes with students and review of video sessions with patients
  • Experiential Exercises: Role-play and practice vignette exercises are designed to give students the opportunity to practice techniques
  • Video Library:  Extensive video library of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® client sessions is provided for students online
  • Feedback: Trainers observe and critique students' skills during class exercises
  • Peer Partner Assignments: Student dyads pair up to practice elements of the method
  • Consultation:  Feedback from instructors regarding practicum with clients and skills

Prior to the Training, students receive access to a course outline, homework, and a Training Manual. The course outline specifies the topics, skills, and theory taught at each module of the training and delineates homework assignments. Both experiential and didactic homework is assigned to reinforce theory, concepts, and skills.  Assignments include readings from Trauma and The Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy, by Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, and Clare Pain, readings from the course’s training manual accompanied by workbook assignments that require both written response and integration of skills into clinical practice, and a bibliography that serves as a resource for additional reading.

During the training each student is asked to practice key elements of the method by pairing up with another student (during the training, outside of the training, or both). The purpose of this peer partner practice is to provide experience with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® skills by working with a single partner from whom the student can receive feedback over time. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® Institute suggests that peer partners exchange four practice sessions (or 8 sessions all together), and fill out an assessment form after each practice session.

To help reinforce the skills and theory of the Training, students are asked to form study groups consisting of 4-6 members for the purpose of discussing the curriculum topics in small groups outside of training hours and providing educational support to one another.

To assist in the integration of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® skills and methodology into clinical practice, group consultation is provided by the Trainer during class to answer student questions regarding integrating the theory and interventions into their existing practices.

Admission to SPI Training Program
SPI provides adjunct and continuing education training to licensed professionals and students in relevant disciplines.  SPI is not authorized, however, to grant licensure, nor is it board certified or accredited.

Prerequisites for Admission
Initial admission to the SPI Training Program is dependent on acceptance from SPI Trainers.  Each subsequent Training Level also has an application process and each application is carefully reviewed.  Additional prerequisites, including but not limited to the following, may apply:

  • Level I: Appropriate for psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, pastoral counselors, addictions counselors, dance therapists, rape crisis counselors, guidance counselors, graduate level students in one of the aforementioned disciplines, and more.  To find out more information about potential candidacy to join the SPI Training Program, contact
  • Specialty Training: Successful completion/graduation from Level I plus acceptance from SPI Trainers.
  • Level II: Successful completion/graduation from Level I plus acceptance from SPI Trainers.
  • Level III: Successful completion/graduation from Level I and II plus approval from SPI Trainers.

Level I: Training in Affect Dysregulation, Survival Defenses, and Traumatic Memory

A very high percentage of clients in outpatient treatment and a higher percentage of inpatients report histories of neglect, trauma, and/or attachment failure.  In addition to being diagnosed with PTSD, this client population often presents as affectively dysregulated, chronically depressed, exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and borderline or other personality disorders.  Level I of The Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® Training Program in Affect Regulation, Attachment, and Trauma equips therapists to better understand the symptoms and issues of these challenging client populations and to work with them in a more effective way.  With a better understanding of the presenting problems of these clients and equipped with interventions that speak directly to how their issues are driven by the body and the nervous system, students will be able to directly impact the direction of treatment not for these client populations but also in their practice settings.

The Level I Training presents simple, body-oriented interventions for tracking, naming, and safely exploring trauma-related, somatic activation, creating new competencies and restoring a somatic sense of self.  Students will learn effective, accessible interventions for identifying and working with disruptive somatic patterns, disturbed cognitive and emotional processing, and the fragmented sense of self experienced by so many traumatized individuals.  Techniques are taught within a phase-oriented treatment approach, focusing first on stabilization and symptom reduction. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® can be easily and effectively integrated into psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and EMDR-focused treatments.

The length of the Level I Training is approximately 80 contact hours.

Level I Curriculum

  • Introduction to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®:  The foundational theoretical principles of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®, the importance of the body in trauma treatment, and beginning skills of tracking the body, describing, and naming sensorimotor experience in the form of a contact “statement”.
  • Core Sensorimotor Skills:  Accessing questions and interventions to analyze building blocks of each present moment, mindful questions and directives, and the guidelines of phase-oriented treatment.
  • Somatic Resources for Stabilization:  The role of the body in meeting the Phase One goals of stabilization and symptom reduction, and analysis of survival and creative resources to identify missing somatic resources and employ interventions to help clients develop new resources.
  • Orienting and Defensive Responses:  Interventions to reinstate effective orienting and defensive responses truncated in the wake of trauma, methods for helping clients develop healthy boundaries that are capable of assuring their safety, the potentially therapeutic use of touch and its pitfalls.
  • Memory Processing: Sensorimotor Sequencing:  Somatic approaches to work with dysregulated arousal and overcome the fear of traumatic memory and interventions to process and integrate memories.
  • Integration and Resolution:  Working with primary and secondary emotion, the cognitive effects of trauma, working at the edges of the Window of Tolerance, themes of self-development, adaption to normal life, and relationships in Phase Three work.

To view Level I learning objectives, please click here.

