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Resources on this page
Books & Articles (with comments)
BOOKS & ARTICLES
Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton & Claire Pain (2006) Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy . W. W. Norton
Ron Kurtz' original Hakomi training was designed for developmental and attachment issues and did not specifically address trauma. In the 1970s, Pat Ogden apprenticed with Ron Kurtz and went on to develop Hakomi for working with trauma. Over time, as her work grew, the name changed from Hakomi to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
This book is more for therapists. It is a comprehensive approach to trauma which uses body-centred interventions to reduce trauma-related sensorimotor reactions in forms such as intrusive images, sounds, smells, body sensations, physical pain, constriction, numbing and the inability to modulate arousal (p. xxix).
While it is clear that a car accident can be traumatic, sometimes we don't recognise when trauma is intertwined with attachment issues.
In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Porges' concept of the social engagement system is related to a concept of a Window of Tolerance where our responses such as fear or heart racing are not too high, not too low but within the window that we can tolerate.
In childhood, a child can be triggered when a "misattuned carer shows little or no attempt to recognise or repair breaches in relatedness, the infant can be left in hyper- or hypoaroused zones for extended periods of time" (p. 52), i.e., the infant is left in a physically traumatised state.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy specifically addresses when and how to work with trauma that occurs as part of growing up. It also addresses how to work with trauma that occur in life such as a car accident or other acts of violence.
Pat Ogden & Janina Fisher (2015) Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for trauma and attachment. W. W. Norton
This book contains worksheets and exercises that a client can use for experiential exploration of selected concepts and interventions under the guidance of your therapist.
In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship is key and the exercises are not designed to be used in solitude. While it may be informative doing the exercises alone, it would not give the benefits of the process of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
For example, if you were working with a sliver of childhood memory that triggered you outside your Window of Tolerance, you would not have the therapist there keeping you in the Window of Tolerance so you could process the memory, or helping you maintain dual awareness of the child and the adult that you now are, so you don't get lost in reliving the childhood memory.
Greg Johanson & Ron Kurtz (1991) Grace unfolding: Psychotherapy in the tradition of the Tao-te ching. Bell Tower
This book was written for both clients and therapists. It takes the primary perspective of the client, in belief that "The more we know about therapy as clients, the better chance we have of joining our therapists in an alliance for healing growth" (p. XV).
Greg and Ron name the essential paradox:
"we realise that something must change. The nature of life is change ...
However, if we were never to change, it would be all right.
Our worth as people is not on the line."
Ron Kurtz (1990) Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method. LifeRhythn
While this book is a good introduction for therapists, clients may find it useful to understand the nature of this approach and how it differs from talk therapies. Ron Kurtz developed this approach, so it's good to hear his original ideas in his own words.
Clients may be interested in his eight character strategies which he defines as "organized, habitual patterns of reaction" (p. 42). For example, you may tend towards being self-reliant (a pattern that reflects the decision to never rely on others) or towards being dependent (needing and seeking support).
Ron Kurtz & Hector Prestera (1976) The Body Reveals: An illustrated guide to the psychology of the body. Harper & Row
We can see in this book the early development of ideas about the role of the body in character, which came to fruition in Hakomi.
They look carefully at reading the body, for example, recognising asymmetries in the body by looking for a left-right split. It is only in Chapter 7 "Your own body profile" that we see details about the body relating to character.
There are illustrated details for the needy types, the burdened type, the rigid type, and the top or bottom heavy types. These names reflect the older literature, though the burdened type is closer to the Hakomi strategy of burdened-enduring.
For these four types, they give a diagram, the main structural distortion of the body, the impression given by the body, the experience of a person with this type of body, characteristic behavior patterns, underlying fears and other emotions, structural features and the emotions they represent.
Halko Weiss, Greg Johanson & Lorena Monda (Editors) (2015) Hakomi Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy. W. W. Norton & Co.
This book was published after Ron Kurtz’s death, however, it does contain a chapter by Ron Kurtz on “The Essential Method”. It contains historical background, theory, method, interventions, case illustrations, and clinical applications.
I haven't yet read this book in any detail and I will update this section when I have.
Other body-related books
David Emerson & Elizabeth Hopper (2011) Overcoming trauma through Yoga. North Atlantic Books
"Maybe the most difficult part of having been traumatized is dealing with triggers that reside inside. ... your body keeps reacting as if you still are in imminent danger." (p. xxi) When this happens, the tendency is to avoid the body and awareness of the bodily-self is reduced. This book presents trauma-sensitive yoga as a direct, action-oriented practice that is used along side therapy. It aims to "build a sense connection to the self. ... to cultivate the ability to remain present, to notice and tolerate inner experience, and to develop a new relationship with their body." (p. 24)
The book discusses the challenges of existing approaches to yoga and the need for a different approach in trauma. In trauma sensitive yoga, "[t]he priority shifts to the students learning to listen to their own bodies and making choices that involve taking care of themselves." (p. 31)
There is specific advice for individuals, clinicians and yoga teachers.
