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Fisher, J. (2011). Attachment as a Sensorimotor Experience: The Use of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 5(2):99-107.
   

(2011). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 5(2):99-107

Attachment as a Sensorimotor Experience: The Use of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Janina Fisher

In preverbal children, early attachment bonds are experienced and encoded at a body level in the form of procedurally-learnt patterns of autonomic responses, muscle memory, emotions and visceral sensations, movement and posture. Dismissing, preoccupied, and trauma-related ‘frightened/frightening’ care-giving require the child's body to adapt to either too much or too little stimulation, proximity, attention, and safety, with lifelong effects on the ability to regulate affect within a ‘window of tolerance’. Adequate treatment of these experiences without words requires therapeutic methods that reach subcortical areas of the brain and interactively regulate affect and arousal. Sensorimotor psychotherapy combines interpersonal neurobiological methods with somatically-orientated interventions to address the effects of less-than-optimal attachments on both mind and body.

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