OYM Pat Ogden, Ph.D. | Trauma Resolution

 

Your body plays a major role in trauma resolution. Since we experience everything through our bodies, they have a significant correlation to our psychological health. Joining Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D. today is Dr. Pat Ogden, the Founder of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (SPI)Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a body-centered treatment of unresolved trauma. Dr. Pat shares stories of how this form of therapy helped her patients walk through the traumatic events of their past and release the tension from their bodies. Discover how you can have better emotional and mental health. Join in the conversation to learn more.  

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How Your Body Helps With Trauma Resolution With Dr. Pat Ogden

Pat Ogden, PhD is a pioneer in Somatic Psychology. She’s the Founder and Education Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic cognitive approaches for the treatment of post-traumatic stress and attachment disturbances. The many trainers of her institute based in Colorado conduct sensorimotor psychotherapy training for over 400 hours of mental health professionals throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. The Institute has certified hundreds of psychotherapists throughout the world in this method. 

Pat, thank you so much for joining us here. I greatly appreciate you taking the time. Can you start by telling us a little bit about what got you started in the work you’re doing and what drives your passion for this work with traumas? 

The work that I do is based on the body, it’s called Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, so we look at how the body participates in the legacy of trauma, attachment wounds, systemic oppression and so forth. I got interested probably as a child because my body was my resource. I was active. If I was stressed, I would go into my body and go running, go to the woods or go to the lake. That was the beginning. I developed a strong confidence in my own body. In the early 1970s, I was working in a psychiatric hospital and I was teaching yoga and dance. What I found was that the patients who did both those classes seem to get better and that piqued my curiosity about the role of the body in mental health and healing trauma because many of those patients were traumatized.  

It started rolling from there. I met Ron Kurtz, who is the first person I had ever encountered, who felt that the body could be an avenue to implicit memories, implicit beliefs, childhood issues, that maybe we’ve even forgotten. That was a big influence. I moved to Colorado with Ron and started studying all kinds of movement work and bodywork. I went out on a limb in a lot of ways and what I was doing because I was interested in helping people shift how they live in the body.  

[bctt tweet=”If you have a good connection with a person and feel safe and competent in them, half the journey is already won. ” via=”no”]

In the late ‘70s, I was an adjunct therapist for the clinic here at the University of Boulder. The clients that were referred to me were clients who had all been traumatized. I didn’t know that at the time because nobody was talking about trauma. They’d all been sexually abused and they were sent to me because these women couldn’t experience sexual pleasure. Everything that I’ve been taught didn’t work with these women. They got more dysregulated sometimes, they’d come back the next week feeling worse. I was baffled because I was doing everything that I thought the right way.  

I started thinking, “I’m going to try to keep them connected to their bodies. We’re not going to go into strong emotions and we’re not going to revisit the memories. We’re going to stay connected to the body.” They started getting better or at least they stopped getting worse. That was a big learning for me. It was long before people even started talking about trauma. I started my school and started teaching.  

You learned as you went. 

Yes. I studied a lot of alternative methodologies. The Ralph Method of Structural Integration, which works with alignment and posture in the body. It’s hands-on bodywork and I set it for all kinds of movement disciplines. I had an alternative approach and I met Bessel van der Kolk in the mid-’90s. He’s a premier trauma therapist and wrote an incredible book called The Body Keeps the Score. He started introducing me to more traditional approaches and integrating my work into that world. Since the mid-’90s, I’ve been working a lot with neuroscientists and attachment experts, people in the field of dissociation, learning how those fields interface with my work with the body. 

You have this website, SensorimotorPsychotherapy.org and you train therapists in sensorimotor psychotherapy. People can go to your website and type in their location and find out if there are any therapists who’ve been trained through your organization that are relatively close to them. What’s one of the primary things that you can tell us or the people reading who might be thinking about wanting a therapist to work through some therapy that separates the sensorimotor psychotherapy approach from traditional talk therapy? 

