This was a 3 day training program jammed with information so this blog will cover only a slice of it.
Somatic Integration and Processing (SIP) is a gigantic case formulation, pulling from Polyvagal Theory, Attachment Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Adaptive Information Processing, Gestalt Theory, Object Relations Theory and Cognitive Behavioural Theory. All these theories can be googled with most pages describing fairly accurately their take on human experience. I’ll leave you to do that for now, and I might do some further writing on them later. A case formulation is psychology jargon for the understanding of a person’s experience through theories and flow charts.
The authors of the SIP formulation simplify it down to three overlapping circles:
They also remind us that “Intersubjectivity” exists everywhere, especially in the therapy room. Intersubjectivity essentially refers to the influential mind body connection between two people. Mirror neurons and body language are in synchronised dance. Me influencing you and you influencing me. A powerful therapeutic process that can be harnessed when both people are aware of it. But too often therapists (including myself at times) ignore the “elephant in the room”.
In our training, therapists are reminded to be the provider and regulator of therapy for the safety of the client. That instantly infers an imbalance in the relationship. So naturally it would be confusing to raise something very intimate like a bodily sensation, even though your mirror neurons are relaying that information to the client anyway. So what do we do? Well it’s important to name it and interrupt the conversation at hand and say, “hey, I’m noticing this…” and allow the client to respond. The possibilities for the origin of the felt sense are endless, nonetheless very valuable to explore. In doing this, we are also modelling to our clients what to do in other real life relationships.
Thanks for reading.