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3362 Big Pine Trail, Suite A, Champaign, Illinois 61822

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (or SMP) is a body-centered approach that aims to understand how the mind, body, and relationships work together to treat the somatic symptoms of unresolved trauma. While traditional talk therapies rely on the individual's verbal account of their situation, this type of therapy focuses on the person's physical experience to improve mental health.

 

What is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy?

SP is a comprehensive treatment approach developed by Pat Ogden, Ph.D. This method integrates sensorimotor processing with cognitive and emotional processing in treating trauma. 

In other words, SP utilizes a person's body, mind, and emotions to manage and relieve physical sensations associated with trauma.

By focusing on the body first, rather than thoughts and feelings, SP addresses the impact the trauma has had on the body, which facilitates emotional and cognitive processing in turn. 

 

When is Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Beneficial?

When used for trauma and attachment-related issues, SP can help turn a  traumatic memory into a source of self-awareness and strength. This gentle, integrated approach provides a powerful therapeutic tool for:

  • Anxiety 
  • PTSD
  • Difficulty concentrating due to overwhelming thoughts or uncomfortable physical sensations
  • Inappropriate emotional reactions that are distressing or disturbing
  • Finding it difficult to enjoy life or feel hopeful
  • Childhood trauma, including neglect, abuse, or toxic parent
  • Trouble keeping a job, a family, friendships, and other relationships
  • Feeling detached from yourself and your relationships

 

How does Sensorimotor Psychotherapy work?

A typical session looks different for everyone, as they depend on your unique needs and capacity for processing trauma. Additionally, it’s based on a therapist’s level of training. Generally speaking, there are three significant steps toward promoting better health:

 

  1. Safety and stabilization: Your therapist will work to identify any physical and mental connections that have been “clocked” or “frozen”. While maintaining a safe, controlled environment, this phase helps highlight the body's response to specific memories, thoughts, and emotions.

  2. Processing traumatic memories:  If you feel ready to speak about the trauma, your therapist may ask you to recall the period of time leading up to the incident. As you do this, your therapist will pay attention to any significant emotional or physical reactions you're experiencing. For example, if you report feeling angry, your therapist may ask you where in your body you feel that anger (your eyes, throat, chest, etc.).

  3. Re-integration: This phase includes strengthening newly restored connections through mental practice, physical exercise, and mindfulness to promote a continuous triumph over the experience.

 

Takeaway

Therapist and client collaboration is essential to successful treatment outcomes. SP can ultimately help you address and overcome any unresolved feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that are disrupting your life.

As restrictions lift and our freedom slowly returns, some of us may be feeling differently than we thought we would for things to go back to normal. Regardless of whether you're feeling nervous about socializing after months of spending time alone or excited about returning to a more active role in society, here are seven tips to help you throughout this transition: 

  1. Set healthy and flexible boundaries.  Identify your comfort zone or your window of tolerance, where you can work, live, and socialize within. As time goes on and you adapt, you can adjust it as needed. That recovery and reentry is not a jump-in-the-pool experience; but more of a slow, gradual progression. 

  2. Consider your new priorities. For some of us, self-isolation was an incentive for self-discovery. It required us to pause and reflect on how we spend our time, energy, and money. Perhaps you've learned to value your alone time or discovered that you'd rather stay in on a Saturday night than go out. Take some time to reprioritize and build habits that align with your values.

  3. Plan and think ahead. If you're worried about seeing certain people or are nervous about interactions at work, take a step back. Social anxiety has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Allow yourself to evaluate what things might make you feel socially anxious or insecure. Play out these scenarios and ask yourself what you can do to establish some grounding or safety sense. A small amount of exposure to social situations at a time will ultimately help you adjust.

  4. Adjust your routine. Just as it took all of us some time to adapt and find ways of coping when lockdown began, we should expect that it'll take some time to find our way back. If you're returning to work, try to get into your morning routine at home beforehand-meaning waking up at a particular time, getting dressed, and planning for your morning commute. If you don't have any upcoming changes to your schedule, maintaining a routine and staying consistent with your time is always healthy.

  5. Allow yourself to feel worried or anxious. Uncertainty has been a significant theme throughout the last year. And as things start to shift, it's no different. It's normal to feel anxious or nervous, so embrace those feelings and validate yourself for having them. You may benefit from writing out your thoughts or talking to a friend. Chances are, they'll feel similarly.

  6. Practice self-care. You may feel that you have lost control of many things over the past several months, but it is essential to recognize the things you can control and take full advantage of them-such as self-care. It's necessary to take care of yourself to build resilience to change and manage daily stressors. Remember to take breaks throughout your day, and set aside some time for things you enjoy!

  7. Ask for help when you need it. If your levels of stress and anxiety start to interfere with your job, relationships, and other aspects of your life, please consider working with a mental health professional. They’ll help you cope with your symptoms and support you throughout this transition.

Envy and jealousy are two emotions often confused for one another as they are similar in nature. However, there is a difference between the two. So how do you tell them apart?

Let's take a closer look at the difference between envy and jealousy and what makes them similar.

What is envy?