Primarily, what separates sensorimotor psychotherapy from talk therapy is that a sensorimotor psychotherapist is looking at how the body participates in the legacy of trauma and relational issues. For example, a traumatized client might have a posture. They might be frightened of that and they might live with that fear from their trauma. We know that we’re going to have more success in helping them if they can shift how they live in the body because as long as the shoulders stay like this, the fear is sustained.  

We’ll look at whatever the presenting difficulty is of the client, it’s got to show up in the body because we all have a body everything experiences through the body. No matter what the client comes with, we look at how the body reflects the issues. Many traumatized clients live outside a window of tolerance so they feel dysregulated, anxious and hyperaroused or else deadened and hyperaroused. We want to work with a body with what we call somatic resources to help bring arousal into that window of tolerance where a person can be in the present moment. A friend of mine Anna Vander Hart coined the term Trauma Time saying that most traumatized clients live in trauma time, which means that it feels the trauma is still happening. It’s still impacting our day-to-day experience and that’s disconcerting for a survivor. 

You started this work at a time when people weren’t even talking about trauma. The more I’ve been exploring with different people and interviewing different professionals who do integrative, functional, holistic psychiatry, therapy or medical work. I’m hearing them say that they’re waking up to the realization that many of the symptom patterns they’re seeing are directly related to childhood trauma and others. That’s being talked about now far more fluidly and consistently than it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. How has that changed what you do with people or training therapists, the idea that now it’s getting to be more accepted? 

It hasn’t changed how we train therapists in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute but it has validated what we do. The body is becoming more and more mainstream working with the body to heal from the effects of trauma. It’s becoming more and more mainstream so we have a lot more visibility and a lot more therapists coming to study with us. What you said about functional medicine, holistic approaches and looking at the effects of trauma what I want to say is there are two obvious ways to look at that. When trauma happens, our arousal will shoot up high to mobilize us to defend ourselves or to get away and again out. 

If that doesn’t work, arousal will plummet to this dead and shutdown state. For trauma survivors, those states of arousal are outside of that window of tolerance and that compromises our immune system over time. Trauma survivors have sequelae of physical issues that emerge from unresolved trauma. Another way to think of it is, many childhood abuse survivors went into more of a collapsed and shutdown state so the body’s often collapsed and pulled in. That becomes a habit. It’s the habitual way of living in the body. A posture like this is not good for our bodies, there’s no room for the organs, we can’t take a deep breath and it constricts the heart. How we inhabit our body is not only related to psychological health but our physical health. 

OYM Pat Ogden, Ph.D. | Trauma Resolution

Trauma Resolution: What separates sensory motor psychotherapy from talk therapy is that a sensorimotor psychotherapist is looking at how the body participates in the legacy of trauma and relational issues.

 

When we’re in the studies of some of the cellular biologists like Bruce Lipton, recognizing that when you’re in a mental emotional stress state, that will override the physical signals to your body and your cells will start to go into that shutdown and protection mode. It means if you have to run a fight for your life, you don’t need to worry about healing the cut on your hand. The whole immune system shuts down because that takes a lot of energy. If we live like so many of us do in mat accelerated high stress or near fighter flight level, we’re living in a suppressed immune system state which leaves us so vulnerable to this whole series of problems.  

If I could say something about that, that’s even more critical for people for whom the trauma is not over. Like many of my clients, they had trauma in childhood, now it’s over and they’re relatively safe. For a black person, for example, it can be dangerous walking down the street. There’s the constant threat of aggression. What can happen if you don’t control your emotions and your body, if you are stopped by the police so forth, you could lose your life. For people who are marginalized, whether they’re transgender, African American or Asian, there are so many societal threats that are still ongoing that it’s a challenge to bring the arousal quickly back into a window. 

The wear and tear on our energy systems physiologically to be in that constant high stress state are some of those. When you’re in a war zone and your whole town, your whole community is in the war zone with you people coming together and there’s a support that happens. When we’re living in these isolated apartments, houses and condos and we don’t have that sense of community and we’re living at a high stress level, there’s a whole series of factors that tear the energy system down. 

