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Training Program>Level III

Training Program in Affect Regulation, Attachment, and Trauma

Level III: Advanced Skills/Certification

Course Description

Level III of the SPI Training Program is a rigorous course designed for Level II graduates who seek to challenge, refine, and integrate their Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills learned in Levels I and II. Level III students practice precise clinical applications of these skills at each stage of the therapeutic process, working with the themes of both traumatic memory and attachment issues. Emphasis is placed not only on the implementation of skills, but also on understanding the fundamental theory and principles behind each skill.  

Comprehensive evaluation by skilled SPI faculty and supportive staff, as well as peer and self-assessment, are integral parts of the Level III learning process. The evaluative nature of the Level III Training sets it apart from previous levels. Students are challenged to identify their own strengths and challenges and to develop strategies for growth and integration of feedback. SPI Trainers support, challenge, hold standards, provide perspective, and guide students through the evaluative learning process. Under the guidance of Trainers, students complete formal self-assessments of their own skills as they learn to track skill acquisition required for Certification.

The Level III Training includes short lectures, exercises, in-vivo skills practice, worksheet skill drills, video recorded practice therapy sessions in the role of practice therapist or practice client, video assessment and transcript analysis, review of homework assignments, demonstrations, and individual feedback from Trainers.

The assessment of learning via the video recording and reviewing of practice exercises is a cornerstone of the Level III Training. All Level III students are required to video record themselves in the roles of practice therapist and practice client during these exercises, for the purpose of skill acquisition and assessment. Although practice exercises may be considered “therapeutic,” they are not “therapy,” and therefore not designed to meet therapeutic goals. See section on “Requirements for Admission and Participation” for further information.

Course Structure

Approximately 144 contact hours divided into 8 three-day modules, for a total of 24 training days.

Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Students who have achieved Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy have noted the significant positive impact on their clients and practice, as well as the personal and professional transformation of the Certification process:

"SPI’s Level III: Advanced Skills/Certification Training has met and far exceeded my expectations and is, by far, the hardest and the best clinical training I have ever taken since beginning my study of clinical psychology.

The teachings I learned through the training revolutionized my work with clients and have provided a trusted road-map and practical tools that I draw upon in literally every client session.

While the Level III is incredibly challenging and demanding, I am grateful for the precision of the skills that called upon me to rise to a level of proficiency that has, over the months, integrated into increasing clinical mastery."

- Marilynne Chöphel, MFT, Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist

Level III graduates who fulfill each of the following criteria are eligible* to attain Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of core Sensorimotor Psychotherapy skills
  2. Demonstrate embodiment of the principles of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy method in clinical practice
  3. Hold legally accepted credentials to practice in the field of mental health

Level III grads who attain certification are authorized to bear the title of “Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist” or the credential, “Certified [or “Certification”] in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy”.

*Participation in the Level III Training does not guarantee Certification in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Consideration for Certification is based on the proficiency of each individual student, therefore additional or supplementary work outside of or beyond the training may be required.

Students who have not achieved certification by the end of the training may continue working with a Level III Trainer at a fee of $175/hr. USD. This opportunity is available for one year following the completion of the Training. Students wishing to pursue this opportunity, must contact a Level III Trainer directly to contract for time to continue the certification process.

Teaching Methods

Didactic (25%)

  • Lectures that deepen the foundational learning of Levels I and II
  • Feedback from Training staff on skill acquisition and progress toward certification

Experiential (75%)

  • Live demonstrations of skills
  • Live practice and observation
  • Experiential exercises
  • Video recorded practice therapy sessions (*see technology requirements section below for more details)

The Level III Training requires students to complete homework between modules to stay on track with the certification process, beginning after the first module. Homework assignments with module due dates are listed in the Level III Course Outline. Homework assignments consist of Skill Drill Worksheets, video recording of practice therapy sessions, transcripts and analysis guides. When recording videos between modules, students will need to coordinate with a partner to meet in the same physical location. Other assignments that students need to coordinate on (such as skill drill worksheets) may be done in the same physical location or remotely, based on student preference. Students should prepare to spend approximately 10-20 hours on homework assignments between modules, though time spent varies based on the individual.

Assessment is a rigorous component of the Level III Training. Students must be prepared for giving and receiving feedback throughout the course.