Stanley Keleman (1985) Emotional anatomy: The structure of experience. Center Press
This book contains many drawings illustrating the concept of emotions as shapes in the body. They are not anatomical drawings but instead illustrates the body in emotional responses from startle to terror.
Keleman illustrates the embodying of stress experience using dense, collapsed, rigid and swollen types with the added dimensions of underbounded and overbounded. And these types are aligned to traditional psychological categories and psychological functioning.
Keleman's types are quite different from the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy character strategies, but I include it here as one of the early books that influenced me and to make the point there are other approaches to including the body.
Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale (2002) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. Guilford Press
This book presents an eight week group program using mindfulness as a core skill. It is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program. It does assume that you have had treatment for depression and are now ready to work on preventing relapse.
While it is designed for use by therapists, it gives specific exercises that you can use. It explains the use of mindfulness for changing automatic habits and gives specific scripts a therapist can use to do exercises such as the Body Scan Meditation and the Raisin Exercise.
This is one of the first Mindfulness approaches to be supported by randomised control studies, the highest level of recognised evidence.
Wise Brain Bulletin article
This is an article which gives a mindful approach to depression that I find useful. We know Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is effective for depression and this article includes the Cognitive Therapy concepts about thinking, and it adds a mindful component of bringing a neutral, curious, or even bemused mindfulness to the endless mental commentary that can occur in depression.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (1990) Full catastrophe living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation. Piatkus
Jon Kabat-Zinn was instrumental in making mindfulness respectable to the scientific community with his pre- post-test studies of his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
This book is not specifically about anxiety in diagnostic terms. It has chapters on anxiety and pain, and chapters on how to do the body scan and "yoga is meditation". There are exercises to introduce you to the practice of mindfulness. In chapter 10, he briefly outlines his eight week program.
Kabat-Zinn now has a range of audio CDs for mindfulness practices. These are available from online bookstores.
With trauma, our physical bodies are in danger, for a body-inclusive approach to trauma see Pat Ogden's book Trauma and the body above in the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy section.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy article on trauma
Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton published this article in 2000. It gives an explanation of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approach to trauma and a case example with discussion.
David Baldwin's Trauma Pages
My article on peritraumatic dissociation
In 2008, my article "A cognitive model of peritraumatic dissociation" was published by the journal of the British Psychological Society Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, research and Practice.
At the time of a traumatic experience, a person may experience time as slowing down or rapidly accelerating, altered body image or feelings of disconnection from one's body, incoherent experiences, and other symptoms. In this article, I put forward a model for explaining the slowing of time and the incoherent experience which can lead to the problem of the trauma being recalled as memory fragments.
You can download the prepublication version by clicking the PDF symbol.
The link to the article in the Psychology and Psychotherapy journal is by this digital id (DOI) 10.1348/147608308X304484. Under the journal rules, I can't put the final version here but you are welcome to request a reprint and I can email the published version.
The Brain & Neuroscience
Norman Doidge (2007) The brain that changes itself. Penguin
With this book, Norman Doidge popularised knowledge about the brain and the findings that the brain could continue to change throughout adulthood.
Doidge is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and he uses the idea of neuroplasticity to explain his approach to obsessive compulsive disorders and discusses many interesting research findings such as phantom limb pain and the most important principle use-it-or-lose-it.
This is a great book for understanding how the brain can change.
Sandra Blakeslee & Matthew Blakeslee (2007) The body has a mind of its own: How body maps in your brain help you do (almost everything better). Random House
While body maps may seem more relevant for sport and movement, the Blakeslee's briefly mention Peter Levine's somatic experiencing which uses body sensation as the key to healing trauma.
They use body schema (physical body) and body image (attitudes about your body) to explain how you can lose weight and still feel fat when there is a gaping mismatch between them.
An important concept they raise is "The sum total of your numerous, flexible, morphable body maps give rise to the solid-feeling subjective sense of 'me-ness' and to your ability to comprehend and navigate the world around you." (p. 12)
They highlight the importance of Interoception (sensations arising from the body) in feeding into brain maps to keep the mind and the body in tune (p. 196). When they are out of tune, this suggests the possiblity of working with body sensations to bring them back into tune.
Wise Brain Bulletin
Rick Hansen's Wise Brain Bulletin contains downloadable articles for personal well-being, relationships, work, and spiritual development. You can also sign up for his newsletter which is sent every one to two weeks. Each newsletter contains a useful mindfulness practice. He occasionally sends information about courses and when it is other people's training, he is ethical in naming when he gets an affiliate fee for advertising the course.