That’s true. They say that the best inoculation against post-traumatic stress disorder is a secure attachment relationship in childhood. If you have secure relationships, you can count on each other and when you’re an adult, if you do have trauma, you’re much less likely to get PTSD if you have that foundation. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could give that to more people?  

I know.  

There are many ways that I would want to take the conversation with you because you’ve been at this for so long and there are many different aspects of trauma work. One of the things I like to do with these discussions is to help people who might have either a family member who needs therapy, support for trauma or a mental health challenge or the actual individual who might be looking for a therapist. Aside from looking at going to SensorimotorPsychotherapy.org and looking for a provider, what kinds of things would you tell a patient, a person who’s looking for a therapist to help with trauma that he or she should be looking for in the therapist? 

First and foremost, you’ve got to trust your gut. If it’s a good connection with the person, if you feel safe and competent in them, half the journey is won already. I’m biased towards work with the body because trauma first and foremost affects the body. It affects our arousal level and it affects our somatic system as we prepare to protect ourselves and make ourselves safe. If I were looking for a trauma therapist, I would look for someone who did understand the role of the body and incorporated some somatic approaches. Many clients are frustrated trying to resolve their trauma through insight and cognition because that’s not where trauma first has its effect. 

Our subcortical instincts are mobilized for survival. For example, if you’re taking a fall down the steps, you instinctively will grab for the railing before the signal that you’re in danger gets to your thinking brain. It’s important to understand that with trauma because it’s hard to resolve it cognitively and it’s also hard to resolve it by expressing emotions related to it. One of my teachers died on the year I was born so I never met him, his name is Pierre Janet and he talks about what he calls Vehement Emotions. The emotions connected with trauma can’t be resolved by expressing them because those emotions are designed to fuel our protective mechanisms.  

You think of rage like so many veterans that I’ve worked with have this uncontrollable rage that’s associated with the fight response. They’ve tried everything and they often can’t modulate it because it has to do with the subcortical impulses. I would look for somebody who had an understanding of the body’s role in trauma because there’s the likelihood that you’d have more success working at the level where trauma first impacts. 

As you’re talking about Peter Levine and how he talks about his own trauma trying to walk through a crosswalk and getting hitthe woman neurologist who had her stroke of genius when you have somebody who’s trained in that body of work, and they go through that problem themselves. The analysis that Peter Levine talks about being aware of all his physical responses, self-protective motions and the energies vibrating in his body and being able to understand that he doesn’t want to fight them off and restrict them.  

Being able to stay aware of those energies, being able to work with somebody who won’t try to get you to either shut down your emotions or spend a whole lot of time in your emotions if you’re having a physical response. That’s highly desirable in someone who’s going to work with a trauma that they’re able to see the whole energy system and be trained in the thing you do at SensorimotorPsychotherapy.org. Are there 1 or 2 stories that you could share about someone who’s shifted with the sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy? 

There are so many stories. Is there any particular client that you’re interested in? I could talk about a veteran or an abuse survivor. I’ll tell you a couple of stories unless you have a suggestion. 

[bctt tweet=”Have faith in the future that it can be different from your painful past. ” via=”no”]

We’ve done both of those so either way you want to go. 

One rather dramatic shift that I’m thinking of was a client. I’ll call her Tessa. This was a consultation client. Her therapist brought her in and the therapist was there as well to do a consultation with me. She had been a sex worker since she was thirteen years old. She had been abused all through her life and raped repeatedly. She said, “I have no worth. I have no value. If a bus hit me tomorrow, nobody should mourn because it’ll be better off if I’m not here.”  

