Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Courtney K. Wells


Social Work


The focus of this research was to gain insight into the perspectives of clinicians on their experiences employing Sensorimotor Psychotherapy with clients who have experienced trauma. The conceptual framework used for this research project was based on modern attachment theory and interpersonal biology. To explore the research topic, qualitative research methods were employed to gather the experiences of mental health practitioners who currently use Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, examining why they view this model as an effective intervention for the treatment of trauma. The sample consisted of four licensed mental health professionals who currently use Sensorimotor Psychotherapy with clients who have experienced trauma. All participants had completed the Level II Trauma Training for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and currently work in private practice. Data was collected through the use of semi-structured, in- person interviews, and analyzed through the use of grounded theory techniques. After analysis of the transcripts, three main themes emerged: 1) Importance of creating safety within the therapeutic relationship, 2) Use of mindfulness and somatic resourcing, and 3) Use of experiential practices. Strengths of this study include the gathering of the nuanced perspectives of clinicians working in the field with clients who have experienced trauma and the use of in- depth interviews that allowed the researcher to capture the voices of clinicians in their own words with a richness and depth unavailable with quantitative data. Limitations of this study include the small sample size, potential participant bias towards somatically focused therapies, and the lack of varied practice settings among participants.

Included in

Social Work Commons