Assessments are administered via:

  • In-class practice and observation
  • Worksheet skill drills for each stage of the process, designed for practicing and assessing the core SP Skills
  • Transcript and analysis Guides for each stage of the process and for progressing through the 5 stages for a development (attachment) theme, for child state of consciousness, and for a trauma theme.
  • Implementation of feedback

Support for Students
The following types of support are available to help students navigate the challenges of the evaluative nature of the Level III Training.

Individual Feedback: Each student receives individualized attention from the training staff toward the acquisition of skills and embodiment of principles.

Focus groups: Scheduled as needed during class time to support learning specific skills.

Certification Coaches: Students may elect to work with an SPI Certification Coach, or Certification Coach in Training, for a paid hourly rate. Certification Coaches are trained to help students demonstrate a clear understanding of specific skills, and are able to provide valuable feedback on assignments. Contact information for Certification Coaches is provided upon request.  

Educational Sessions with Assistants or Trainers: Assistants or Trainers (as available) may provide up to three educational sessions during the course of the training.

Progress Conferences: At any time during the training, students or trainers can request a trainer-student conference to discuss progress and adjust learning plans.

Technology Requirements
Level III students must be comfortable making and sharing video recordings of practice sessions acting in the role of both practice therapist and practice client.  SPI administration and Trainers cannot provide technical support for making and sharing videos.

At a minimum, Level III students are required to video record themselves demonstrating the following as part of the assessment and review process:

  • Stages of the Process
    • 5 recordings (one for each of the five stages of the therapeutic process) totaling approximately 10-30 minutes in length.  Precise guidelines will be provided.
  • Educational Therapy Sessions
    • 2 recordings totaling approximately 1 hour in length.  Precise guidelines will be provided.

Note: Students will often need to make additional video recordings in order to demonstrate proficiency of learned skills.

Students must procure the following audio/visual equipment prior to attending the first module of the Level III Training

  • A means to record video (with audio)
  • Digital storage for at least 4 hours of recorded video
  • A means to share digital videos for review in a universal file format (e.g. MP4)
  • Other equipment to consider: A microphone system for two microphones

Data Protection and Confidentiality
The data shared by students in the Level III Training can be sensitive in nature, and SPI has taken steps to ensure both the protection and confidentiality of that data.  Data protection and confidentiality is thoroughly addressed thoroughly in the following documents:

Students are also provided with a Level III Agreement to Record Videos form for recordings made with peers that can be edited to fit individual needs for data protection and confidentiality.

Informed Consent
SPI courses are educational in nature, however personal issues may emerge during a long and intense training in which students practice skills for working with trauma and developmental attachment issues. The format of the training and the training staff cannot adequately address such personal issues that might come up in the course of a training. Students are encouraged to seek therapy outside the program if desired. Students may find the names of clinicians who have completed SPI trainings on the referral section of the SPI website. *Refer to the “Student Enrollment Agreement” for more details on informed consent.

Requirements for Admission and Participation
SPI faculty assess Level III candidates to ensure that each student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Manage the stress of a rigorous training, regulate their own arousal during experiential exercises, video review, demonstrations, assessments, and group discussions.
  • Recognize when triggered or unable to regulate, and refrain from participation as a practice client or practice therapist at those times
  • Refrain from using practice exercises for personal therapy
  • Support practice therapist’s learning when in the role of practice client
  • Remain focused on the educational elements of the training and seek outside therapeutic support if personal issues emerge that cannot be sufficiently regulated within the educational environment of the training
  • Participate in the group in a way that maintains the container and demonstrates support of the learning environment (e.g., ability to collaborate, communicate, ask and offer support, and deal effectively with conflict.)
  • Self-regulate when interactive regulation is unavailable

Level III candidates must demonstrate each of the Requirements for Admission and Participation to be eligible to participate in the training.

Right to Rescind Admission
SPI reserves the right to rescind the admission of any Level III student who cannot consistently demonstrate the Requirements for Admission and Participation during the Level III Training. Rescindment of admission is treated as a withdrawal from the course and SPI’s standard Course Refund Policy applies (https://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/refund.html).

Learning Objectives

For a list of upcoming Trainings click here.

For more information about the SPI Training Program click here.

Training Sessions

Trainings are regularly offered throughout the world. Visit the following pages for oppportunties to attend a session near you:

Don’t see a Training Session listed near you?  Contact admissions@sensorimotor.org for assistance; a new Training Session may begin soon!