The whole time that she was talking, her body was pretty tight but there was this little motion of her fingers. Her hands were in her lap but her fingers would come up every once in a while. This is an important element in trauma therapy because these little preparatory movements are often indicative of a larger movement that wanted to happen but couldn’t happen. We can imagine as a child and with all these times she’d been attacked that her pushing away and trying to defend yourself was futile. It didn’t help at all. When I tracked that and I asked her to be aware of it, I held a pillow against her hands.  

It was as if some impulse ignited from within that she had completely abandoned because it had only made trauma worse than in the past. She started pushing against that pillow. When the actions have been completed like that, there’s a real sense of pleasure often. She was astonished at the force of the action and how good it felt in her body. The thing that touched me the most was I asked her what it felt like and tears started to come. She said, “It feels like hope. Maybe there’s some hope.” It ignited this faith in the future that a future could be different from her past.  

Potential for change.  

I think of that often with the body because we all abandon actions when they were ineffective in producing the desired outcome. If we weren’t allowed to express ourselves, maybe we would close down. If our caregivers didn’t respond to our proximity-seeking actions, we stopped reaching out so forth. Hope lives in the movement vocabulary of the body. Tessa found that hope with that action. That was an instinctive action but she had lost it through all her experience. That’s one.  

As I sit here listening to that, the potential that is opened up for her in tapping into that is endless. 

It is and it is with any action. I want to tell one other story because this is important for people when they’re resolving trauma. The problem of trauma is if we go into it, our arousal is going to get outside of the window fast. In sensorimotor psychotherapy, we work with a traumatic memory step by step. For example, one veteran that I worked with was frontline combat. When he thought about the memory, he started to get anxious.  

If I had said, “Tell me more about the memory now,” his arousal would have continued to shoot up. Instead, I said, “What would help your arousal come into that window?” He placed his hands on his torso. We stopped and until his arousal settled. We stayed with this. I did it with him and his arousal started to settle and we went on to the content. This bottom-up way of working with a body is because of the content. Retelling is reliving to some degree.  

By retelling, it will stimulate those un-metabolized responses in the body. With this client, the first one was the arousal and his hands or pause calmed it down. The next one was he said that he felt somebody was shooting at him. His hands came up and his body wanted to do a pushing motion. We stopped and allowed that action. We have to remember that we’re always working with the effects of all the trauma because we’ll develop patterns of response in our body.  

Somebody might say, “Why do you do that action when his memory is about somebody shooting at them. That’s not going to protect you from a bullet.” The threat mobilized that response, so he trusted his body. We did that action, he settled, the action felt good to him there we went on with the content and he started trembling and shaking. That was a moment where we wanted to put all the memory aside, go with his body and feel the trembling. Let it sequences the body trusting that his body will process that if we can stay with it, which it did. It was like it had this bell curve where it got stronger and it’s settled in that one session of reworking the traumatic memory. I remember he said after that he said, “For the first time in years, I could talk about what happened,” because we metabolize those leftovers in his body, the impulses and the sensations. 

I first encountered that important pattern that you’re discussing there in Babette Rothschild’s book The Body Remembers. It’s paying close attention to the physical arousal, stopping everything and helping the person experience that and find a way to get settled again before moving on. It was one of the more effective pieces of working with people because I wasn’t pushing against anything. I wasn’t trying to push them into some resolution.  

I was allowing them to back away from whatever would feel threatening and experience this energy. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the thing you’re talking about picking up those little cues about motions and letting them move through them. Often when we do that with people, it helps them let the mental-emotional connections they need to see come to the surface because now they’re not in that fight or flight where they’re locking everything down. 

That’s an important thing because through these kinds of somatic interventions, arousal does come into that window and other elements can come into awareness. It’s tricky for a trauma therapist because if you stay in the middle of the window, you’re not going to stimulate dysregulated arousal and truncated actions. We have to work at the edge of that window but when someone is traumatized, there’s a danger of exacerbating dissociative tendencies and dysregulation, so it’s an art. 

