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Workshop Detail

Boulder, CO

The Challenging Client: Engaging Body to Disrupt Entrenched Patterns

APRIL 3, 2020 - APRIL 4, 2020

Traumatic events and attachment failures can become the central defining experiences that form the identities, shape the relationships and largely determine the lives of many survivors. Established early on for those with complex trauma, patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting designed to navigate an unsafe, threatening world are solidified with repetitive use, and become harder and harder to modify as time goes on. Often described as "intractable," "resistant," "hard-to-treat," "stuck," and even "impossible," these clients feel powerless, often become victims again and again, tend to blame themselves or what happened to them for their misery, and sink further into hopeless despair when therapy fails to help.

These maladaptive patterns are held in place by automatic, non-conscious physical and physiological habits and working directly with the body can loosen their grip. But therapists are often concerned that their clients are too destabilized, dissociative, body phobic, low functioning, or otherwise challenged to benefit from body psychotherapy. Therapists themselves might feel ill at ease asking clients to be aware of their bodies, change their posture, or explore movement. And so-called "difficult" or "impossible" clients may find somatic interventions triggering, anxiety provoking, shameful, unappealing, or a waste of time. However, these clients may be exactly the ones who stand to gain the most from a somatic approach. A major advantage of a body-oriented approach, in addition to bypassing explanations and rationalizations, lies in the fact that physiological, movement and postural patterns are tangible and can be directly and objectively observed, addressed, and changed in clinical practice.

In this workshop, participants will learn practical, easy to implement interventions from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy designed to catalyze change in "resistant" and otherwise "difficult" clients with chronic entrenched patterns, including those with dissociative disorders, addictions, self-harm, repeated hospitalizations, alexithymia, prolonged grief, feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness, and emotional stuckness. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy will be illustrated through video excerpts of consultation sessions and brief experiential exercises. Participants will walk away with a new perspective on how simple techniques that target the body can throw open the door to change even for the most entrenched clients.


  1. Three challenges of working somatically with clients who suffer from complex trauma.

  2. Discuss ways of creating safety to explore the body.

  3. Explain a benefit of self-touch interventions with traumatized clients.

  4. Describe Janet's concept of "vehement emotions."

  5. Discuss the relationship between the width of the client's window of tolerance and expressing strong emotions.

  6. Explain the importance of understanding the client's sociopolitical and sociocultural realities in addressing complex trauma.

  7. Discuss the different goals of actions systems of daily life and action systems of defense.

  8. Describe the use of "parts" language and interventions to help clients overcome entrenched patterns.

  9. Explain the risk of overriding parts of the self when working with posture and movement.

  10. Explain the benefit of therapeutic enactments in clinical practice.

Continuing Education: This program is co-sponsored by The Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and The Institute for Continuing Education. The training offers a total of 10.00 contact hours (April 3 - 6.00 hrs; April 4 - 4.00 hrs.). Credit is awarded for full attendance. There is no additional fee to receive continuing education credit. Applications for continuing education contact hours will be available on site, along with other pertinent continuing education information. If you have questions regarding continuing education, the program, faculty, learning objectives, grievance issues, contact The Institute for Continuing Education: 800-557-1950. Email:

NOTE: To receive continuing education credit, applicants must complete all CE materials, sign in/out at designated locations, and submit an evaluation form for the sessions attended.

NOTE: It is the responsibility of the attendee to determine if CE credit offered by The Institute for Continuing Education meets the regulations of their state licensing/certification board.

Psychology: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

Counseling: For counselors seeking credit, The Institute for Continuing Education has submitted a co-sponsorship application to NBCC for this program. New York: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. Provider MHC-0016.

Social Work: Application for social work continuing education credit has been submitted. This website will be updated with accreditation information. New York: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers, Provider SW-0025.

Marriage / Family Therapy: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Marriage-Family Therapy as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed MFTs, Provider MH-0012. Texas MFT Provider No. 177.

California Professionals: The Institute for Continuing Education, Provider 56590, is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This Course meets the qualifications for 10.00 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCC, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Non-credit workshops will be clearly noted in the CE packet received at the Conference.

Instructional Methodology: Lecture, Demonstration, Audio/visual, Experiential; Practice of techniques, case examples, large and small group discussion

Register Now (external website)

Times: Friday: 10:00am-6:00pm (11:30am-11:45am Break, 1:00pm-2:30pm Lunch, 4:15pm-4:30pm Break)
Saturday: 9:00am-1:15pm (11:00am-11:15am Break)
Location: Community United Church of Christ, 2650 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305.
Instructor: Pat Ogden, PhD
Tuition: 350 USD.
Contact: SPI Admissions, 3034473290,