The definition of envy is pretty straightforward: It's the desire for what someone else has that you'd like to have yourself. For example, if you envy your sibling for settling down and starting a family, you may blame them for their "unfair advantage." Or, you may begin to feel ashamed, inadequate, or unworthy of having what they have. 

Despite being an uncomfortable emotion, envy serves a purpose. If we emulate people we perceive as more successful than we are, envy can be a powerful motivator in achieving our goals. The trick is to keep envy within a healthy range rather than suppressing it. Examine the underlying shame or discomfort that comes with it with an open, curious perspective. 

We tend to envy people regardless of our relationship with them. Although the feeling itself is more prominent when it comes to a family member or a friend, it's not uncommon to envy people we'll never know-like celebrities or extraordinarily successful, wealthy, beautiful, or intelligent people. 

It is envy's irrationality that marks the most significant difference between envy and jealousy.

What is jealousy?

Jealousy is a complex, painful emotion in comparison to envy. Simply put, jealousy is driven by a fear of loss, specifically in relationships. We grow suspicious of other people's intentions to protect what we already have. 

For example, you may feel jealous when you see your husband joking around and laughing with a co-worker you didn't know about. In this case, jealousy arises due to the threat this co-worker brings to your relationship. 

Although jealousy is often used in the context of romantic relationships, it can arise in any relationship-whether it's a sibling getting more attention from a parent or a colleague receiving more praise from your boss. If envy can promote motivation to achieve a goal, jealousy can motivate us to preserve and value our relationships.

Similarities between envy and jealousy

It's easy to understand why the two get mixed up-both envy and jealousy have the power to bring up our deepest insecurities and anxieties. They can be a source of anger, hurt, and aggressiveness. In a sense, both are necessary emotions. But if ignored or suppressed for too long, the resentment can bite away at our mental wellbeing.

If you feel that your envy or jealousy is uncontrollable, consider working with a licensed therapist. These feelings can result in low self-esteem, depression, and increased anxiety if ignored. Understanding these emotions is the first step in overcoming them.

How Overthinking Can Cause Negative Thoughts to Spiral Out of Control

Are you an overthinker? If you are, you know how quickly your thoughts can spiral out of control. 

Overthinking can grab hold of us before we recognize it. This is why it's essential to recognize the process of our thoughts, and how they contribute to the way we feel and behave. 

What it means to be an "overthinker"

Overthinking is the act of mentalizing excessively and compulsively about a person, event, or situation. Someone that overthinks tends to think in extremes or absolutes, which can lead to several negative emotions. For example: if you fail an exam, your thoughts quickly turn into "I'm a complete failure – I will never succeed in life." One negative thought spirals into another one. So at what point does it get out of control?

Automatic thoughts

It's hard to identify what that one thought was that started the spiral most of the time. They happen so quickly; they're known as automatic thoughts. These automatic thoughts "pop up" in your head; you don't have to do anything to make them happen; they just happen. But once you start to pay attention to your triggers or what caused the thought to appear in the first place, you'll be able to catch it before it gets out of control. 

Think about it this way: Negative thoughts are "appealing" to the mind. Naturally, we pay more attention to the worst-case scenarios, or potential threats, much more often than positive ones. Why? It's our mind's way of protecting ourselves. So once we give a negative thought the attention it's craving, we get caught. Our minds become confined in an ongoing process of "figuring it out."

Let's say you have plans to meet up with a friend for lunch. They're ten minutes late. They haven't texted or called. You reach out to them again, but no reply. As you're sitting there waiting, you might find yourself thinking:

  • “What if they’re ditching me”? 
  • "They're so inconsiderate."
  • "This stuff always happens to me."
  • "Well, I don't blame him for not showing up. Nobody wants to hang out with me."

As time goes on, you find yourself caught in a spiral of unrealistic, negative thoughts and worst-case scenarios. 

How does overthinking influence emotions?

Overthinking causes feelings of anxiety, depression, amongst other negative emotions. Negative thoughts heighten these emotions. For example, if your thoughts about your friend continue, you may start to feel:

  • Physically anxious-heart rate increasing, tightness or chest pain, muscle tension, or light-headedness. 
  • Irritated 
  • Angry or resentful 
  • Bad about yourself 

Like negative thoughts, stress and anxiety don't necessarily respond to our efforts to control them. The more you try to push your anxiety away, the stronger it gets. If we take the lunch example into context, you might start feeling disappointed, angry, or irritated about your friend not showing up. 

Acting upon your emotion

These thoughts and feelings may also affect your behavior. For example: 

  • If you’re feeling irritated with your friend for ditching you, you might send him an angry text and criticize them for being flakey.
  • You may also decide to give him the cold shoulder next time you see them. 
  • You decide to stop hanging out with this person altogether. 
  • Or, you may even yell at a stranger for driving too slowly on your way home. 

Putting a stop to the downward spiral

If you notice yourself constantly getting stuck in these cycles of overthinking, consider working with a licensed therapist or counselor. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy is an evidence-based, practical approach for obsessive thinking, worry, and rumination. They can support you in managing your overthinking and letting go of any unhelpful, negative thinking patterns. 

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

Contact Information

Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

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Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!