It’s especially if the person wasn’t raised in a nurturing environment and didn’t internalize that sense of safety and competence. The whole thing about developing resources within a traumatized adult, helping them realize that they can be stronger, more consistent and more present for themselves than they have been in the past is a powerful set of tools to have as a trauma therapist. 

It is and that sense of being present for yourself is a limp sense of the body. What does that feel like? It’s different for everybody but we want to get that somatic sense of nurturing and care for yourself.  

Is there another story that you want to share where someone has made a significant shift from the sensorimotor work? 

I’m thinking of a woman who has been severely traumatized and abused all through her childhood. She has a dissociative disorder. She couldn’t feel her body at all. She was alexithymic. She couldn’t feel her emotions and her body. She said to me, “I know that I’m sad because tears are rolling down my face but I don’t feel anything. It’s the tears rolling down.” She wanted to feel. The reason she wanted to feel was it was because she had a little boy who was three at the time of this work.  

She said, “I don’t want to go through my whole life not having him because I don’t feel anything for him.” She would do this exercise where she would touch her son’s finger and she would say, “This all this love in my heart coming through my arm down into my finger and it’s going into your finger and going all the way up into your heart.” She said, “He could feel it but I feel nothing.” We started working with a positive experience because often a positive memory can be safer for a person to start to feel their body. She remembered riding a bike when she was little in the wind in her hair and it felt so good. 

She said, “It’s like freedom,” and her body shifted a little bit from this posture to this posture. As often happens, it was coupled with the horror of her childhood. One of the worst and most painful things for her was that the only beings that she was attached to were the animals on the farm. Everyone in her family abused her. She was the only girl. Brothers, father and mother all abused her. She was remembering losing all her friends.  

One by one, they were slaughtered and she said her heart was broken. I asked her if she could bring her hands to her heart because she protected her heart with all this tension. She could protect it that way. She did it and for a moment it felt warm and safe but only for a moment. She took her hands away and she said, “My brain’s shutting down. I’m going into shutdown mode.” She was on the brink of hyperarousal about to shut down.  

It’s so interesting because when we’re working with somebody who’s severely traumatized, there are different parts of the self that hold the trauma. Another part of her is coming up that was terrified of any kindness towards herself. We practice movements. I remember she made a movement to keep the memories away because she was getting overwhelmed. We kept coming back to this motion and gradually she could stay a little longer and a little longer. We’re working here with complex trauma where there’s abuse but there’s also severe relational attachment failure.  

In our work, she was learning also to bring some compassion towards herself as well as with some of the other interventions of sequencing the hyperarousal and making actions that felt safe. I remember after work she said, “For the first time, it feels like I did something. All the other therapy was talking but this time, I did something.” Body therapy like all therapies it’s not without risk. For her, the work we did broke through her alexithymia. She started to have pretty strong emotions coming up, which can be a little dysregulating in and of themselves but she said, “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” She could begin to process those emotions. The most gratifying part is that she could start to pick up and hold her son. That was satisfying. That’s another story.  

OYM Pat Ogden, Ph.D. | Trauma Resolution

Trauma Resolution: Everything we experience is through the body.

 

Excellent story. I’m grateful that you say that when you do this, it contains risk. I’m going to access things that are intense that some part of my mind has decided that it’s not okay for me to know and it’s been kept separated from my conscious awareness for years, if not decades. It’s important in my experience and I’m frequently recommending this to people to work with somebody who’s specifically trained in trauma work, not only a good new technique that they’ve learned.  

Conceptual framework about the person, the whole mind, body, energy system, the awareness that everything that we’ve done and all the symptoms that we’ve accumulated, at one point or another, were adaptive. They were there for some reason. If I can honor that reason and I can be working with a therapist that understands that and isn’t trying to strip all the symptoms away, there’s a much better chance that I’ll move in a somewhat straighter line towards resolution as opposed to opening up Pandora’s Box and shrieking, running and recoiling even further into my rigid symptoms. 

