The Challenging Client: Interventions for Chronic Attachment Failures - a Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Perspective

Chronic attachment failures alter the psychological, biological and social realities of survivors. One of the most pernicious disruptions is in the ability of traumatized individuals to form and maintain healthy relationships.  Survivors of attachment trauma develop phobias of attachment, of attachment loss, and of their own inner experiences. Posture, gesture and movement habits reflect and sustain the effects of attachment history and can be direct targets of therapeutic intervention to help our clients develop fulfilling relationships.  But therapists are often concerned that those with early attachment trauma are too destabilized, dissociative, body phobic, low functioning, or otherwise challenged to benefit from a somatic focus.


This keynote will examine the challenges, risks and rewards of integrating the body into clinical practice with this population, elucidating the physical patterns that sustain the effects of chronic attachment trauma and failure. Physical patterns can manifest as the simultaneous activation of, or alternation between, psychobiological systems of defense and attachment.  Dr. Ogden will clarify how reminders of past traumatic events evoke defensive subsystems as well as attachment needs and teach body-based interventions to regulate arousal and execute new, more adaptive actions in the context of relationship. 

Attendees will learn how to work somatically to support secure attachments in the present.  Sensorimotor Psychotherapy will be illustrated through video excerpts of consultation sessions with survivors of attachment failure.