Level II: Emotional Processing, Meaning Making, and Attachment Repair

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® identifies two general kinds of interrelated psychological issues: developmental and traumatic.  Developmental issues result from disturbed early attachment relationships that lead to limiting beliefs about oneself and the world. Post-traumatic stress disorder results from overwhelming experience that remains unintegrated. Early attachment disturbances can lead to a wide variety of adult relational problems, especially when combined with unresolved trauma.

Level II of The Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® Training Program in Affect Regulation, Attachment, and Trauma illustrates how traumatic, attachment, and developmental issues influence one another and how to provide effective treatment given their inevitable intertwining. In this Training, research from the attachment and neuroscience fields provides the theoretical foundation for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® interventions and practices that address the effects of suboptimal and/or traumatic early attachment.

The length of the Level II Training is approximately 180 contact hours.

Level II Curriculum

  • Body Reading for Attachment History
  • Changing Procedural Learning
  • Making Meaning through the Body/ Translating the Body's Language 
  • Therapeutic Techniques for Attachment-Related Themes
  • Verbal and Physical Experiments
  • The Five Stages of the Process for Working with Attachment  
  • Re-working Limiting Beliefs and their Somatic Components
  • Action Systems and Action Tendencies
  • Attachment and Character Theory: Nine Character Strategies
  • Somatic Transference, Countertransference, and Therapeutic Enactments
  • The “Child” State of Consciousness
  • Character Strategies and Trauma-Related Dissociation
  • Integration of Maps and Techniques for Attachment and Trauma 
  • The Action Cycle and its Barriers
  • Boundaries, Character Theory and Attachment
  • Somatic Resources for Attachment Themes

To view Level II learning objectives, please click here.

Level III: Advanced Skills/Certification

The Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® Level III: Advanced Skills/Certification Training provides a supportive group environment in which Level II graduates are able to refine skills (under close supervision from SPI Trainers) at each stage of the therapy process for both trauma and development/attachment sessions that are required for Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®.
Rigorous evaluation and assessment are integral parts of the Level III Training.  Students perform self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and receive ongoing feedback from trainers.  Following each module, students complete formal assessments of their skills and receive formal assessments from Trainers to track skills acquisition required for Certification.

Each Level III module includes exercises, practice, video assessment and transcript analysis, review of homework assignments, demonstrations, and individual feedback from Trainer to student.  Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® is awarded by SPI Trainers to competent graduates who successfully complete the Level III Training and who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in SP concepts and skills.  Those who achieve this high level of proficiency are awarded “Certification” and the right to use the qualification "Certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®", and the title "Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist®".

Although completion of the Level III Training indicates that a student has completed 144 hours of advanced skills training, it does not necessarily guarantee Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®.  Certification is an individualized process for each student and attainment of all the necessary skills may require work beyond the scheduled hours of the Level III Training. 

The length of the Level III Training is approximately 144 contact hours.

Level III Structure

  • Practice techniques through exercises and role-play with classmates.
  • Consultation and feedback from instructors regarding practicum with clients and skills necessary for Certification In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®
  • Individual troubleshooting, consultation and assessment to assist each student in refinement of skills.
  • Analysis of audio and videotapes, and individual assignments to help each student refine their skills.
  • Homework and study group assignments that include tape analysis and other assignments.
  • Attention to each student's character strategies, countertransference tendencies, and traumatic patterns as they interfere with certification skills.
  • Experiential exercises, individual processing as well as relevant didactic material and discussion are included.
  • Review and analysis of videotaped student sessions.

To view Level III learning objectives, please click here.

Specialty Training in Complex Trauma and Dissociation

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® techniques are uniquely suited for clients with complex symptoms and disorders. Complex trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder clients benefit from the emphasis on mindfulness and present day focus, while dissociative disorder clients benefit from working with the body that is a shared whole for all parts. Despite the fact that more complex clients can be body-phobic or have difficulty with movement and action, Sensorimotor techniques can be adapted to suit their special requirements. Slowing down the pace, working with ‘slivers’ of information, combining body and parts work, increasing the amount of repetition and practice all contribute to expanding the Window of Tolerance.

Specialty Training Curriculum

  • Challenges to stabilization in complex trauma and dissociative disorder clients and how to address these challenges
  • Increasing the client’s capacity for mindfulness and top-down regulation
  • Working with the body with body-phobic clients
  • Becoming a neurobiological regulator: using somatic attunement and interactive regulatory techniques
  • The challenges presented by clients who are either hyperactive or cannot act
  • Overcoming traumatic reactions through the practice of new actions
  • Working with orienting and defensive responses in dissociative and dysregulated patients
  • Resolving inner conflicts that impede healthy boundaries and defenses
  • Approaches to working with memory with clients who cannot regulate arousal sufficiently to sequence or to process daily experience

In addition, the basic skills from the Level I Training will be reviewed via intensive skills practice in order to increase mastery of Sensorimotor work and prepare students for Level II and Level III.

The length of the Specialty Training is approximately 50 contact hours.

To view learning objectives for the Specialty Training, please click here.


Trainings are regularly offered throughout the world. Please go to our Upcoming Trainings page for current information.


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