There’s a risk of that with body therapy. I like what you’ve said. We always teach our students at every symptom, part, action does have a certain purpose, period. For many people who work the body, there is a risk of failing to attempt to how different movements of different postures reflect the part of itself. I can give so many examples. For example, we often work with proximity-seeking actions to simply reaching out or if you didn’t have attachment figure therapy as a child, it’s hard to reach out to others.  

If you’re asking a client who was abused by their caregivers to practice that action, it’s going to stimulate another part of them that’s rooted in defensive responses. We have to be aware that we don’t override one part for another. For practicing that action, we could ignore and override the part that so frightening. Even with posture, I was working once with a woman who was suicidal and her posture was so collapsed and that enforced her despondency.  

The impulse was to help her find her alignment and feel better. What does that do? That pushes this pipe that wants to kill herself underground and it can come up even more strongly. We worked with sensing the part that was so despondent and slowly coming up only to the point where she still felt connected to that part. Not to the point where that part was overwritten. This is so critical in working with the body to pay attention, so our somatic work doesn’t override a part of itself, especially when clients are at risk or dissociative. 

There are so many good and solid, I’ll say therapy models, internal family systems, coherence therapy and a variety of others too many to mention that acknowledge the implicit emotional knowing and corrective or protective measure that underlies all of this symptomatology. If we can honor that and help the person understand it, we get an integration. We get better feedback for the whole system and we get an adult who is more capable in the moment to do what’s best for that adult. 

It’s so interesting because the buzzword for trauma like you’re saying is integration. To be able to integrate the past, integrate the parts of itself, integrate the emotions and the actions and all because I’m trained. I look at somatic integration as well helping the body find its alignment with gravity and some integrative movements, which opens up possibilities for people. For me, the integration of mind and dissociated parts go hand in hand with also the integration of the body and the access to a wide movement, vocabulary. 

Also, the access information that those physical tensions, postures and emotions carry that’s valuable information. 

Ron Kurtz used to say, “If we help enough of the right kind of information come from the inside of the plant to consciousness, then the system will automatically organize towards hell.” That’s true. When I learned to be a therapist in the ‘70s in the prison where I was a counselor, the psychiatric unit and even social work in school, I was expected to have the answers for people. It was a huge relief to learn that people have their answers inside and they have that capacity to heal inside themselves, so all we have to do is help them become aware of it. It sounds like it’s simple but it isn’t. It takes a lot of observational skills, training and everything else to help people find that wisdom. 

The first step is to recognize that it’s not me who asked to come up with that answer, it’s the person who has it within them. That’s a huge burden lifted off of me as a therapist, to begin with as long as I can get my ego out of the way. The tools and the willingness to help that person explore themselves, their history and their internal implicit emotional knowings that is truly the key for success in my experience. 

[bctt tweet=”Care and nurture yourself. ” via=”no”]

A big paradigm shift in my work that is veering away from talk therapy is in sensorimotor psychotherapy and Ron introduced me to this as well in the ‘70s. We’re much more interested in patterns of internal organization than we are in the content and the history. What we want to work with is how the person organizes their experience inside right this moment through their body sensation, their movement, the images that come up, the emotions and the thoughts. This is where instead of having a conversation and talking about things, we work a lot with mindfulness. 

I want to say that I’ve been teaching and working with mindfulness since the ‘70s but it’s only in the last several years that I’ve become aware of how Western culture has appropriated mindfulness from Eastern traditions. I want to acknowledge that because in that process of appropriation, the true original meaning and practice of mindfulness have shifted. I want to acknowledge and express appreciation for the traditions that it comes from. Through mindfulness, we can be aware of our organization.  

Somebody is talking about being raped as a child, instead of talking about it, we would ask, “As you’re talking about it now, what starts to happen inside?” They’re like, I’m starting to feel scared. I have this thought that I’m never going to be saved. I have this image of this rapist and his eyes.” That’s the organization of experience. It’s not a conversation anymore at that point. That’s where change happens. It’s when we shift how we organize experience. Clients will say after the work things like, “The rape happens,” and they’ll organize around it differently. That’s why the veteran could talk about the combat because he organized differently. 

Great stuff, the whole idea that I don’t get to change my past but I can absolutely change what I’ve made it mean about me in my life. I can reorganize it, so it has a whole different meaning. 

You can reorganize your internal response. That’s right. 

I thank you so much for this time. Can you think briefly if there’s something that I haven’t even asked you about yet that you want to make sure to share with our readers, either a new project you have going or a new book you’re writing? 

OYM Pat Ogden, Ph.D. | Trauma Resolution

Trauma Resolution: How we inhabit our body is not only related to psychological health but our physical health as well.

 

I do have a book coming out. It’s called Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Context and it’s looking at how psychology itself was created by Europeans of Christian and Jewish ancestry or people of that population and that has permeated psychology. Our methodology has not been adapted to include other voices and the emphasis of a Western approach, say on research, while it silenced other valid ways of knowing it from indigenous people and other traditions. I am excited about looking at systemic oppression, marginalized groups and the whole concept of privilege, oppression and dynamics. I feel a strong moral responsibility to do my part to try to participate in making the world more equitable. That includes addressing all the implicit bias that we grew up with, including about the body and bringing a more equitable lens to our work as therapists as well. 

As you say that and talk about that book, it makes me think about the book, My Grandmother’s Hands. Have you heard about that book? 

Of course, Resmaa Menakem. 

I appreciate it. I’m looking forward to reading your new book when it comes out. I’m grateful beyond words for sharing your time with us. I would consider it an honor if you’d let us talk to you again after the book comes out. 

This has been a pleasure. 

Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Be well until we get to talk again. 

Sounds good.  

Thank you.  

Take care. 

Pat Ogden, PhD is a pioneer in Somatic Psychology. She’s the Founder and Education Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic cognitive approaches for the treatment of post-traumatic stress and attachment disturbances. The many trainers of her institute based in Colorado conduct sensorimotor psychotherapy training for over 400 hours of mental health professionals throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. The Institute has certified hundreds of psychotherapists throughout the world in this method. 

Dr. Ogden is Cofounder of the Hakomi Institute, past faculty of Naropa University from 1985 to 2005, a clinician, consultant and sought-after international lecturer. Dr. Ogden is the first author of two groundbreaking books in somatic psychology, Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment 2015, both published in the Interpersonal Neurobiology Series of WW Norton. Her third book, The Pocket Guide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Context, will be available in the spring of 2021.  

She is working on a fourth book, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents and Families with Dr. Bonnie Goldstein. Her interests include culture and diversity, sensorimotor psychotherapy for groups, couples, children, adolescents, families, embedded relational mindfulness, challenging clients, the relational nature of shame, presence, consciousness and the philosophical spiritual principles that guide sensorimotor psychotherapy.  

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About Pat Ogden, Ph.D.

OYM Pat Ogden, Ph.D. | Trauma ResolutionPat Ogden, Ph.D., (she, her) is a pioneer in somatic psychology, the Founder and Education Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic–cognitive approaches for the treatment of posttraumatic stress and attachment disturbances.

The many certified trainers of her Institute, based in Colorado, conduct Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training of over 400 hours for mental health professionals throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The Institute has certified hundreds of psychotherapists throughout the world in this method. She is co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, past faculty of Naropa University (1985-2005), a clinician, consultant, and sought-after international lecturer.

Dr. Ogden is the first author of two groundbreaking books in somatic psychology: Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (2015) both published in the Interpersonal Neurobiology Series of W. W. Norton. Her third book, The Pocketguide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Context, will be available in spring 2021. She is currently working on a fourth book Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents, and Families with Dr. Bonnie Goldstein.

Her current interests include culture and diversity, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for groups, couples, children, adolescents, families; Embedded Relational Mindfulness, challenging clients, the relational nature of shame, presence, consciousness and the philosophical/spiritual principles that guide Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.

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